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The Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) Symposium 2021: TRANSFORM seeks to expand on past symposium successes (2017 Southern California; 2019 London) while re-imagining the future of improvisation, conferences, and their form in the 21st Century. Our 4-day, one-of-a-kind online event will feature over 48 hours of continuous transnational programing, inspired by Nam June Paik’s "electronic super highway,” with curated presentations and workshops, organic conversations, and performances that transcend every time zone in the world crafting a truly a “global” symposium.
Once again, the GII Symposium 2021 will be co-hosted by Improbable theatre company and presented in collaboration with the University of California, Irvine’s annual Improv Revolution Coup de Comedy Festival. It will continue and deepen the explorations begun at GII 2017 and 2019, with specific focus on the central theme of “Transform.”
The improvisation community is in a moment of reckoning and radical transformation. Over the last year, for example, several founding improvisation institutions were forced to permanently close or reorganize due to the pandemic, economic hardships, and/or the demands by their own communities for change in regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The theme “transform,” therefore, points to not only the structural transformations (e.g., from brick and mortar buildings to virtual spaces) happening across the globe but also a call to action—a call to transform old (and current) power structures and to create bridges to a more inclusive, equitable future for those in our field that we have repeatedly marginalized.
“The heart of improvisation is transformation,” said Viola Spolin, the mother of improvisation. The best improvisers understand that processes must evolve, rules must be flexible, and impro classrooms and stages must remain a space to investigate the nature of spontaneous creation.
The GII Symposium 2021 will feature those in our community who have actively engaged in transforming their working models over the last year or so. A global, 24-hour Devoted & Disgruntled Open Space (in 3 circles), facilitated by Improbable, will provide an opportunity for symposium attendees to propose a topic they would like to share or explore around the larger question: “How can we transform improvisation for the better?”