Improbable Improv

The New Movement Theater celebrates four hilarious years in Austin

The New Movement Theater celebrates four hilarious years in Austin

Austin photo: News_Ryan_TNM_four year anniversary_jan 2013_chris and tami
The New Movement co-founders Chris Trew, left, and Tami Nelson. Daniel Erath
Austin photo: News_Ryan_TNM_four year anniversary_jan 2013_megaphone
Austin photo: News_Ryan_TNM_four year anniversary_jan 2013_chris and tami
Austin photo: News_Ryan_TNM_four year anniversary_jan 2013_megaphone

Austin is becoming one of the premier destinations in America for people who like to laugh. These days it is now the host and home to comedians, troupes, clubs and even its own first-rate festival celebrating funny folks.

The fire of improv comedy also burns brightly in Austin, and locals craving to watch or even learn the art of performing improv comedy need not travel far to visit Austin’s premiere comedy conservatory, The New Movement Theater. 

The New Movement Theater has served as the base of operations for both veterans and rookies of improv for the past four years. What started as a discreet establishment in East Austin has moved into a prime downtown location. Founded by two comics who met at an improv class in New Orleans, The New Movement has grown to include a diverse cast of performers and hosts numerous shows and events week in and week out.

Co-founders Tami Nelson and Chris Trew are certainly proud of what their baby has grown into.

“If you came to Chris and I four years ago and showed us pictures of what TNM has become, we’d first be like ‘Whoa, that’s incredible!’ but then about a second later we’d look at each other and say ‘But yeah, that’s what we should be doing,’” says Nelson in a press release. “We are heart-swellingly proud to be a part of this rapidly expanding community of comedians and creative badasses.”

 

 “Austin rewards originality and hard work,” says Chris Trew. “Anyone with a good idea that isn’t being done yet in Austin will have success, especially if they are ready to hustle.” 

Or course, the momentous anniversary won’t go uncelebrated. Friday, January 25 will be a special birthday celebration of TNM Tonight, a variety of sketch comedy, standup and even music, followed by the very first performance of Chris and Tami’s own show at the downtown theater.

Saturday night will be the main extravaganza when the theater hosts the All-Star Marathon, a barn-burner of the best improv troupes that TNM Austin has to offer.

Four years have provided the theater with plenty of time to attract and cultivate Austin’s impressive pool of talent, whether someone has spent years working in comedy or simply walked into a TNM improv class one night. By allowing its members the chance to be successful, The New Movement has been able to guarantee its own success.

“Austin rewards originality and hard work,” says Chris Trew. “Anyone with a good idea that isn’t being done yet in Austin will have success, especially if they are ready to hustle.”

Don’t expect anything less from The New Movement in its fifth year, as it expands itself to new projects and festivals. Trew mentions how the theater’s members have toured to other cities over the past years, but those will grow into “semi-permanent residences” in these cities across the country to better teach classes and to allow alumni the chance to continue performing out of town.

The New Movement will also continue reaching out into other media, whether it’s releasing new video projects through Studio8, or launching its podcast network, TNM.fm. The upcoming Improv Wins Conference and Festival in February will give locals a chance to learn firsthand about comedy performance, production and writing. 

For Trew, giving those opportunities to members is what makes The New Movement special. “That's what it really is all about for us. We want the people who take classes here to be given opportunities that they can't get anywhere else.”