After more than two years of searching, Comedy Arts Theater of Charlotte has finally settled into a permanent home on South Boulevard. The new CATCh location provides a dedicated space for actors, comedians and improv performers in Charlotte to hone their skills, attend workshops, make audition tapes and receive coaching.
To celebrate the move, CATCh partnered with seven theater groups from around Charlotte for a slate of weekend performances on Feb. 8 and 9 at the new location, 4200 South Blvd. Improv Charlotte, Charlotte Storytellers, Soggy Naan and Now are the Foxes are among those on the lineup for the weekend.
Kevin Shimko and Carey Head started CATCh in 2016 when they met at Charlotte Comedy Theater.
“We were just talking about different styles of improv that we liked, the more theatrical side, not focusing so much on the laugh or the joke,” Shimko recalled, “just trying to do more narrative-based, theater-style improv.”
The duo wanted to be able to schedule classes and workshops on their own timetable. Being beholden to the schedule of breweries and other spaces around town made creating a curriculum more difficult. But now that will no longer be a problem.
“We’ll be able to put on show after show after show as often as we want. We don’t have to worry about having a certain number of people if we want to rent a space,” Head explained. “We’re excited for the opportunity to be like, ‘We control our schedule.’”
Head and Shimko hope the addition of a dedicated CATCh space with the city hold on to the talent that’s cultivated here.
Head expressed his frustration with the fact that so often a creative person who learned their art in Charlotte then moves on in search of better opportunities in cities such as New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles.
“We’re not going to be L.A., ever, but we can be a home for people who wanted to grow,” Head said.
Starting with improv as a base, Head explained, the program will build on sketch classes, acting classes and connect people with filmmakers in the city.
“[We want] to give people opportunities wherever they want to go with their creativity to be able to branch them out into all those different areas of storytelling,” he added.
The ultimate goal for Head and Shimko, past selling out shows at their new theater, is to make the southeast stand out in comedy, improv and theater. Instead of talent moving to bigger cities, they will be more likely to stay here to continue performing in Charlotte.
With a permanent home for CATCh established in the growing South Boulevard area, keeping creative talent here is no longer a lofty goal for Shimko and Head.