BE. HERE. NOW.
Who we are
The Würzburger Improtheaterfestival is one of Europe's biggest festivals of its kind and an inherent part of the cultural life in the city of Würzburg. What started out as an adventurous experiment has turned into an established and internationally renowned event. 2002 "Der Kaktus - Improvisation und Theater" and the Jugendkulturhaus Cairo have presented the annual Würzburger Improtheaterfestival for the first time. Meanwhile it has become the responsibility of a separate association. This association, the Würzburger Improtheaterfestival e.V., organizes numerous other projects throughout the year.
Every year, the festival gives around one hundred improvisers from all corners of the world the opportunity to train with international professionals. In addition, the whole range of improvised theatre is presented in several different venues throughout the city. Not only do we stage experiments and offer theatre encounters in classical and new formats. Each year, we also present the crème de la crème of the international improv scene.
No matter how great the differences within the concepts, ideas and ways of playing at the festival may be, what they all have in common is the fascination with improvisation, the spontaneity and the willingness to take risks. The audience is right there with us when we create a scene, when we fight for it to become a success, when we fail and when we suceed. This is how we create stories and characters before the eyes of the performers and the audience – before in the blink of an eye they disappear again – fugitive and unreproducible…
Code of Conduct
We have developed a short code of conduct to ensure that everybody feels safe and happy and can get the most out of their experience at the Würzburger Improtheaterfestival. Reading through this code will give you an idea of our festival philosophy and values.
The following elements will help create a safe environment to ensure good work and a valuable experience for everyone.
By respecting the personal space of other students (i.e. avoiding rough contact or grabbing unless prepared or instructed), by not putting your own body at risk and treating props, chairs, and furniture with care, everyone feels safe and can focus on the work.
Avoiding gratuitously bringing challenging and offensive content into the class
We believe that a workshop can be a place to test the limits and delve into challenging content. However we also believe that responsibility lies with each participant to ensure that when they do introduce such content, it benefits the work and is mindful of other participants’ sense of comfort and safety, rather than introducing it purely for their own enjoyment. Students who repeatedly introduce unwelcome content after it has been addressed may be excluded from the workshop.
If performing or watching a scene is making you uncomfortable, or you feel there may be an issue for other participants, please feel empowered to address these concerns. Overall responsibility for safety and comfort lies with the workshop leader, but if you speak your mind when in doubt you help ensure that everyone is having a good time and can focus on the work.
The following elements ensure that you, yourself, and everybody involved will get the most out of your performance.
Telling us what you need
If you tell us what you need, we can help your show be great. Do you want to try unconventional or risky things that we would need to discuss with the theatre up-front? Do you crave an unusual backdrop for your show? You realise you could do with an extra player? If we know in advance, we can help when possible, or let you know when something can't be done. That way you can focus entirely on your show once it is time to hop on stage.
Considering what you want to put on stage
We see ourselves as a platform that encourages artists to explore what is possible and test the limits. We believe an improvised show can include challenging or even offensive content. We do believe, however, that it lies within the responsibility of the performer to ensure that this kind of content serves a purpose, a greater objective and will not be used to provoke or be edgy for its own sake.
Respecting each other
We strongly believe in an environment of courtesy and consideration. This applies to everyone, from fellow performers to volunteers and theatre staff who help make the shows and the festival itself possible. It especially applies to our audiences. If you decide to directly involve them in your show, please make sure to make them feel physically and emotionally safe, so they can have an experience they can cherish.
The following elements will help create a safe environment to ensure good work. Different workshops may involve interpreting these differently, and, despite these principles being important and solid, you can always talk to us about anything you would want to approach a little differently.
Making a safe physical environment
By ensuring that the personal space of students is respected (i.e. by stepping in if students employ rough contact, grabbing, hang out of windows etc.) and by respecting students' personal space yourself, everyone feels taken care of and can focus on the work.
Making a safe emotional/personal environment
We believe that our participants get the most from the festival when they feel safe emotionally. This means considering their best interests and behaving appropriately towards them in and out of the classroom.
In the workshop it also means stepping in when distressing content is introduced, such as denigration of people based on identity or sexual violence. We understand that such themes can be part of the workshop concept, and so responsibility lies with the workshop leader to decide when such content serves a rewarding purpose that will benefit the participants - and when it crosses the line and makes participants feel unsafe and unwelcome.
Participants who repeatedly cross that line can be asked to sit out of practicing a component of the workshop, or to cool off outside of the classroom for a period. If you are concerned their further involvement could make the workshop an unsafe environment, please escalate the issue to the organisation team.
Sometimes participants will notice issues before you do, or raise things that are personally problematic for them. By recognising these concerns and maintaining an open space for participants, the workshop will work as well as it can for everyone.
Our festival is opposed to harassment of any form. If you are unhappy about someone's behaviour - towards you or anyone else - or have any complaints or concerns, please tell us about it. The festival representatives are Carina and Jonathan, and you can also speak to any other member of the festival team or if necessary a volunteer, who will bring the issue to us as soon as possible.