I founded Impulse Theatre in 2015 after moving back to Christchurch after a couple of decades living overseas. At the time there was only one other significant improvisation company operating in Christchurch. They do amazing work, but it’s very much dedicated to short-form improvisation, and I wanted to see something more theatrical take hold in Christchurch.
The name was inspired by reading the work of Jerzy Grotowski. His "poor theatre" concept has much in common with improvisation, given the usual lack of props, costume, set etc, and I loved his idea that everything started from within, from an impulse deep within the actor.
I ran some classes and found some like minded actors. Some had some improv training, but for others it was an exciting new adventure. A few of that first group still form the core of Impulse Theatre although the cast does have the inevitable turnover.
It still breaks my heart a little bit every time someone from the group, moves away or just moves on, but it’s also a great source of joy to find new improvisers and see them grow into wonderful, delightful performers. I have been VERY lucky to work with these people!