The Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) was launched in 2016 by co-founders Theresa Robbins Dudeck and Joel Veenstra as a project to support an ongoing, international exploration of the art and impact of improvisation—appreciating the rich history and diversity of our field—and to promote the evolution and advancement of theatrical improvisation for future generations.
The inaugural GII Symposium took place in 2017 at both University of California at Irvine and Chapman University and served as an intellectual and artistic nexus for sharing, producing, and documenting new knowledge about improvisational processes happening within the performance arts industries and beyond. This 2-day event brought together 37 presenters from 10 different countries, over 100 attendees from all walks of life, representatives from Impro Theatre, Groundlings, Second City Chicago, and ComedySportz, as well as pioneer of impro Keith Johnstone and Aretha Sills, the granddaughter of Viola Spolin!
The second GII Symposium themed “Awareness” took place in May 2019 in London, UK, and was co-hosted by Improbable theatre company and Middlesex University. This 4-day event brought together 200 presenters and attendees from 24 different countries. As with the 2017 symposium, the event started with 2 days of over 70 extraordinary workshops, roundtables, presentations, and performances. But this time, we followed the symposium with 2 days of Open Space facilitated by Improbable's Devoted & Disgruntled which allowed the conversations and processes that emerged from the symposium to continue in magical ways.
The third GII Symposium featured the central theme of “Transform” and took place entirely online. Improbable theatre company; the University of California at Irvine; and Improv Revolution collaborated to make this once-in-lifetime event happen, including a 24-hour global open space. This 4-day international event engaged over 600 participants from all over the world.
Our next Exploration in 2023 is looking at the “Evolution of Improvisation” with panels, workshops, and performances presented in hybrid with online and in-person events in collaboration with Improv Revolution’s Coup de Comedy Festival.
We are already considering the possibilities for our 2025 GII Symposium. We hope you’ll join us for the journey.