In the middle of winter I can’t see many reasons to frock up and head out to an Improvisation Party. Yes if it was summer on a party island in the Mediterranean, in a glam city where late night clubbing is de rigeur, but to the Nishi Hotel to be dancing on the ‘kindling’ staircase under the gliding gaze of a school of Nemos and a ugly shark while the Improvisation Band entertained, occasional artists improvised and guests did what they thought was the thing to do, was unexpected fun.

It was in fact the after party for the opening night of the Improvisation Festival, and I love an after party when everybody gets stuck into the celebratory drinks and loosens up saying and doing all manner of unplanned things for fun. You didn’t know about the festival? Well let me tell you this is the beginning of five days of stuff devoted to the art of impro that includes workshops, theatre and a conference. For the flashy Nishi mob it followed the theme of the opening night show at the ANU Arts Centre called the Improvision Song Contest. And in keeping with that theme the sultry songstress Chanel Cole channeled Conchita Wurst ( the bearded lady of Eurovision 2014 ) for the night with an after- five shadow and a Conchita style wig but stuck with the band to covers for all ages and tastes.

The idea grew like topsy from a Facebook post by Nishi Party Planner David Caffery, to tie in with the festival and he was just a bit panicky about the expected numbers because you never know with Facebook and this was a free event. But ever the sooks, only the stoic Canberrans rugged up and fronted up, to dance on the stairway, enjoy the impro and wonder why we don’t do it in the summer.