This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
Bring the Healing Power of Improv to Dallas
Bring the Healing Power of Improv to Dallas
Build a nonprofit comedy theater that will enrich Dallas with professional shows, training, and classes for those with special needs.
Build a nonprofit comedy theater that will enrich Dallas with professional shows, training, and classes for those with special needs. Read more
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
WHO WE ARE
- 13 Creative Brains
- 6 Business Brains
- 1 Therapist Brain
- 100 yrs of Comedy Experience
We are a team of veteran actors, improvisers, and comedians (and don't forget the Licensed Therapist) in Dallas, TX lead by an experienced Board of Directors. We have trained all over the country at Second City Chicago, iO Chicago, Steppenwolf Theater, Groundlings, Annoyance Theater, and many more. We have experience onstage and in film, TV, commercials, writing, and beyond. Read all about us, our 100+ years of experience, and what makes us each a special snowflake here.
WHAT WE'RE ALREADY DOING
We are already teaching comedy classes and performing shows all over the metroplex and holding outreach events, including a FREE monthly all-female-identifying jam and FREE monthly story time for toddlers.
But perhaps our most important work has been providing FREE specialized classes through our Improv for Life Program, including a 7-week Improv 101 class at Nonpareil Institute, a school for adults with autism. We are also teaching classes to Caregivers of those with Alzheimer's and dementia in our community to help them care for their loved one better by using the tenets of improvisation.
Pics or it didn't happen, you say? Alright.
WHAT MAKES US SPECIAL
- Our nonprofit status and ideals
- Our Improv for Life Program
- A focus on diversity and outreach
- New, different comedy training and shows
We're a comedy theater and training center and a nonprofit, which is actually kind of unusual. We are following the lead of nonprofit comedy theaters like ImprovBoston and Arcade Comedy Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. They've shown us that comedy can be good and do good.
Improv comedy changes your life. It is known to be therapeutic. Now there is real, actual research that shows the mental health benefits of improv (we include links at the end). So working with our in-house Licensed Therapist we've created innovative training we call our Improv for Life that uses improv training to improve the lives of those in the community with unique needs like autism, anxiety, brain injuries, Alzheimer's & dementia, and more.
Dallas is an extremely diverse city and we want the comedy community to reflect and celebrate that diversity. But that takes a concerted effort; more than just Diversity Scholarships (though these are great and we will offer them). We need more. We need outreach and recruitment. That is why we employ an in-house Diversity Director, whose focus is to create and implement programs and systems to foster and ensure diversity at Stomping Ground and beyond.
We also employ a Women's Advocate to ensure we are welcoming, celebrating, and protecting all of the women in our community. We have also created classes and programming specifically geared towards the LGBTQIA community.
You can read more about our commitment to diversity, community, and collaboration here.
WHAT WE WANT TO DO
DFW is the 4th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. but doesn't have a single nonprofit theater dedicated entirely to comedy. The current comedy community in Dallas is thriving, and we want to give it a new space to learn, grow, and laugh.
Having our own theater would allow us to host events, workshops, and classes for our Improv for Life program and expand our training to include more unique populations that could benefit from improv. We would also like to expand our existing programs to include extended 8 week programs; that requires a space of our own.
We also want to house a robust children's education program with preschool aged story time, afterschool classes, camps, and shows.
We talked about our commitment to diversity, women, and the LGBTQIA community above, but that's just scratching the surface. Our wishlist of groups we want to reach is never-ending and includes parents, retirees, veterans, and beyond. We think everyone's life can be enriched with comedy.
WHY WE NEED YOU
We've been busting our butts fundraising to fund our theater and programs. We've raised enough money to get started, but we need your help. We have a perfect space picked out in the Design District and we need more funds to build it out.
Your generosity would help us fund the following:
- Build out of our lobby, greenroom, and classroom
- Seating and a stage for our 75-seat theater
- A PA system, soundboard, mixer, and keyboard
- Theatrical lighting, dimmer, and control board
- Projector & Screen
- Insurance, fees, misc. inspection costs
This is the design of our awesome space right in the heart of the Design District!
- $35,000- We can cover all of our permits, licensing, and fees
- $40,000- We will fully furnish our lobby, green room, classroom, and offices
- $45,000- We will put this towards a small beer & wine bar
- $50,000- We can apply for grants and provide more outreach to under-served areas
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT US
Theater Jones: Grounds for Laughter
Central Track: New Dallas Comedy Theater Looks to Heal with Laughs
"The Goldapps are two of the most committed, creative, kind, confident and risk-taking improvisers I know. They have the ambition, intellect and heart to move mountains--especially exquisitely imagined improv mountains. Whatever these two put their minds to, they accomplish...and all for the benefit of their performers, students and audiences."
Mike Descoteaux, Artistic Director ImprovBoston
"Chad Cline and Jim Kuenzer are by far the best improv instructors in Dallas. I️ took my first class with them in 1999 and I️ credit that training as the pivotal point in my acting career that changed everything and led to appearances on Two and a Half Men, Gilmore Girls, Criminal Minds...I️ won’t list my entire resume here but Chad and Jim are the reason I have one!"
Kelley West, Actress (Gilmore Girls, Two and a Half Men)
"Lindsay and Cameron Goldapp are a force in improvisation, comedy, and theatre. Every experience I had working with them leaves my heart full and excited for the next show or class. Really looking forward to seeing more of the wonderful work at Stomping Ground Comedy and you should be too! These people are legit. You will Learn more, You Will Laugh often, and You will love abundantly in the wonderful community they have built."
