SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Front Porch Improv has made scores of people laugh in venues all over Savannah and helped budding comedians tap into their inner funny for the past four years.
The comedy group, started by New Yorkers who migrated to Savannah, considers themselves “Savannah’s home for comedy” — but the funny thing is, the group doesn’t exactly have a local place to call a home of their own.
But they’re working on that.
“The irony is not lost on us that we call ourselves the home for comedy, and we do not have a physical home,” said Brianne Halverson, an improviser and Front Porch Improv’s co-artistic director.
The group, she told News 3, has probably performed in every park in Savannah at this point.
They’ve also bounced around between venues including Ghost Coast Distillery and Bull Street Tacos.
“[Our locations are] not consistent, and that’s been really hard for us,” Halverson said. “Not only the time it takes but also for our audiences to know where we are each week.”
The lack of a permanent performance venue has not prevented the group from building a tight-knit local community, Halverson told News 3.
“We have 25 performers who are on stage every week, we’ve had 80 students at least this year,” she said.
“We do really have a community and we do consider ourselves a family, but we do need a physical home, so that’s the next step, for sure.”
If everyone just donates a dollar or two, it’s going to make a huge difference.”Brianne Halverson, Co-Artistic Director, Front Porch Improv
That’s why Front Porch Improv has started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help raise money that will go toward their permanent venue.
“Currently, we have no theatre and we move from spot to spot, performing at any place we can find,” the group explains on their Indiegogo crowdfunding page.
“While that sounds fun, we spend a huge chunk of our energy and time lugging equipment, setting up and taking down things like our stages, lights, sound equipment, curtain, seats, etc.,” they added.
Their fundraising goal is $50,000, and they feel confident that they can reach it. So far, they’ve raised over $25,600 with four days left in the campaign.
Front Porch Improv has already found a 3,000-square-foot venue in the Starland District that they’re hoping to make their new home.
“We’re renting a space on Victory Drive, and the landlord has been incredibly generous,” Halverson said. “She is giving us rent at a ridiculous rate because she believes in community, and she wants the Starland District to have a theater, so that’s been amazing.”
As of now, the potential comedy venue remains a blank slate — a large room in need of walls, bathrooms and a stage, among other additions.
They’re also hoping to add classroom and workshop space, as well as a lounge and bar area.
“[All] that costs money, especially the plumbing, electrical and HVAC,” Halverson said. “Oh my goodness, HVACs are expensive!”
The money raised, Halverson told News 3, will go toward covering all of those expenses.
The group is also aware of the disappointing possibility that they might not reach their goal.
“We know we will because if everyone just donates a dollar or two, it’s going to make a huge difference,” Halverson said, adding that supporting Savannah’s local arts “means a lot.”
“It’s a risk you take, especially with starting something new,” Halverson said.
“But we believe in ourselves. and we’ve had a great track record these last few years of growth, and we know we can do this,” she said.
To view the Front Porch Improv crowdfunding campaign page, click here.