European Improv Festivals; A Maydays Guide

European Improv Festival life

A Maydays Guide to European Improv Festivals

 

As the weather changes and people around the world start to make tentative plans for in-person events, I started to get excited about the idea of going back to improv festivals again. The Maydays have been very lucky to play at lots of International festivals over the years so here is a short and silly guide to the European improv festivals we have played with our main touring show ‘Happily Never After.’  I’ve listed these in the order they normally appear throughout the year.

 

Impro Amsterdam

When: Normally takes place in January

Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Fun fact: This was the last real-life festival The Maydays performed at pre-pandemic and the year the festival celebrated 25 years! 

 

Espontaneo

When: Normally takes place in April 

Where: Sintra, Portugal

Fun fact: The Maydays went here in 2017 and were extremely lucky to have the excellent Maria Peters as a guest in our show. Another one I didn’t get to but the crew in attendance told me that they loved the use of the artists native languages that ran through this festival (and that the hotel was AMAZING)

 

Mount Olymprov

When: Normally takes place in early June 

Where: Athens, Greece

Fun fact: The only improv festival I know that has a holiday built-in. After this festival, there is the option to join an island retreat. Jules and I went last time, it was heaven.

 

FIIF 

When: Normally takes place in mid-June 

Where: Tampere, Finland

Fun fact: The only improv festival I know whose closing party ends in a Sauna.

 

Odramatiska 

When: Normally takes place in August

Where: Gothenburg, Sweden

Fun fact: Despite being a slip of a thing Liz Peters loves her food and wanted to tell you all how good it was here! Also, the Maydays were very happy that they had to take a Ferry to the Theatre.

 

Birmingham Improv Festival

When: Normally takes place in October

Where: Birmingham, UK

Fun fact: In his spare time, Jon Trevor the festival organiser is also a skydiver and has jumped out of planes over 1000 times. This is nothing to do with the festival, it’s just an amazing fact. Birmingham is also home to Jumprov, the UK’s First Ethnically Diverse Improvisational Theatre Company.

 

Romania Improfest

When: Normally takes place in October 

Where: Bucharest, Romania

Fun fact: Although I visited this festival it wasn’t when the Maydays went there. The rest of the Maydays told me the Ambassador came to their show! (My hot tip is a strong beer called Silva Negra)

 

Improdrom 

When: Normally takes place in October

Where: Bydgoszcz, Poland

Fun fact: This festival is organised by a kick-ass all-female production team.

Link to the Maydays Improdrom show 

 

CIIF 

When: Normally takes place in late October 

Where: Copenhagen, Denmark

Fun fact: Another one I personally missed but the Maydays told me to tell you not to miss the boat tour and the pastries

Link to the Maydays CIIF show 

 

The BIG IF

When: Normally takes place in early November 

Where: Barcelona, Spain

Fun fact: This was my first ever international improv festival and it lives up to its name. This one is a big one both in size and the number of shows, workshops and jams on offer. 

Link to the Maydays BIG IF show 

 

Improfest Ireland

When: Normally takes place in mid-November 

Where: Dublin, Ireland

Fun fact: Neil Curran, the founder and organiser of the festival is a very long time old friend of the Maydays and possesses damning video footage of some unnamed Maydays after getting them very drunk on Irish whiskey one festival.

 

 

Long live European Improv Festivals!

So there we have it, a whirlwind tour of our tours of European Improv festivals. This blog only talks about European Improv Festivals that the Maydays have played, there are of course TONS more. You Can see a really handy full list here as put together by OHANA (the European Improv project). 

 

Upcoming European Improv Festivals?

There’s a whole other blog to write on worldwide improv festivals, Theatre festivals like Brighton and Edinburgh that feature improv heavily and now of course online improv festivals, but they are for another day. For now, we’re looking forward to bringing back our own residential festivals, The Maydays Retreats (Here’s a trailer from our last one in 2019) and Intensives and hope to bring good news about those coming back soon. 

 

Hope to see you at a European improv festival soon!

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