Thursday, 9 July 2015

Theatresports™: 30th Anniversary show

Well, people, for those who don't know, I was one of the first people to do Theatresports in Melbourne. 

I was a judge for the first ever Melbourne show in September 1985 at St Martins Theatre. I then played from Week 2 for 20 years, and still do on special TS occasions.

On that first night in Sept 1985, I'd just returned from Italy, studying theatre with Dario Fo, and Edinburgh where I studied with Phillipe Gaulier. I was also learning Italian in Perugia.

When I came back, I got the call to judge Theatresports, probably because I had been working with David Lander's Impro company for a while.

One of my fellow judges was Ian Shrives. We looked at each other at one point and said, "I wanna do that!" We decided that we would each pick our favourite person to perform with and we'd form a team.

I chose lovely Carole Patullo, with whom I went on to do Stand-up/Character comedy for four years. Shrives picked his wonderful pal, John Thompson.

We became 4 by 4s,  a phenomenal improvising team that did characters, stories and knew theatre styles really well. One vivid memory is our Cinderella in the style of Bertolt Brecht. Whoopeee!

More of all of my improvising history later.

Theatresports turns 30 this year, and I'll be there improvising with old buddies.


From Media Release- Impro Melbourne

The phenomenon of Theatresports™: 30 years and still going strong !

It's not just Neighbours celebrating 30 years in Australia. The improvisation phenomenon Theatresports™ is also celebrating 30 years on Australian stages.

In July 1985 at the then newly formed Belvoir Street Theatre Sydney and in September 1985 at St Martins Theatre in Melbourne, groups of actors and comedians came together to pore over notes from Loose Moose Theatre, Canada, about the competitive theatre format that sees teams of improvisers compete against each other to be judged the winners of the night. Within 6 months of those initial tentative performances, the floodgates opened and theatres across Australia were filled with audiences shouting for their favourite teams, booing the judges when they felt the scores were unfair, and seeing live theatre that embraces both comedy and pathos. It was so successful, so quickly, the ABC immediately commissioned a televised national competition in 1986.

Originally created by Keith Johnstone in 1977, as a response to the restrictive censorship laws in the UK, Theatresports™ creates an old style vaudeville atmosphere where the audience is an integral part of the performance.

As Keith says: “It creates an evening of theatre that engages the audience in a way that makes them respond openly, as one might do at a sporting event, and has them thinking and talking about the performance afterwards.”

Theatresports™ is now performed in 73 Cities in 28 Countries around the globe from Scandinavia through the UK, Europe, China, Japan, Canada, USA to South America, New Zealand and Australia.

Here in Australia it has been performed every year for the past 30 years in Sydney and Melbourne and over the years in all the major capital cities with seasons this year also in Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.

Johnstone’s philosophy of making your partner look good, jumping and risking, listening and lateral thinking is now taught in schools, universities and drama schools across Australia.

Many of our now famous and well respected Australian comedians and actors have passed across the Theatresports™ stage: Geoffrey Rush, Anthony La Paglia, Gia Carides, Jai Laga’aia, Andrew Denton, Rove McManus, Colin Lane, Frank Woodley, Cal Wilson, Denise Scott, Julia Zemiro, Andrew O’Keefe, Adam Spencer and Glenn Robbins to name but a few.

Melbourne celebrates this year with a massive season of events from July to September:
Celebrity Theatresports™ Saturday,July 25th
Theatresports™ season Sundays, July 19th to Sept 6th
30th Anniversary Celebration show:  Friday, Sept 11th
Theatresports™ Grand Final: Saturday Sept 12th
Sydney celebrates with events from August to November:
Celebrity Theatresports™ August 15th
Cranston Cup season: Sept 6th to Nov 15th
Theatresports™ Cranston Final: Nov 28th

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