Jeff Quintana, Producer Gainesville Improv Festival/Owner Jeff Quintana Performing Arts
"As a theatrical professional with twenty years of experience, an alumni of The Second City Directing Program, and a former Adjunct Faculty member in the Comedy Writing and Performance major at Columbia College Chicago, I’m hard-pressed to find anything that isn’t overwhelmingly positive Stomping Ground Comedy. If my work had brought me to Dallas, there’s no doubt my first choice of theater to work with, see shows at, or to take workshops at would be at Stomping Ground. Quality instruction and management is key in theater, and they exude that level of professionalism with tact and grace."
Keith Horvath, House Manager Coldtowne Theater Austin TX
"Stomping Ground's Improv for Life program is innovative in a way that will set the bar for applied improv programs across the country."
Tina Jaxling, Owner Bexar Stage San Antonio TX
"Chad Cline is an excellent teacher! He is everything you want in an instructor, he is talented, kind, smart, caring, funny, patient, and extremely knowledgeable. He is an accomplished performer with amazing insight, I loved every minute of his classes and would highly recommend them to both the beginning improviser and also as a refresher to the more seasoned performer."
Linda Stogner, Comedian/Owner Backdoor Comedy Club Dallas TX
“Chad Cline is Dallas’s improv guru, who is able to bring out the best in his students while proving a safe environment for everyone. If it were not for Chad I never would’ve discovered who I was on stage."
Jamey Whitley, Founder Card 53 Comedy/East Texas Comedy Festival
"When it comes comedy training @Chad Cline is a champion. Whether it is improv or sketch comedy he has done it all performing in countless shows and learning every technique he can. Making him a Jedi master of comedy. If you are wanting to learn Chad can give you the skills you need, and he is your father!!!"
Phillip Wilburn, Actor (Conan, How I Met Your Mother)
"The Goldapps have been amazing mentors and they bridged the gap between stand-up and improv for me. Where I once would have never considered trying improv, they have such a love and fervor for the form that they inspired me to try my hand at it. I would say that being friends with Lindsay and Cameron Goldapp and always keeping an open mind for what they have to share with me continues to make me a better performer."
Dalton Pruitt, Stand Up Comedian Dallas TX
"Chad is one of the Best Improv Teachers and Professional Actors in The business. He is the best teacher for newcomers to improv/acting because he always makes you feel comfortable in class and helps you open your mind to the possibilities of a scene. After my improv classes, I was booking 80-90% of my auditions. Clients and directors like versatile performers and improv actors Know how to quickly change of scene or a character of something isn’t working. I attribute this to all of the training from Chad throughout the years."
Amy Jo Munn, Actress
"Lindsay Goldapp is one of the funniest, most-creative individuals I know. She is wonderful at sharing the joy she feels as a performer with whomever she interacts, whether students or audience members. I had occasion to work closely with her on a project in Chicago for many months, and I look forward to the time when I can share a stage with her again!
Darren Stephens, Actor/Voice Actor
"Cameron Goldapp has the highest Improv IQ I've ever seen. Listening to him dissect scenes and show everyone why certain things do and don't work is super helpful. He has the patience of a preschool teacher with the knowledge of a college professor."
Hunter West, Improviser
OUR BIG FINISH
If you love this project or mission, please donate. The smallest amount helps. If everyone gives a little then no one has to give a lot.
Think about it: if every person in the U.S. gave $5, we would have almost 1.6 billion dollars. It's called MATH, people! (and we outsource it because it's hard thankyouverymuch.)
If nothing else, it's helpful if you share this project on social media or email so we can reach everyone who loves laughter and community. And while you're at it, tag us on social media or follow us. You can see what we've been doing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Here is a handy-dandy guide for how to make a donation if you're having trouble:
Now for some legal jargon! Here are a couple of disclosures we have to give for legal purposes:
*Stomping Ground Comedy Theater & Training Center is a Texas non-profit organization incorporated on May 3, 2017 and operating under the rules of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our application for recognition as an exempt organization is pending with the Internal Revenue Service. Donations made during this period will still qualify for tax-deductible status upon the allowance of our exemption.
*The amount of your donation receipt may vary from your actual donation due to goods and services given per the "rewards".
Thank you so much. We can't wait to bring the healing power of improv to Dallas!
The Stomping Ground Team
FURTHER READING ABOUT IMPROV AND MENTAL HEALTH
American Medical Association: How Improv Is Helping Patients with Alzheimer's disease
The Atlantic: Using Comedy Improv as Therapy for Anxiety
Frontiers in Pyschology: Working Without A Net: Improvisational Theater and Enhanced Well Being
US News and World Report: The Health Benefits of Practicing Improv
Washington Post: The Not-So-Funny Reason Therapists are Taking Comedy Classes
Illinois Institute of Technology: Thera-prov: a Pilot Study of Improv Used to Treat Anxiety and Depression
Risks and challenges
We already have a flourishing community taking our classes and attending our shows. We even have a lease in hand for our space where we will be able to build our theater and classrooms. We only have one challenge: funding!
We have been able to get to this point through private fundraising efforts, but in order to build out our theater and training center we are asking for your help.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter