Last night, Positively Funny and the Birmingham Improv Theatre launched their “new normal” – performing live shows to a virtual audience.
The theatre’s improvisational comedy troupe each performed from their own homes in a new show “Twitching for Laugh.” Viewers tuned in to the performance via the new BIT Twitch channel.
Shortly after celebrating its one year anniversary, the theatre had to shut down performance operations due to the Jefferson County Department of Public Health’s March 22 mandate for the closure of all non-essential businesses, as well as the city of Birmingham’s “shelter in place” mandate.
“When the theatre shut down due to the pandemic, our team immediately became doing what we do best – create,” Chief Creative Officer David Grissom said, in a released statement. “We began looking for new approaches to delivering our services – entertainment and education – to our audiences.”
Fans of the theatre began reaching out to BIT within a week of the closure, he said, asking for the theatre to find a way to continue to keep them laughing.
“Troupe members are meeting online to practice games for the show,” Grissom said. “Cast members have to get used to playing off of each other from miles apart rather than on the BIT’s 8 x 14 foot stage. The physicality of improv must be adjusted to what can occur sitting in front of a computer.”
Through the live streaming platform Twitch, audiences will be able to interact with the cast through a commenting feature. Viewers will be able to submit suggestions in real time.
“Through this horrific pandemic, there are only new opportunities for Positively Funny Improv and the Birmingham Improv Theatre,” Grissom said. “The new reality, streaming live shows, allows the Improv troupe who has performed weekly shows for over 10 years in the Birmingham market to expand their presence not only across the United States, but also globally. “
The shows are free to view, and there is also an opportunity to make donations to help fund theatre operations.
Viewing is free though there are a variety of methods for the virtual audiences to make donations to help fund the operating costs of the theatre while traditional revenue has ground to a halt.
To view upcoming shows, visit twitch.tv/bhamimprov.
For more information, contact PFI Solutions at 205-202-6896.
– Emily Williams