Professional improvisors for nearly 30 years
Theatre Sports was first introduced to Christchurch in 1987, and a number of enthusiasts were quick to take the plunge performing in teams on a Sunday night. These people included Kirsty Gillespie, Patrick Duffy and Ross Gumbley, now Artistic Director at the Court Theatre. Each scene was judged for entertainment, storyline and technique, with the two most highly-scoring teams performing for the entire evening while other teams were eliminated.
After about six months, some of the more accomplished improvisers were invited to take part in a late night improv show called Scared Scriptless, starting at 11pm. The improvisers were less constrained by the Theatre Sports format, and, over the years, developed a number of other show formats within this time slot and within the broader Court Theatre programme. A number of well-known actors and comedians honed their improv skills at the Court, including Greg Cooper, Cal Wilson, KC Kelly, and the late Kevin Smith. In 1994, the Court Jesters took on 16 of the world’s best Theatre Sports teams, and were crowned World Champions.
In 2006, a new and larger audience was introduced to Scared Scriptless when the show was brought forward to 10pm. It now sells out almost every week and is proud to be Australasia’s longest-running comedy show.
The Court Jesters also perform over 100 shows a year off-site, bringing their peculiar brand of comedy and skills to corporate events, parties and conferences.