We are pleased to announce the return of the Liverpool Improvisation Festival and building on from the successful launch last year, LIF 2024 will be even bigger, with more performances, a film competition and an additional day dedicated to workshops.
The festival is supported and hosted by the Unity Theatre, Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). Liverpool is a great city to visit with lots to do and was recently rated the 7th best in the world by Timeout.
Shows opens on Friday the 19th of April (1:15pm) and runs through till late on Saturday the 20th of April (10pm). On Sunday the 21st there is a whole day of workshops hosted by LJMU. The three-day festival includes 13 shows (five world premieres), a film competition in which improvisers from across the world can participate in and four workshops from leading national and international practitioners.
All the work is improvised and draws upon numerous art forms including clown, comedy, dance, drag, musical theatre, opera, storytelling, and theatre.
The festival encourages innovation; risk taking and are inspired by those that do. Our aim is to create opportunity for those who create, perform and teach improvised live performance at whatever stage of their career and across multiple art forms. In doing so we aim to educate, inspire and develop future audiences and performers of improvisation.
Liverpool has a long history of developing or hosting improvised work – Ken Campbell, Improbable theatre, HOOF!, The Improvathon, Showstoppers, Austentatious and MC Hammersmith, the list goes on. LiF aims to build annually on this proud legacy bringing the very best local, regional, national, and international improvised work to Liverpool audiences.
Day one (Friday)
- The festival launches in Unity One with the world premiere of Freeing myself with the Pole a durational improvised pole dance performed over four hours by Rowena Gander. Rowena has recently performed the world-famous Skeleton and the Nude by performance artist Marina Abramović at the Royal College of Art.
- This is followed upstairs in Unity Two by another world premiere from Wigan based Casino Improv who are encouraging the audience to release their inner Von Trapp in the show The Children of Captain Von Trapp Wish to say Goodnight an interactive and playful experience for all.
- Again, in Unity Two we have Open Heart theatre who are bringing from Sheffield their show Old Haunts. The company draw theatrical inspiration from a buildings history and this influence enables them to create a show which reflects the stories of both the past and the present.
- Again, in Unity Two we have local Liverpool favourites Jen Hardy and Becky Webb in Murder at the Museum an improvised comedy crime caper.
- Again, in Unity Two we have the award winning Your Flaws the Musical (Leicester Comedy Improv Award – 2023) in which your personal flaws are turned into a brand-new musical.
- Closing the first day in Unity One we have the brilliant Murder Inc. who bring their own brand of interactive comedic murder mystery all the way from Manchester.
Day two (Saturday)
- Saturday opens in Unity One with the world premiere from the masters of silly stories Rob Bond and Lee Hithersay in The Story Forge: Making a Myth, an interactive and family friendly (6+) show in which the audience become the main characters.
- Following from this upstairs in Unity Two we have The Oickers a team drawn from across the Northwest who will perform their short form (games based) improv show Fruit Smoothie.
- Again, in Unity Two we have Dereks Mojo all the way from London who will perform their funny and feminist inspired show Questionable Behaviour.
- Again, in Unity Two we have another world premiere called A Wake an improvised funeral wake in which an audience members life will be reflected back to them through the memories of others.
- Again, in Unity Two we have international solo artist VUJO perform their improvised musical show, Like Father. Improvised drag king musical about manhood.
- Again, in Unity Two we have another world premiere from international company Pairentheses with their show Shades of Emotion. Experienced improvisers Conrad and Simone ask for an emotion and a character’s story is explored from this starting point.
- Back down in Unity One and to close the festival (shows) we have local Liverpool favourites Rubbish Shakespeare who will be performing their full-length version of Improvised Rubbish Shakespeare – The Incomplete Works. This was commissioned and opened last year at the festival and has recently played at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.
Day three (Sunday)
Moves next door from the Unity theatre into the Joe H Makin Drama centre (LJMU). The focus shifts from shows to workshops exploring how improvisation works and skills development. This is an integral part of the festival, and we are pleased to bring four renowned national and international workshop leaders to share their knowledge with participants in how to expand and build their skills in improvisation.
- Mark Phoenix – Improvising a play using Meisner technique (10-1pm)
- Jodyanne FR – Stagecraft for Improvisation (10-1pm)
- Simone Ellul – Be (a) Present! (1:45pm-3:45pm)
- Owen Scrivens – Death, Dying and Improv (1:45pm-3:45pm)
See their website for full details and tickets