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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Announcing: New Movement Theatre +

Local actor, comic, ColdTowne Theater alum and one of my most favorite Austinites Chris Trew is opening up a new theater - a new movement theater, to be precise - this Sunday. He and fellow ColdTowne teacher Tami Nelson have been major forces in Austin's improv and comedy scene since Hurricane Katrina delivered them to us in 2005, and together, they are opening New Movement as well as an Austin branch of L.A.'s, a comedy booking company.

So, what does this mean? Classes for aspiring improv actors, hot shit comics coming to ATX, and a funky new theater next door to Nubian Queen Lola's. I have performed at ColdTowne a few times, and can't wait to see the new digs. To sign up for a class - which you will inevitably be compelled to do after you read this interview - email

Chris and Tami took a break from killing unsuspecting victims with laughter to tell us about all this craziness.

1. You and Tami opened Coldtowne Theater. What inspired you to open a second one - The New Movement Theater?

The New Movement is the monument Chris and I are building inspired by all the fun things to all the fun things for all the fun things. When we started ColdTowne we had no idea what we were doing, we just knew it needed to be done. Now we know exactly what we are doing and what we want to focus on and are just totally doing that.

2. Will Coldtowne still remain open?! (Disregard sounds of worried hyperventilation)
That is entirely up to forces beyond our control. We certainly set it up for longevity. We hope that it continues to do the good work that it is known for and maintains the reputation it's gained over the past 3 years.

3. What is going to make The New Movement Theater a crazy awesome space? And what's all this about "Chicago-style" and "craft" talk, mister?

The New Movement will be a training center completely unique to Austin - one which is focused on a specific, defined improv philosophy - Austin's improv scene has grown enough in the past few years to deserve a variety of training centers - when we first moved here we wanted to put Austin on the map for improv study and performance, this is an expansion of that goal.

4. Since your arrival, you and Tami have been quite integral to the local comedy scene. Yet, not everybody knows where you came from. Tell us how you two made your way to ol' Austin, Texas.
We originally studied improv together at La Nuit in New Orleans. Then Katrina devastated the city in 2005. We couldn't return to New Orleans for a long time, so we set up camp in Austin and started doing what we loved to do here and found Austin very receptive to us.

5. Speaking of the comedy scene: What kind of talent do you hope to attract?

In Los Angeles the team is already set up, they are producing piles of sketch comedy already and getting the material up all over the place. In Austin we are going to be focusing on the live aspects of comedy and working with the coolest kids. Got lots of shh shh projects in the works, one of them being the Austin, Sketchfest, a new comedy festival.

6. Tell us about this new Mohawk Comedy Showcase?

We are working with Transmission Entertainment to bring a headlining act in from out of town once a month and surround him/her with some of the hardest working and fun local comedians. This first month we are bringing in Sean Conroy from L.A.'s Upright Citizens Brigade and local guys Albert Im and Ramin Nazer are rounding the show out. The Mohawk is a great venue for comedy, did you know that?
7. In the face of a global recession, the obesity crisis, and the drop-crotch harem pants trend, why will improv save the world?
Studying improv gives you a time and a place in your life to play, hone your craft, discover new things about yourself and how you are perceived. The basic improv philosophies are beautiful - support, be smart, have fun, grow and get over yourself because it's bigger than you. If everyone really acted like that we'd all be hi-fiving dolphins and riding surf boards on milk chocolate waves to everlasting fun island for a big free lunch. Usually, about once a class, we have those moments. And the people love it. But we are really good teachers.

launch schedule:

Sunday, March 1st
6pm til - Launch Party at The New Movement Theater

Monday, March 2nd
5:30pm - Classes begin at The New Movement Theater
8pm - OFF NIGHT ON - a new Mohawk Comedy Showcase feat. UCB's Sean Conroy & Chris Trew

Wednesday, March 4th
- Drop in class at The New Movement Theater - $10
8:30pm - The Shootaround: Long form improv jam at The New Movement Theater

Thursday, March 5th
7pm - Launch Party at The United States Art Authority - FREE

Saturday, March 7th
noon-1pm - The New Movement at the Staple Media Expo at the Monarch Event Center
PM - Staple Media Expo afterparty w/ Terp 2 it at The Red 7

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