The Asheville Improv Collective has found a new base of operations and is set to launch a series of shows and classes.
The goal of the group, according to organizers, is to build and nurture the local improv community. Clifton Hall and his wife, Dana, teamed up to form the collective, which had been operating out of Trade & Lore Coffee Shop before setting up shop at Habitat Tavern and Commons on Broadway Street. George Awad and Marlene Thompson also came aboard.
“Being at Trade & Lore showed us there was an audience and people keen to be involved and support the art,” Hall said. Awad seconded that sentiment, adding that the time at the coffee shop “helped solidify everything.”
The plan at the new location is to produce shows and hold classes. That schedule will start Saturday with a show featuring several improv troupes, including Blacklist Improv Comedy and You, Me & Them. There’s a $5 cover for the 8 p.m. show.
On Jan. 19, the group will host a stand-up comedy open mic night beginning at 9 p.m. The event “will be a regular Thursday thing,” Awad says. (A stand-up comedy showcase is set for Feb. 3, with more details to come.)
A Jan. 21 show will feature Family Dinner, an all-female troupe, as well as Banana Candy and HOA.
A free intro to improv will be held at Habitat at 7 p.m. on Jan. 15. The two-hour Sunday workshop “is a great introduction” to the training the collective plans to offer, Hall says.
Marlene Thompson, a stand-up comic, actor and music teacher who moved to Asheville with her husband, Matt, almost three years ago, said joining the Blacklist troupe and connecting with the Asheville Improve Collective “has been blissful.” There’s a sense of community with the collective that’s been hard to find, she says.
“The awareness of improv in Asheville has really grown,” she adds. “We’re trying to build a community that we hope will explode.”