Gitta has been improvising and performing for years, taking part in Comedy Festival and Fringe Festival shows, as well as volunteering to help WIT and other theatre around Wellington. Her epic poems are justly renowned for being outstandingly epic.
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 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.
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.
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.
Ali met improv at a WIT beginner’s class during a mildly dark time of her life fifteen years ago. That first night there was a lot laughter, the heart-warming change-up your life kind.
Ali, then a power-suited full time corporate weasel, had only signed up to the community night school class to help improve her public speaking skills. Quite soon she ran off to art school, and then started making masks after attending a Loose Moose summer improv school in Canada. Since then she has performed in, photographed and produced improv shows, built puppets, a gorilla and a small tardis. She’s also led workshops for emergency management staff, mask-makers, university students, social support groups and NZ Improv Festival participants, as well as regularly teaching new improvisers in the very same space she took that very first class.
She’s currently a Creative Director for WIT (The Wellington Improvisation Troupe), and convener of the meetup group for very casual improvisors, Wimprov.
Barry Miskimmin has twice been awarded the WIT annual prize for gravitas, and brings a serious flair for improvisation to the stage. Proud of his Celtic roots, he often gets Irish and Scottish accents confused. Barry trained in the WIT Keith Johnstone masterclass and is one of WIT’s senior trainers and MCs. Performing regularly in WIT shows, Barry was once the oldest living member of WIT, appearing in the Micetro which started it all by winning Best Comedy Award in the 2003 New Zealand International Fringe Festival. Weekdays, Barry is a sales sales weasel for a large corporation.