UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts Coup de Comedy Festival Goes Global

Comedy Festival and Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium “Transform” on June 3-6, 2021

IRVINE, Calif. (May 12, 2021) - The Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA) at the University of California, Irvine, virtually hosts the 7th annual Coup de Comedy Festival returning after last year’s pause and now going global!

The Coup de Comedy Festival is a FREE four-day comedy festival consisting of panels, workshops and performances available to the community. This year’s festival will have an international reach being online and collaborating with the Global Improvisation Initiative (GII), whose goal is to elevate the form of improvisation, and Improbable, a London-based theatre company, to engage participants from around the world.

Running concurrently with the Coup de Comedy Festival will be The Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) Symposium 2021 with a specific focus on the central theme of “Transform.” The GII Symposium 2021 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. The four-day, one-of-a-kind online event will feature over 24+ hours of continuous transnational programming. Inspired by Nam June Paik’s “electronic superhighway,” the event showcases curated presentations and workshops, organic conversations, and performances that transcend every time zone in the world, crafting a truly “global” symposium.

The improvisation community is in a moment of reckoning and radical transformation. Over the last year, several founding improvisation institutions were forced to permanently close or reorganize due to the pandemic, economic hardships and/or the demands by their communities for change concerning 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 GII Symposium 2021 will feature those in our community who have actively engaged in transforming their working models over the last year. A global, 24-hour Devoted & Disgruntled Open Space, 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 is the world transforming improvisation? How can impro transform the world?”

The developing schedule of the Comedy Festival | GII Symposium 2021 currently has over 40 events for individuals to participate in and anticipates over 50 improvisational artists participating from every continent in the world, sans Antarctica. Members from the major comedy institutions around the globe will be represented. In addition, individuals performing and presenting will be joining us live from Nigeria, the Philippines, Australia, UK, and more. Leaders in the field will represent a range from Brazil, including those who help found Jogando no Quintal (trans. Playing in the Yard) and Barbixas, to Broadway, including Cody Renard Richard, who stage-managed Freestyle Love Supreme – an improvisational hip-hop comedy musical group started by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Veneziale. 

The event is produced by UCI Drama faculty Joel Veenstra and the 10-year-old student organization Improv Revolution, which generates creativity, comedy and community at and around UCI, and now the world.

The developing schedule offers FREE registration for the whole experience, beginning Thursday, May 13. Once registered, access to RSVP to each event becomes available. Space is limited.

Follow social media posts and updates using #GII2021CdC.



About UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts: As UCI’s creative laboratory, the Claire Trevor School of the Arts explores and presents the arts as the essence of human experience and expression through art forms ranging from the most traditional to the radically new. The international faculty works across a wide variety of disciplines, partnering with others across the campus. National-ranked programs in art, dance, drama, and music begin with training but end in original invention. Students come to UCI to learn to be citizen-artists, to sharpen their skills and talents, and to become the molders and leaders of world culture. For more information, please visit www.arts.uci.edu. 

Posted Date: 
May 13, 2021
Contact Information: 

Professor Joel Veenstra
Producer, Coup de Comedy Festival | Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) Symposium 2021
Associate Chair of Production, Co-Head of Stage Management, Department of Drama

Jaime DeJong
CTSA Director of Marketing and Communications