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Overseas star for TheatreSports, 2012

TheatreSports, the theatre improvisation show, will be getting international flavour this year, when American improviser Joe Bill performs on 26 and 27 March, after which members have been invited to perform in Australia.
In March, Improguise - players of TheatreSports, will host Chicago-based improvisation legend Joe Bill, who will perform with the team on 26 March at the Intimate Theatre and 27 March at the Kalk Bay Theatre, as well as teaching a series of workshops and a Power Improvisation Masterclass to interested professional actors on 29 March.

Then from 30 June to 8 July, TheatreSports members Megan Furniss, Tandi Buchan and Candice D'Arcy have been invited as improvisers from SA to take part in Improvention in Canberra, Australia. This is an international festival of unscripted theatre, with more than 20 shows in every style imaginable, and where the top practitioners of this genre from all over the world convene to workshop, jam and share ideas.

An added dimension

"It's a real coup for us to have secured a visit from Joe Bill, who is widely regarded as one of the best teachers of comic improvisation in America today," said Tandi Buchan, long-standing member of Improguise - players of TheatreSports. "We are massive fans of his work and the two performances with him will have an added dimension from our usual shows, as we blend our styles and give audience members a mega-ride of improvisation madness!

"The masterclass with him on the 29th will be an incredible opportunity for professional actors to hone their technique and skills as they learn from this seasoned and internationally acclaimed artist. Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis."

Joe Bill teaches, performs and does corporate training at iO Chicago, is an artistic associate for The Chicago Improv Festival, and acts as an artistic adviser for a number of improvisation and comedy theatres all over the US and Canada.

Passion for teaching improvisation

With a group of friends, and under the artistic direction of Mick Napier, he co-founded of The Annoyance Theatre in Chicago in 1990. His passion for teaching improvisation soon kicked into high gear as a unique approach to Improvised Scene and Character began to be articulated by a number of teachers at Annoyance, including Mick Napier, Mark Sutton, Joe, David Razowsky, Bob Fisher and Susan Messing. This focused on improvisers "taking care of themselves, in order to take care of others in a scene".

Bill and Mark Sutton, his partner in the nationally improvised production, Bassprov, have evolved the Annoyance approach into Power Improv, which they both have been teaching all over the US, Canada and Europe, at festivals, theatres and universities since 2000.

Joe has also been a corporate trainer since 1993. He specialises in teaching presentation, selling and interpersonal communication skills as well as facilitating personal and executive presence.

How to transcend language in improvisation

"Once Joe leaves we'll wipe our starry eyes and start preparing and fundraising for the Improvention festival," said Buchan. "Whilst we're in Australia, we will attend workshops and seminars and will also be teaching three workshops of three hours each. The focus will be how to transcend language in improvisation, beyond words and gibberish. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to both inspire and be inspired by leading collaborators in our field."

TheatreSports is performed every Tuesday night at the Kalk Bay Theatre at 8.30pm. Doors open at 6.30pm and seating is unreserved. Tickets cost R50 (R40 for scholars). Enjoy a beer and a burger for only R50.

To book call +27 (0)72 939 3351.

The cost of the workshop with Joe Bill on 29 March at the Waterfront Theatre College from 6 to 9pm is R400. Actors wishing to attend the workshop, or anyone who can assist with sponsorship for the Improvention trip, contact Tandi Buchan on az.oc.esiugorpmi@idnaT

Photography by Jan Potgieter



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