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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Manila Improv Festival 2015 To Be Held On July 2-12

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Silly People’s Improv Theatre (SPIT) is the country’s premiere improvisational theatre group known for their smart and incisive brand of comedy. Considered as one of the best improv comedy troupes in Asia, SPIT has had almost a thousand performances in the last decade to both local and international audiences whose combined numbers easily run up to the thousand. SPIT has represented the Philippines in the Los Angeles, Beijing and Hong Kong Comedy Festivals, and the Improv Festivals in New York and Chicago, and more recently, the Amsterdam Improv Festival in January of this year.

Improvisational theatre is a form of theatre where scenes are co-created by the audience and the actors in real time, without the benefit of a script or prior rehearsals for the performers. Because of this method, watching an improvised theatre show is more akin to performance art due to its non-conventional approach. 

This year, Manila International Improv Festival 2015 is happening on July 2-12, 2015. This performance art festival is a partnership with two prominent Philippine institutions. Silliman University in Dumaguete will host our Tropical Improv Camp from July 2-5, and the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA) will be our partner venue where all theatre performances will be held on July 8-12, 2015.

Our performance art fair is hosting improv comedy groups from around the world: PIP Show (Warsaw), Impro Mafia (Brisbane), Pirates of Tokyo Bay (Tokyo), Landry & Summers (Los Angeles), To Be Continued, People’s Liberation Improv, 3 Dudes Improv and Lamb Ink (Hong Kong), The Improv Company (Singapore), Taichung Improv (Taichung), The Beijing Collective (Beijing), People’s Republic of Comedy and Zmack (Shanghai), Bacolod Improv Group (Bacolod), Dulaang Atenista (Cagayan de Oro), One and a Half Men, Switch Improv, and SPIT (Manila).

Now on its third run, we are proud to say that the Manila Improv Fest has earned the distinction of being the “improv comedy festival that has set the standard for improv comedy festivals” according to one of our festival regulars, Curt Mabry of Zmack, Shanghai.

This year’s festival theme is “Finding the Game”- a nod to the games and exercises that improvisers use in performance, and an affirmation of the playful nature of improvisation.

Silliman University plays host to our conference component, which is a gathering of improvisers who have taken the principles of improv theatre and have used it as a method for facilitating learning events including corporate and organisational settings. In partnership with the Applied Improvisation Network which counts Gabe Mercado as the very first Filipino board member, this is the second year we are incorporating this particular track to the festival, after a well-received run in Casa San Pablo, Laguna in 2013, having 30 applied improv practitioners from London, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States and Manila in attendance. Apart from a mutual exchange among participants on their experiences on the myriad applications of improvised theatre techniques ranging from the fields of the visual arts, to education for learners with special needs, delegates experienced the rich culinary culture and the centuries-old craftworks of Laguna. 

This year, we have chosen Silliman University, Dumaguete as our venue for the conference to highlight two things from this destination- their distinguished literary heritage and the pristine beaches lining the province. Needless to say, our international delegates were drawn to the promise of sea and sand, as we expected them to be.

The PETA-PHINMA theatre will be home to our festival performers and have been quite invested in our preparations. Our joint marketing efforts is poised to attract at least 5,000 guests to the 25 performances we have scheduled, and about 500 delegates to the workshops we have meticulously curated together with our international performers. Concurrent with our performances and workshops, we have exhibitors present at the venue that will showcase their products and services to our festival guests.

Leading up to the Third Manila Improv Festival is the Tropical Improv Camp which will be held in charming seaside city of Dumaguete in the Central Visayan province of Negros Oriental from July 2-5, 2015.

The workshops will be hosted by Silliman University, one of the oldest universities in the Philippines with an outstanding reputation for their support of culture and the creative arts.

The camp has two tracks, the Performance Improvisation and the Applied Improvisation track.

The Performance Improvisation track will cover topics, talks and workshops focused on improvisation as a performance art, while the Applied Improvisation track will cover the use of improvisation in non-performance applications - from corporate workshops and team building programs, to disaster preparedness, responsible citizenship, and everything else in between.

Facilitators of the Tropical Improv Camp are improvisers that have submitted their offers to propose, practice and process these programs during the camp, as well as practitioners that the hosting improv group has invited by virtue of their knowledge and experience in the assigned subject matter.
There are two Learning Journeys offered as a preamble and a conclusion to the Tropical Improv Camp. The first Learning Journey is “Experience Dumaguete, the City of Gentle People”, which will take place on July 1, Wednesday is a walking cultural exploration of the quaint University town, and a rolling commercial tour of the largest seaport of the province of Negros Oriental. The second and last Learning Journey, “Apo Island Adventure”, is happening on July 5, Sunday. A private boat will take the delegates to the famed protected marine reserve to snorkel and swim with the giant sea turtles.

