Ten years ago Matt Newman dreamed up the idea of bringing laughter on a regular basis to Richmond. The Comedy Coalition Theater which used to be located on Staples Mill Rd. is now operating since 2013 Downtown at 8 West Broad Street. Specializing in long form Improvisation in performance and classes, The Comedy Coalition brings laughter to the RVA every week. Newman an alum of William & Mary, captured the attention of fellow W&M alum August Butler when she attended a performance and asked to intern with The Coalition. August is now a regular writer and performer at The Coalition Theater with her troupe, “Golden Nickel.”
Where a bad improv skit can go off the rails real quick and be downright painful to watch, Yelp Reviews have been over the top in favor of The Comedians and Improvers that have graced the Coalition’s stage. One reviewer even mentioned the show not only elicited laughter from the audience but screams. One reviewer also mentioned that even the Cookies were, “... only $1.50 and they were the tasty and the gourmet kind” So hey, they even have great cookies!
Butler used improv to actually help her be more comfortable in social situations. “I have trouble in new situations or with new people,” she acknowledged. “I’m not usually super-willing to put myself out there and meet new people. I think since starting in improv, I’ve gotten a lot better. One of the things we learn is that whatever is given to you, you just react to it. So in conversation, I just react.”
Newman has also extended in this idea that Improv can be a toll for a great team building exercise which has been employed at Capital One & VCU Health Systems. The Comedy Coalition has also reached out to the community. It has done programs with Richmond Youth Symphony and the Maggie Walker Governor’s School. And last winter it worked with Art 180 to teach 12-week classes at Boushall Middle School helping students with confidence and communication. Up to date scheduling can be found on line at rvacomedy.com.