Improvising through a pandemic: Theatre 99 celebrating 20 years in Charleston

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Theatre 99 is Charleston’s home for improv comedy. This year will mark their 20th anniversary; and a memorable one at that.

Before there was Theatre 99, Brandy Sullivan, Greg Tavares and Timmy Finch started ‘The Have Nots!’ improv comedy company in 1995.

“We have a really unique chemistry that’s always worked. We’ve always been on the same page as far as loving it and loving us as a group. And we love each other, it’s like a family now more than friends. It’s like a little family,” says Sullivan.

In 2000, the trio opened Theatre 99 in Downtown Charleston. Sulllivan says she sometimes can’t believe how much they have grown in the last 20 years.

Since improv comedy performances rely heavily on interaction from the live audience, COVID-19 has proposed a difficult challenge for the group. After closing their doors for a few months, they asked the community how they should begin to reopen.

“We started streaming shows at the theater when it was safe to get on stage without a mask and do the shows…we’ve had a group of 10 people in the audience that are family and friends so it really has that interactive feel. And we get people to chime in online,” says Sullivan.

The livestream shows have been a success for Theatre 99; Sullivan was floored at the support they’ve received over the last few weeks. She says being able to perform again has almost been therapeutic.

“It was so good for our sanity. It was so good to connect again and just laugh like that. I realized that’s 1 thing that we missed in those first few months. Wow! We’re used to laughing a lot more regularly so it feels good to get back to that!”

The Have Nots will be performing a special livestreamed show for their 25 anniversary and the 20th anniversary of Theatre 99 on Saturday, August 15th.

The stream is free to watch, however, donations are greatly appreciated. You can find out more information by clicking here.

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