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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 19, 2020

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Improvisers ready for Grand Championships

Ash Hauenschild
Dan Beeston & David Massingham (QLD)

Dan Beeston & David Massingham (QLD)

Good news for anyone allergic to fairy floss or deep-fried hotdogs, as ImproMafia and Brisbane’s Powerhouse Theatre host an artsy alternative this EKKA Tuesday – Theatre Sports Grand Championships.

The annual showdown pitches Australia’s funniest improvisers against each other in an unscripted fight to the death (in a minute). Friends become frenemies and audience suggestions become comedy gold, all in pursuit of the coveted top spot.

Sure – as Drew Carrey insisted – it’s a competition where everything is made up and the points don’t matter, but that’s state pride on the line and these performers aren’t about to corpse for anybody.

With the struggle so tight, the night may just come down to preparation.

Glenn Hall (WA)

Glenn Hall (WA)

Nobody knows that better than Dan Beeston, who has been improvising since 1997 and – along with David Massingham – represents Queensland at the championships.

“The brain requires energy input, and you can’t just fill it with sugar or dope it with caffeine half an hour before the show!”

With a scientific approach the Australian Institute of Sport would be proud of, Dan’s preparation involves carbohydrates (for energy), vitamin B (to stimulate thoughts), and protein (for a strong brain).

Not to be outdone, Perth’s Glen Hall agrees with the importance of carbohydrates, but also suggests better improvisation through sleep deprivation.

“I need to make sure I’m in that delirious lack-of-sleep state where I’m not quite sure what’s real and what’s fantasy,” says Hall.

He claims this acclimatizes him to the surreal twilight of interstate travel followed by improvised comedy, but still thinks Queensland are the favourites to win this year.

“There is definitely a home ground advantage – being from the west, we love a home ground advantage over here.

Amy Moule (VIC)

Amy Moule (VIC)

“We try to get people’s flights delayed, screw up their meals on the plane, and put screaming children on the seats behind them. I expect ImproMafia will try nothing short of that.”

But the competition’s real favourites may also be its only female performers.

Reigning champion Amy Moule and fellow Victorian Katherine Weaver have built their creative connection on stages throughout their city, and seem well prepared to defend the title.

When it comes to the actual day, however, Moule suggests a more relaxed approach.

“It’s always good to get into your body with stretching – and sometimes going out for a beer is good.”

The increasing popularity of improvised comedy has forced this year’s championships onto an even bigger stage at the Powerhouse, and tickets are reportedly selling well.

“Brisbane’s impro scene is the strongest it ever has been,” says Dan Beeston.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what it’s all about, ImproMafia’s Theatre Sport Grand Championships are the perfect introduction to improvised comedy.

Theatre Sports Grand Championships

Theatre Sports Grand Championships

The details:

What: Theatre Sports Grand Championships

Where: Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse

When: EKKA Tuesday, August 13th 2013 from 7:30pm

How much: $30

Website: Powerhouse Theatre


(Images sourced from ImproMafia, Kris Anderson and Stephen Reinhardt)