Atlanta is a new hub for theater and film thanks to financially attractive tax exemptions, diverse locations and local entrepreneurs. While the traditional vehicles into entertainment have been almost exclusively located in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, Atlanta now builds its reputation with a talented crop of local performers.
349 Decatur St. S.E.
Atlanta, GA 30312
This is Atlanta’s premier theater improv location, thanks in part to its veteran casts. This is the Village Theatre’s second location and this one features a cozy bar to enjoy between sets. As a nice addition to the regular “long form,” “short form” and improv classes, the Village Theatre also has a sci-fi-themed production called, “Captain’s Log.”
As a nice ice-breaker for improv newbies, celebrities like comedian-actor Dan Fogler and Dave Willis from ADULT SWIM dropped by for the ARMANDO show. Of course, the real draw is seeing the performers like the DANGER cast go to work. RUFIO, an improv troupe made from Village Theatre cast members, recently played in the Del Close Marathon in New York City, hosted by the UCB Theater, helping spread the word that Atlanta improv belongs on the map.
The Brink Improv
1630 DeKalb Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
The Brink emphasizes teaching improv skills, especially to non-performers. Founding teachers Ian Covell and Kristy Oliver have combined their experience for the benefit of local regulars. The website explains their niche succinctly with headlines such as, “3 Improv Skills Every Salesman Needs” or “If you make them laugh, they will buy.” The idea that every person should be able to perform improv routines seems unbelievable, but Brink believes everyone needs to be able to think creatively and think on their feet. Live improv is out of most people’s comfort zone, but here that’s the point. Brink recently started offering free Sunday shows, too.
The Basement Theatre
175 W. Wieuca Road N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30342
There are certain images leftover from the 1980s stand-up comedy boom that remain in our collective psyche, and The Basement Theatre is essentially keeping the dream alive. This location sincerely looks the part of a dive comedy club, complete with neon lights and brick walls. In fact, you can now purchase memorial bricks toward the fundraising of a new location not located in a basement. Still, there are free shows to see from the improv classes and the ambiance can actually be quite a bit of fun.
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Whole World Improv Theatre
1216 Spring St. N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30309
This October, Whole World Improv celebrates 20 years of comedy in Atlanta with its event “Frothengiggle.” The $55 admission ticket will get you a commemorative glass, four pours of Red Brick Beer, food, live music and, naturally, an improv showcase. Whole World also offers classes like most theaters, but its one-day workshop is a nice option compared to the more standard weekly class model.
1105 Euclid Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
Dad’s Garage has also been around for nearly two decades, but it is currently located in a new, temporary location as it looks for a permanent landing space. A casualty of Atlanta real estate development, Dad’s Garage is projecting to get everything settled within the next two years. Despite the chaos, its improv offerings are still intact along with its loyal fan base. Dad’s Garage offers adult-oriented improv, improv classes and availability for corporate events.
With a BFA in Digital Media, Sean Mills has worked for design firms with clients across the United States. He has worked as an illustrator and visual designer, and has shown paintings in juried exhibitions. He currently works as a studio artist and writer in Atlanta, Georgia. His work can be found at Examiner.com.