House of Comedy
The new New Movement: A fresh downtown location for one of Austin's busiestcomedy theaters
The plucky go-getters at The New Movement Theater have had a busier, more insane SXSW experience than you have. They have booked some of the best official SXSW comedians for free, unofficial shows, and they did all of it at their brand new location at 616 Lavaca Street.
Artistic Director Alex Berry has been hard at work during the Interactive portion of the conference, rushing to open the theater for preview showcases featuring Kevin Allison from The State, stand ups James Adomian and Kyle Kinane, and public access host Chris Gethard just to name a few.
The New Movement crew is smartly engaging the visiting crowds of SXSW, in particular the impossibly long lines that were outside of Esther’s Follies all last week. Many of those who got turned away for those limited-capacity comedy shows found plenty more to love at the new New Movement only a few blocks away.
The previous Rosewood location’s 60 person capacity made its shows intimate, but limited the growth potential of the theater. Berry says, “Our shows always do pretty well at the old Rosewood location, but everyone who goes there goes there with the intention of going only there. We rarely get any foot traffic.” Now, with a bus route that drops off at their front door and a close proximity to UT, they expect to grow by leaps and bounds. “This new location is so ideal, it opens our audience potential up so much.”
Although the Lavaca Street theater is larger and there will be separate spaces dedicated to shows, classes, and fundraising events, don’t expect the good vibes of the company to change much at TNM. “I’m going to try not to [change the feel of the theater]. We’re going to get bigger and better,” explains Berry. “I’m just going to try to keep it familial and open just like it was at Rosewood, but in general I don’t want to change a whole lot.”
The theater’s steady growth and popularity has allowed the company to make the move, but Berry and the rest of the TNM Austin crew hope for the theater to continue supporting additional projects. “We did a big Groupon for the new year which allowed us to add more classes to our conservatory. It's just nice having a healthy fund to support going on tour, advertising and expenses like that.”
As with any new venture, there will of course be some changes. Berry anticipates programming all seven nights of the week, including a new weekly “Show Up, Go Up” comedy open mic. The theater already has a popular weekly open mic night called Block Party, which reflects the theater’s offbeat, anything goes programming.
TNM is shooting for a grand opening in the second week of April. In the meanwhile, the new theater sneak previews featuring SXSW comics continue all this week. Hashtag Comedy, for example, will feature Austin comics Nick Mullen and Bob Khosravi alongside visiting comics Nick Turner, Jerrod Carmichael, and Dan Soder. You really don’t want to miss these shows.
And, Berry smiles, “Stay tuned for more of those kinds of announcements...”