a new journal of improvised theatre
What is Present?
Present is a new journal of improvised theatre that looks to cover Australia and New Zealand’s vibrant scene. Our goal is to highlight improvisation all across the region, documenting and discussing current practices, shows, artists & companies, advice, and deep dives into areas of our craft as-yet unexplored. We’re not a how-to guide; we’re interested in the why, the what-next, and the way decisions our artistic community makes affect the shape and substance of the scene as a whole.
Why are we doing this?
Improvised theatre in NZ and Australia has a rich history; unfortunately much of that history is scattered, undocumented, or simply lost. Theatre is already a transient art form, and improvisation double so; not only is there no script, but very few of us make records of who made what show, where, when, and/or why. Present wants to document the current state of improvised theatre and provide space and encouragement for us all to know our history, so we can get a sense of both where our work is coming from and where it might go in future.
This was also inspired partly by publications like the Playmarket Annual of NZ Theatre, which is a snapshot of the theatre scene in NZ put out by the playwright representative body. Occasionally this will mention improvisation in the regional round-ups, but we want more (and a script-based organisation is probably not where we should get it). We want to take our art form seriously, even if the content of our work tends towards the decidedly unserious, and encourage the theatre industry as a whole to do the same. We hope a professional publication like Present will support them doing so.
Plus, we are nerds. We just want to talk about improv way more. Come with us!
Jennifer O’Sullivan is an improvisor, director and creative producer living in Te Motu Kairangi (Miramar). She holds a MFA (Creative Practice) in Theatre from Victoria University, a BA (Hons) in English literature, and a BA in both English literature and linguistics. She is the director of the New Zealand Improv Festival, director and co-founder of Locomotive, and creative lead for Kickin’ Rad Productions, as well as a freelance administrator, performer, designer, and teacher. She founded Funny Birds, a group for women and non-binary individuals working in and around comedy in New Zealand, and has mentored through Cultivate Mentoring Lab and other networks.
Luke Rimmelzwaan is a founder of ImproMafia, one of Australia’s oldest improvisation theatre companies and has been improvising for nigh on twenty years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Drama from QUT’s Academy of the Arts conservatory program. He has performed and taught around Australia and the world including in Poland, Taipei, Manila, Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne. Luke has developed many new improvised shows across a wide range of styles including Martini Time, Rock Pigs, Trade, Not 4 Kidz and Tales from the Old Country. He has also performed circus with Tofulama and directed operas, musicals and short films as well as appearing in a number of shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing and Lovepuke. Luke is also a founder of Corporation Theatre.
Want to be involved?
We have a list of interested and interesting people that we intend to shoulder tap about contributing. If you have ideas - either things you want to write or people you think we should talk to - please get in touch!