The Best of Savannah

BEST LOCAL COMEDIAN/COMEDY TEAM: FRONT PORCH IMPROV

BEST OF SAVANNAH 2022

Front Porch Improv has been a beacon for local comedy in Savannah for years. 

Every weekend from their performance space on 210 W. Victory Dr. the company puts on shows that mix improv games, scenes and stories, bringing audiences an unscripted comedic experience like no other.

Beyond the laughter and hilarious on-stage antics fueled by audience suggestions, FPI understands the importance of community.

For years the company has been helping to breathe life into Savannah’s growing comedy scene while also giving back to the city they call home.

Yes, and... They have classes

Every Saturday, the company hosts drop-in classes at their space on 210 W. Victory Drive. People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to attend.

“One of our big temples is community, so it’s an opportunity for our company members to teach during Saturday drop-ins and to connect and play with people,” said John Brennan, a Front Porch Improv co-founder and improviser.

FPI has been offering classes for nearly five years, with beginner and intermediate classes that teach students improv basics such as active listening, being inspired by your partner and character work.

Last year FPI had 68 students attending their classes, and are hoping to see their classes grow.

“I’m really excited to see what this next year is going to bring. I feel like after everything that happened in 2020, it’s been really great to see the community kind of come around and embrace Front Porch,” said Deshawn Mason, a member of Front Porch Improv.

A core tenet of improv is about making meaningful connections with other people, which allows for the creation of a judgment-free space that stimulates self-expression and the transfer of creative ideas.

Along with helping to bolster Savannah’s comedy scene, FPI is also committed to social responsibility, and making the city a happier, healthier and more joyous place.

The comedy club is fulfilling that commitment through their program Front Porch Adolescents & Children Transforming Savannah (ACTS), a collaborative effort with Chatham Co. Safety Net Planning Council, Savannah Chatham Co. Public School System, Gateway Community Service Board, and other community partners and volunteers.

Front Porch ACTS is a community-based program that uses improv and the performing arts to engage children and young adults by offering them a means of self-expression, cognitive flexibility, creative problem solving, conflict resolution and enhanced sense of personal agency.

The program started in the midst of the pandemic, with members of Front Porch working with the children of first responders.

The company has worked with homeless and domestic abuse shelters, along with public schools and other groups like Youth Intercept.

“Front Porch ACTS is an opportunity for us to work with the community and reach out to children that may not have access to the art,” explained Brianne Halverson, an improviser, instructor and co-founder of Front Porch Improv. 

“What’s really cool is that we teach emotional intelligence. We hang out with them, to help them learn to recognize what they’re feeling, and try to give them tools on how to handle what their emotions are.”

The program uses the Trauma Drama curriculum, an evidence-based program which is an immersive group intervention designed to integrate complex trauma intervention with youths and adolescents.

“You get to embody a character who’s being bullied and practice what you would say, or how to de-escalate a situation with a teacher who might be doing a micro-aggression,” said Halverson.

After two years the program has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the City of Savannah. That will ensure Front Porch ACTS is free for youth dealing with trauma, and who may need assistance navigating the emotions that come with bullying, abuse, neglect, racism, gender identity and learning disabilities.


     
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