Show me the Funny

The New Movement theater company is expanding beyond performance as they begin doing team building workshops for local New Orleans businesses.

Everyone knows that the workplace can often be a stressful environment. Not only are employees working to accomplish difficult goals, or meet tough deadlines, but differing personalities in the workplace can cause conflict.

A business may look to team building exercises to help their workers become happier, healthier and more productive people, and The New Movement theater company is providing a new twist for New Orleans businesses, by combining traditional corporate training with improv comedy.

The members of The New Movement have been producing comedy since 2001, performing improv since 2003, and teaching improv and sketch comedy since 2006. In other words, they know a thing or two about getting along and thriving in a large group setting. 

“Our workshops are fun, first and foremost,” says Tami Nelson, co-founder of The New Movement. “We create a playful learning environment where we are able to tackle listening and collaboration issues through a language that makes them easy to understand. We usually have one or two big workshops monthly at both our locations in Austin and New Orleans.”

The Business Workshop Series is customized for every business that participates, ensuring that each client will get the best experience possible. Nelson and her team promise that each group will perform exercises that will help enhance, what they call “group mind,” trust and cooperation. They pride themselves on developing solutions to common issues present in the workplace and helping each business set attainable goals.  

“Team building is a natural byproduct of improv,” Nelson says, “A lot of improv theaters teach team building workshops and once we established ourselves as a conservatory, we were excited to explore our version of corporate training.”

Nelson says that adults don’t always allow time to get lost in playfulness and often forget how to listen, and how to be listenable. Improv is based on saying yes to an idea and building on top of it. Idea building in a work setting engages others to participate in a positive way and solutions are generally discovered faster. This is the very reason why Nelson and her colleagues are so excited about the work they are doing. It has so many applications in every day life.

As for their business, Nelson says they’re happy that their company breaks down some gender stereotypes and affords them creative flexibility.

“We have a variegated community of which we are very proud,” Nelson says. “People often remark about how they are surprised by the range of performers and patrons of The New Movement and how we have broken the norm of middle-aged men running a comedy theater. Currently we have far more women enrolled in classes than men. That is not by design, it's just the current trend.”

As for how The New Movement chose their 4,000 square-foot New Orleans location, they followed another current trend.

“We wanted to be a part of the developing Arts District in the St. Claude corridor,” Nelson says. “We were thrilled to find a location that fits our needs for a black box theater, classrooms, offices and a small patio bar.”

While not all startup theater companies succeed, Nelson and her team have managed to turn their creative aspirations into a profitable business.

“TNM is constantly growing and evolving and we all hustle to keep up with the needs of the community,” she says. “It's a good problem to have. Somehow, with no investors and limited access to loans, we've managed to turn all of that creative energy into a profitable business. We have multiple locations, over a dozen employees, and shows, classes and festivals happening seven days a week. We've got to keep innovating and setting our products and services apart from others, which is a challenge that we love tackling.”


Learn more about Business Workshops at





Categories: Start up Successes