Category Archives: profiles

Profile pic Hedy Manders

Hedy Manders

Hedy has long enjoyed escaping from her very serious career in the Public Service to the wonderful world of improv.

She is a regular performer and show-host with a special affinity for Puppets, and was able to bring her next-level-geek knowledge to serve Attack of the Killer B-Movie.  She is a sharp and ruthless operator on the lighting desk.  Having served nobly on the WIT Committee, Hedy now dreams of owning a dog and of being able to fingerpick the ukulele.  She enjoys long walks along Wellington’s south coast, but not on the beach because she doesn’t like the feeling of sand in her shoes.


profile pic for Oliver Probert

Oliver Probert

Oliver is an improvisor from way back.  From playing and winning inter-school improv competitions to playing in the Comedy Festival with WIT, his love has always been the stage.

As well as being a performer in WIT shows including Gorilla, Micetro, Battle of WITs and representing WIT in the 2017 and 2018 National Theatresports champs, he independently devised and produced I Can’t Believe it’s Not Scripted, a musical improv show.

Among his many non-improv projects, Oliver devised and hosted a comedy pannel show “Headlines vs Headliners” which ran monthly during 2018, mixing standup comedians and improvisors in a topic-themed quiz format.  He also wrote “We Are the Experiments” as part of the Memory Plays anthology staged at Bats in 2018.

In 2019 he volunteered to be a Co-Creative Director of WIT, and it’s going to be fun to see what he does with the role.

Profile pic of Sam Jarman

Sam Jarman

Sam was WIT’s official youth wing when he first joined WIT in 2015, leading us in workshops and taking part in shows where his hip knowledge of the current jive was much appreciated.  A player in shows including Micetro, Gorilla and Attack of the Killer-B Movie he eventually matured into a modest beard and become part of the WIT establishment.

In 2019 he ran off to Auckland to be with his love, and we don’t blame him, really, but we do miss him.  Visit us again soon Sam! 


profile pic Kate Zabranski

Kate Zabranski

Kate joined WIT in the mid 2000s.  Since then she has performed in and produced shows, been a DIVA, a Gorilla, travelled on a Ferris Wheel and been part of The Committee.

Why does she enjoy improv?   “Improv allows you to be the person you are not allowed to be in real life, you can say things that are possibly not particularly PC, really, you can say things without fear of arrest.” Kate has a fairly dark side that tends to manifest itself on stage, this used to worry her but now just realises that this is just what she does. “ If life is taken too seriously, death will come at a young age, it is so important to realise that nothing should be sacred. I never want to offend but I feel that things should always be looked at from many angles, this includes poking fun sometimes.”

Kate was elected Co-Ordinator of WIT for 2016-2017, and herded all the improv cats with humour and efficiency.

Profile pic Brenton Hodgson

Brenton Hodgson

Brenton’s fell into improv by way of the WIT courses at Wellington High School, somewhere around 2008. He has since performed in, directed and produced Micetro seasons, and brought his enthusiasm for mildly mad science to WIT shows such as Gorilla, Puppets vs People, Attack of the Killer-B Movie and Lovecrafted.

Behind the scenes at WIT, Brenton has served as Treasurer, Coordinator and lighting operator and is passionate about encouraging members to take on new challenges in the company.  He has been to the Loose Moose summer school in Canada, Improvention in Canberra and Impro Amsterdam in Amsterdam, claiming the combination of travel and improv is a perfect way to vacation, since improvisors everywhere are quite the loveliest people.

Away from WIT, Brenton is qualified in electronics, IT and marine biology, and is working on a military grade robot-dolphin hybrid.  He is a fully qualified doctor in the sense that he played a TV doctor for  several seasons of Star Trek in the Park.  Married to another improvisor, he now has shares in four children, two grandchildren and two dogs.


profile pic of Wiremu Tuhiwai

Wiremu (Woody) Tuhiwai

Wiremu (Woody) has been in, well, most every darn production WIT has put on in the last 10 years or so, as well as being a trainer and director and all round hero of improv.

A move to Wellington somewhere near 2005 caused Wiremu stumble onto the awesomeness that is WIT.  Since being in Wellington he has drunk and sunk, moved and grooved, hung and sung, jived and dived with some of the best improvisors this side of the Milk Way.

Theorising that one could improvise within his own lifetime, Wiremu (Woody) Tuhiwai stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and improvises . . . He improvises to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change scenes for the better. His only guide on this journey is another improvisor, a partner from his own time, who appears in the form of another actor that only Wiremu can see and hear. And so Wiremu finds himself improvising from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that the next scene will be the scene home . . .

He is a past Creative Director of WIT, and takes occasional lucky groups of new improvisors through basic training, which makes perfect sense to anyone who knows him.

Outside of WIT he dabbles in the Proper Theatre, occasionally strutting a Shakespearean stage, but also seen in musicals and comedies – and we all suspect he’ll be famous in t’movies one day.



Hayley Cherryblossom

Hayley moved to Wellington on a whim, after a five year OE left her feeling the need to find where she belonged. After taking a couple of WIT’s introductory classes, she reconnected with how much she had loved improv back in her high school days, and she found her place as well as a sort of a family in the community of WIT.  Soon she was onstage, playing in Fringe and Comedy Festival shows, starting with the 2014 Battle of WITs and Return to the Planet of Forbidden Improv (for which she made some amazing props, including a four metre long pink fluffy tentacle).

Hayley has served her share of time on the Committee, as variously Members Rep, Co-ordinator and Co-Ceative Director of WIT.  As well as being a regular performer and trainer, she has become a veteran producer, responsible for the likes of Attack of the Killer-B Movie and Lovecrafted.  She has a real love for improvised music and rhyme- if there’s the chance of a song, she’s in.  Sometimes even in key.

As a trainer she loves experiencing that moment where people take the lid off the box of improv, and really start playing with it.


Dru, Drucilla, Gorilla

Dru, WIT’s Resident Gorilla

Although Gorilla has been a favorite format of WIT’s since the early 2000’s, Dru only joined the troupe recently, and has a mysterious past.   Her stage debut was in 2013, and she has appeared in several shows since.

Her last big project was All-Star Gorilla in the 2015 International Comedy Festival.

As well as joining regular performers on stage during shows, Dru is very skilled at handing out flyers.   Her all-time favorite question, from a slightly over-awed younger member of the public, was “Are you a real Gorilla?”  The answer was of course a stately nod of a furry head.

Her favourite type of improvisation is short form, especially short form romantic comedy.  Indeed, Dru regards WIT shows as the perfect place to test candidates for the role of “ideal mate”; she has more than once formed an acute romantic attachment while on stage.  While none of these relationships have worked out long term, she remains hopeful.

Dru’s interests outside of improv include online dating websites, high fashion, playing the ukulele and bananas.



WIT member Phil Anderson

Phil Anderson

Phil’s first exposure to improvisation was during the last millennium, via high-school theatre sports in Christchurch. He returned to the art over a decade later (during a friend and fellow-improvisers birthday dinner at an Indian restaurant) and signed up for the WIT beginner’s class the next morning.

Phil has become a regular performer with WIT in Micetro, Improv Lounge and Christmas Cracker shows in 2012/13, and in Return to Sender and Battle of WIT’s during Fringe Festival 2014.  He has also served on the WIT Committee as a Co-Creative Director, and is an acknowledged master of the stylish velour jacket.

Outside of WIT, Phil is a professional banking-regulator, amateur cricketer, and unpaid servant to an enormous Labrador-Newfoundland cross.