Clare is a WIT founding member and former creative director. She’s been to drama school, Loose Moose and co-managed BATS Theatre. In 2016 she moved back to NZ after seven years in Cambridge, UK where she revived the improv community by creating and delivering a class curriculum, jam nights, shows and co-founding the Cambridge Improv Factory. She’s also played in London harold teams, learned from teachers of many different styles, created a solo and played in Bristol’s long running improvised soap opera, Closer Each Day. She’s stoked to be back in Wellington and able to use the word ‘stoked’ again. You can find her at @suriahslip or www.suriahslip.com.
Matt Powell is an accomplished improvisor with over 15 years’ experience teaching, performing, and directing improvisation. In addition to 12 years with Christchurch’s Court Jesters, Matt has taught around New Zealand and Australia, as well as by invitation at the 2015 FÉRIIR improvisation festival on Réunion Island.
In 2014, while still living in Christchurch, Matt was twice invited to teach WIT intensives on body language and direction in improv. He loved Wellington so much he moved here in 2015, and continues to create fresh and innovative improvisation, including several shows with PlayShop and, with Jennifer O’Sullivan, the award-winning 2016 Fringe show Awkward Threesome.
As a teacher, he has a particular focus on connection, collaboration, and finding joy in the moment.
Hayley moved up 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.
Hayley has been part of WIT’s recent Fringe and Comedy Festival shows, in 2014 Battle of WITs, and Return to the Planet of Forbidden Improv (for which she made some amazing props, including a four metre long tentacle), and in 2015 Gorilla; she has also performed in and hosted Micetro shows. In 2016 she produced and performed in Attack of the Killer-B Movie. 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.
She has served on WIT’s committee as Co-ordinator and as Members’ Rep. As a trainer she works with some of our newest improvisors, as she loves experiencing that moment where people take the lid off the box of improv, and really start playing with it.
Oliver is an improvisor from way back in the Theatresports days. From playing and winning inter-school improv competitions to playing in the Comedy Festival with WIT, his love has always been the stage. Also look at that hat. It’s majestic.
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.
Originally a script actor, Dianne has been improvising since 2008. Her natural humour, kindness, storytelling and performative nature serve her well in improvisation. In her home town of Dunedin, Dianne performed and taught as a senior member of Improsaurus. In 2014 she crossed the seas to perform in America at the AACT World Festival and wrote the introduction training manual for Improsaurus. Later in 2014 Dianne sailed Wellington and joined WIT, fresh off the boat.
Dianne’s favourite type of improvisation is long-form and she enjoys bringing out her physicality on stage. Dianne has a BA in Theatre, English and TESOL with a GDipCom in Commerce, and a full-marketing job. She served WIT as Secretary, and enjoys assisting with marketing stage shows as well.
Dianne’s interests include Batman, lions, learning and more Batman.
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.
Belle started improv at Kapiti College in 2009 and lead the school improvisation team for three years. It seemed like a good idea at the time. She was also a member of Kapiti Playhouse Youth Drama for four years. Belle is as British as tea and scones on a Sunday afternoon and likes to pretend to be royalty when she’s really a cockney bohemian type at heart.
Belle recently completed her studies in audio engineering at Whitireia and hopes to work in performance professionally, as working in administration seriously sucks. She also hopes to get into the Burlesque scene and dreams of being a magician’s assistant.
Improv is love. Improv is life.
Maggie is an American import who has been improvising since 2006, and joined WIT in 2013. She’s gone back to America to finish her studies, but Wellington wants her back as soon as may be.
She has performed with, directed and produced for several improv troupes around the Kansas City area, including working on the Kansas City Improv Festival. Maggie has performed in several WIT shows in 2013, including Micetro, Improv Lounge and The Young and the WITless 7.
She authors Mega Maggie’s Improv Party, a blog chronicling her experiences as an improviser. Maggie loves karaoke and is an undefeated rap battle champion.
A founding member of WIT, Anton ( /‘Un’ton van Helden’/) brings together the unholy mix of marine mammal scientist, magician, singer, clarinet and mandolin player, cartoonist and improviser. An unforgettable, highly-realistic performance of an improvised song entitled “Sweaty Man” landed him the first of his many improv trophies in 2001, with other contestants literally throwing in their towels. From such humble beginnings, Anton’s quirky characters have graced numerous WIT shows.