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At The Village Theatre, The Real World Is Material For Spontaneous Comedy

By S. Mathur

In an age where a significant number of people turn to comedy shows for political analysis, it seems true to say that the best comedy is made from spontaneity and crisis. That's certainly the philosophy behind the Village Theatre, an improvisational comedy troupe that takes material for the stage from the audience and from the performers' own lives.

Located on the ground floor of the Pencil Factory lofts, in the Old 4th Ward neighborhood of Atlanta, the theatre has been entertaining and inspiring Atlantans for nearly 10 years. As well as long and short form improv comedy several nights each week, the theatre offers improv classes.

"The Village Theatre has been open since 2008, when a group of good friends decided that they wanted to perform together and have a unbelievably sophomoric time doing so," Managing Director Blair Holden said. "We had been together at other theatres a long time. When we first formed, it was like the parents were away and we could throw a kegger for the first time."

There are now hundreds of different shows, and classes with seven different levels and improv related electives. The theatre also does private events for companies across the state. What hasn't changed is that the Village Theatre and its people are fun to be around.

"Today, as it has always been, our patrons feel welcomed," Holden said. "Like they are going to large party at one of their friends houses. VT is, if anything, very approachable, from the actors to the staff to the classes to anything."

Audiences and performers love the atmosphere, and the quality tech. The actors are talented, comical, and witty and the shows are hilarious and interactive With beer, snacks and free parking, the theatre is a great choice for night out.

Classes begin with the Fundamentals and progress through scene work, performance, short form and long form. Each class runs for eight weeks and ends with a graduation show. Occasional workshops cover more specialized topics such as being a better partner and finding material for comedy in the world around us.

"Improvisation is a team sport, and all classes at VT are taught so that the classes become groups first," Holden said. "We encourage collaboration, and celebration of all individual ideas and figure out how all that creates a cohesive unit. VT classes have grad shows after EVERY level, since improv is inherently a 'learn by doing' thing. Plus they are a helluva lot of fun!"

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