Theatre 99’s community of performers, audiences and visiting artists traces its roots back to 1995. In that year, an improv group calling themselves “The Have Nots!”, performed for the first time in a church annex during (but not part of) Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
Players came and went, as this group of funny people rocked it out in various Charleston locales, and umpteen colleges and improv festivals across the country, for several years.
Five years later, The Have Nots! were eager to get off the road, get their own place, and get down. In 2000, they opened Theatre 99 (named for that many seats) and invited Charleston in for laughs and drinks a couple times a week. Programming expanded to include sketch comedy and other scripted performances.
In 2001, Theatre 99 produced its first Piccolo Fringe Festival. In 2004, it birthed The Charleston Comedy Festival. Today these annual events flood Charleston with a wave of the nation’s top talent to inspire us all.
A decade after their first performance, The Have Nots! opened the current Theatre 99 (now with 125 seats) at 280 Meeting Street. Along the way, Theatre 99 has developed into a company of about 50 all-around nice individuals, who along with visiting artists create affordable improv, sketch, and stand-up offerings three nights a week.
Theatre 99 is also an educational resource providing improv classes and workshops to anyone who wants to learn more. Improv is after all, still the heart of what we do, and that’s why we’re known as “Charleston’s Home for Improv Comedy."