3 DUDES IMPROV (HONG KONG) was founded in 2011 in Hong Kong by Chris Carmon, Pete Grella and Alexander Manshel to fill the long form improv void in their hearts. Their shows focus on long form / free form scenes based on suggestions from the audience, so each show is entirely new and unique; miss it, and you'll miss it forever! In addition, they incorporate a lot of musical improv in their shows, accompanied by the amazing Graham Topp on keyboard, acoustic guitar, banjo, and anything else he can get his hands on! In addition to performing shows in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, 3 Dudes has also performed in improv festivals around Asia to rave reviews, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Manila and of course in Hong Kong's own festival. 3 dudes... 1 show... more characters than you can shake a stick at!

THE BEIJING COLLECTIVE (BEIJING): We are the The Beijing Collective (TBC). With a unified mind TBC answers the question, “Who are 'The Beijing Collective?’” ”We are the best, most awesome team: we have no idea what we are doing, and throw caution to the wind (with Chinese characteristics). Formed in 2015 TBC is a brand new troupe of improvisers from the US, UK, and China, bound together by a love of long-form improv, music, and narrative. Producing new twists on existing formats, and adding a dash of MSG (musical singing games), for flavour. You may remember us from such improv troupes as Beijing Improv and Plus One. 

DULAANG ATENISTA (CAGAYAN DE ORO) has been in Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan for 26 years now. DA has contributed a whole lot in the culture and arts scene in Cagayan de Oro being one of the most active companies in the city. In 2010, Dulaang Atenista launched its improv comedy act called, "No Prob, it's Improv!” Since then, the company has performed the show every school year. With a committed bunch of creative minds, Dulaang Atenista has set itself as a main force in the theater scene with simple yet profound performances. 

IMPROMAFIA (BRISBANE) brings two improvised shows to the Manila Improv Festival. In “Tales From The Old Country,” ImproMafia will use your suggestions to improvise new and exciting tales from the Old Country, taking you through the journey of how your favorite grandparents came to be so disappointed in how you turned out. Also debuting in the festival is the brand new “Animated: An Improvised Musical Fairytale.” ImproMafia specialises in genre-based theatrical productions, as well as rapid fire short-form impro in the "Theatresports" tradition. Our performers have years of experience behind them, with many performing interstate and overseas. They come from all walks of life, but are all united by a love of improvisation as a theatrical form.

THE IMPROV COMPANY (SINGAPORE): Let The Improv Company (Singapore) take you on a journey exploring your darkest desires and most whimsical fantasies. Join us for some improvised drama and digging deep! We hope to make you giggle, sigh, swoon and possibly even shed a tear or two. So, if theatre is what you're looking for, and if it all being improvised puts you deliciously on edge, then make a date with The Improv Company (Singapore) for an unforgettable experience of improvised theatre!

LAMB INK (HONG KONG): The Awakening is a work in progress. It is part storytelling, theatre, performance art and improvisation with a little incantation, calling of the muses, lots of caffeine and maybe a little magic thrown in. It starts with the stage in complete darkness, which is slowly broken by pinpoints of lights and words, and it ends with those pinpoints and words.

LANDRY & SUMMERS (LOS ANGELES): Shaun Landry & Hans Summers (49 and 56, respectively as of July) are bringing their improvisational comedy show “50 is the New 50” to The Manila Improv Festival. Landry & Summers has been performing improvisational comedy since 1986 and married since 1991. A deconstructed long form two person Improv Show, Landry & Summers brings social relationship, political satire and general silliness to the Manila Improv Festival. This will be Shaun Landry’s second appearance at the festival (performing the first year and teaching The Harold).

The PIP SHOW (WARSAW) is inspired by the art of slow comedy, long-form show that weaves a few threads in its own pace. Sometimes funny, sometimes simply interesting, but always honest. Piotr and Pawel strive to create everyday characters while focusing on their complex relationships that are exposed during seemingly flimsy events. Come and experience offbeat humour served by two Slavic minstrels.

THE PIRATES OF TOKYO BAY (TOKYO) are Tokyo’s most rad, ribald, rambunctious, really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking improv group! They would be royal, but Japan only has an imperial family. Go figure. They put on English and Japanese shows in Tokyo and Osaka, give corporate workshops to hardworking Japanese salarymen. The Pirates have also become a destination for travelling improvisers and have shared the stage with performers from the Upright Citizens Brigade, Improv Boston, The Big Hoo Haa, and the Oxford Imps. The Pirates have had tons of fun doing improv in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Singapore and New York City, and are excited to return to this year's Manila Improv Festival!

ZMACK (SHANGHAI) is proud to once again make the journey from Shanghai, China to Manila to play with some of the world’s greatest improvisers! In their performance, Zmack will perform long-form improv. The Zmackers will take YOUR one-word suggestion and weave a full half-hour episode of an all-new ‘sitcom’-style show. Get your ideas ready - With one magic word, a universe will be created – through Improvisation! 

