Mama City is Africa’s one and only international improvisation festival, happening right here in Cape Town October 24th – 29th. We are always up for a good giggle, so we had had a chat with feisty founder Eva Gilliam about improv: “when people like it – they REALLY like it”
Tell us a little about yourself….
“My name is Eva Gilliam. I grew up in New York City, and studied Anthropology and Filmmaking. I’ve been a journalist, videographer and media trainer in Africa since 2001, working often in post-conflict zones for the UN and International Broadcasters, and also with youth in media production.”
How did you get into improv?
“When I started University at Barnard College (all women) in NYC, I saw posters for an audition with a campus improv troupe. I didn’t really know what improv was, but I was eager to meet people and get involved with anything. I auditioned and made it! I spent the next two years learning and performing with The Six Milks comedy improv troupe and I’ve had a love relationship with Improv ever since. I moved to Montana after college and started a troupe there. Then when I moved to DRC in Africa in 2001, and I was improv-less until I found The Long Shots in Cape Town in 2012 who took me in!”
Why do you think Cape Town needs their own international festival?
“Up until last year, Cape Town only had two improv troupes, there was little to no collaboration, and doing improv, the best part is being challenged, playing with others, broadening your horizons! With a festival, we could bring in teachers for the current improvisers to learn more, as well as play with international performers, and grow our audiences with the attraction of International acts. I think improv audiences are special. It’s not for everyone, but when people like it – they REALLY like it. Unfortunately most people in CPT don’t know about improv, or that we have it locally – so the festival is a way to bust out of that – grow the audience. As a consequence of this, more audience members with hopefully want to try improv out – and they can do that at the festival – or at the classes taught by The Long Shots or Improguise locally. And more people taking classes means more troupes in the future, which means more people to play with for all of us. We can’t go wrong!”
Why are you raising money with an Indiegogo campaign?
“In our inaugural year, I took the financial risk personally. It was something I believed in so much I was happy to do it. And we proved it could work! We also got to introduce everyone to the idea and the feedback was great. This year, with the pre-sales and support from Indiegogo we’re able to plan better, bring a more diverse group of teachers and not pay out of pocket! 🙂 “
Why should all of us flock to Mama City Improv?
“If you want to be amazed by your fellow humans, come to MCIF. If you need laughter therapy, come to MCIF. If you’ve always heard about improv and want to know more, come to MCIF. If you want to expand your mind, think out of the box, and watch human, emotional, hilarious theatre, come to MCIF!”