The New Movement opened in Austin, TX in February 2009 as a full time comedy conservatory. Founders and New Orleans natives Chris Trew and Tami Nelson met in 2004 while taking improv classes in New Orleans and had long dreamed of running their own theater and conservatory. TNM brought something new to the Austin Improv scene – a specific approach to the craft that couldn’t be found in a book or anywhere else in the country. The difference paid off as TNM attracted both eager rookies and veteran performers.
“Chris and Tami live and breathe the art form and have built their own language of improv, a style characteristic of The New Movement”
– The Austin-American Statesman
By January 2010, there was enough talent to bring audiences to 1819 Rosewood for the first time. The Megaphone Show was the first official weekly performance and was soon joined by Block Party as weekly events. Comedy hungry Austinites packed the small Eastside theater early and often. Student troupes held down the fort in Austin while TNM founders Chris and Tami hit the road on several national tours, teaching and performing in over 20 cities across the United States.
“Johnny Appleseeds of Funny”
– The Onion A.V. Club
While performing in their hometown New Orleans, Chris and Tami met Stupid Time Machine, a sketch and improv troupe looking to bring a TNM-style community to New Orleans. Soon the plans for TNM Nola were hatched with the talented performers in STM helming the ship. Meanwhile, TNM Austin spread its wings and started appearing all over Austin, at notable festivals and venues.
“Wildly Talented and Relentlessly Inventive”
– The Austin Chronicle
In 2011, TNM added Houston, Texas to it’s mix of cities (now dubbed The Station Theater). A large curated comedy mega-event, Hell Yes Fest, was established. Improv Wins, an ambitious blog project and annual conference, was launched as well.
“A Tireless Team of Hardworking Comedians”
– Now Austin
Early 2012 saw a big move for TNM Austin, going from a small space in East Austin to a large downtown venue (616 Lavaca) with multiple classrooms to accommodate the growing community. In mid-2014, TNM Nola found an amazing 2-story building on St. Claude Ave, launched what was, at the time, the largest theater space Kickstarter of all time, and renovated that into a comedy-creating campus with a larger theater, multiple classrooms, a video production studio, a podcasting booth, and (eventually) a bar.
With shows and classes running in both Austin and New Orleans while maintaining a national presence with online material, frequent tours, and festival appearances, The New Movement has joined an elite group of comedy collectives who maintain a strong presence in multiple cities and online. TNM also continues to pursue film/TV/web projects through its production company Studio 8, which has made several appearances on Comedy Central and is producing the upcoming feature documentary Air Sex: The Movie. In early 2015, Studio 8’s website became a portal for all video/podcast/written content from the TNM creative community.
“Let the Comedy Juggernaut Proceed”
– The Austin Chronicle
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