THE BACOLOD IMPROV GROUP (BACOLOD) or BIG is a community based improv group located in Bacolod City, Philippines. Although the group was established in 2014, most of its members come from the Kinengkoy Comedy Express which is known as the first improv group in the Philippines that was established in the year 2000. BIG currently has six members, most of whom have a strong background in theater, namely John Gilbert Arceo, Eero Martinez, Eloise Gonzales, Kurt Soberano, Jospeh Motus, and Elian Quilisadio. 

ONE AND A HALF MEN (MANILA): There’s not a day without music in one’s life. Filipinos and music are intrinsically intertwined with each other. From classics, OPM, to rap and karaoke, singing is one of our favorite pastimes. One and a Half Men will be using this love of music to create a world of musical improvisation. We will blend tones, create original, on-the-spot lyrics and form a world of imagination right in front of you. Listen, laugh, and enjoy with One and a Half Men. 

PEOPLE’S LIBERATION IMPROV (HONG KONG): You say it, we play it! People’s Liberation Improv (PLI), founded in 2007, is a Hong Kong-based English-language comedy improvisation troupe. Its comedy improvisation shows consist of several scenes made up on the spot prompted by audience suggestions about household objects, historical characters, film styles, locations, relationships, dilemmas, crises and unfortunate personality quirks. The group’s motto is: “You say it, we play it!” PLI is one of the host teams for the annual Hong Kong International Improv Festival, and has also participated in festivals in Beijing, Seoul and Manila. PLI also performs regularly at the TakeOut Comedy Club in Hong Kong. For more info on PLI, see

PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF COMEDY (SHANGHAI): PROC is Shanghai’s premier improv comedy troupe, creating an entirely original live performance each show based entirely on suggestions from the audience. All of our cast members live full time in Shanghai, so we bring a local dynamism and flavor to our shows – not to mention a deep reverence for Haibao – that no other group can match. For the Manila Improv Festival, PROC will perform a couple of short form games followed by an Armando. 

SILLY PEOPLE’S IMPROV THEATER aka SPIT (MANILA) is the premiere improvisational theater group in Southeast Asia. With over five hundred performances in 13 years, SPIT has delighted local and international audiences with their unscripted, unrehearsed and totally spontaneous shows.

In 2004, SPIT spearheaded The First Philippine Improv Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. They participated in the 3rd National Theater Festival where they premiered “SARSKWELA: Ang Sarswelang Kwela,” a completely improvised twist on the traditional Filipino Sarswela. In 2009 they opened two new works at the Cultural Center of the Philippines - “Cambiar!” an improvised educational environment themed show and “Dingdong! Death is at the Door,” an improvised long form murder show for the 5th Virgin Labfest. In 2012 SPIT also performed their Harold style long form show as part of the 4th National Theater Festival also at the CCP. SPIT has represented the Philippines in the Los Angeles Comedy Festival, the Hong Kong Improv Festival, the Beijing Improv Festival, the New York City Improv Festival, the Chicago Improv Festival and the Amsterdam Improv Festival. They are the producers of the Manila Improv Festival.

SWITCH IMPROV (MANILA) was formed three years ago thanks to a simple dream: to do improvisation and to take it to newer and greater heights. Owing its roots to Silly People's Improv Theatre, Switch Improv is a collection of individuals who epitomize being far more than the sum of its parts. Whether it involves short-form improvised games that you often see in TV shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? or long-form one-act plays that are completely improvised and unscripted, and guided by as little as one word for inspiration, Switch Improv has done it all, and actively longs to stretch the boundaries of what improv can do.

TAICHUNG IMPROV (TAICHUNG) presents "Tales from the Peanut Gallery," a series of randomly improvised stories inspired by audience suggestions. Taichung Improv explores the mundane, the extra-ordinary, the slightly absurd, the off-the-wall and the funny side of life by digging deeper and exploring more in what’s underneath the surface. An iceberg shows only a small tip to the world but if you want to see its true beauty and splendor, to experience its real power you’ll have to look at what lies beneath. Taichung Improv feels the same about stories. It’s these improvised stories that they will bring to audiences in Manila as part of the "Peanut gallery collection." The Taichung Improv festival ensemble is based in Taichung, Taiwan and consists of veteran members John Maloney (USA), Amanda Bishop (USA), Dennis Dziedzic (USA) and Josh Myers (South Africa). Taichung Improv was founded in 2007 and is home to expats from around the world as well as local citizens from Taiwan. They explore their common humanity and funny bones together by bridging the cultural divide by looking for that universal sense of playful mischief and shared stories.

TO BE CONTINUED… (HONG KONG) is an improvisational comedy theatre company spreading the good word of the noble art of spontaneous improvised comedic performance. For the Manila Improv Festivel, we will present a short form improv show suitable for all ages. We heavily integrate the audience and use volunteers in every show. This will be audience-favorite familiar short form, for the whole family and everyone will leave with a giant smile on their faces!

For more details and updates, you may check out SPIT via

Twitter: @spitmanila
Instagram: spitmanila

For ticket and workshop inquiries contact:

Jay Tipayan of PETA Theater Center
Tel. (02) 726-6244 / 0927-3917379

For further inquiries, email

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