Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Rountree.
Amanda, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was very fortunate in that I discovered what I what I loved at a very early age. I took an improv class just before going into high school and fell in love with both improv and theatre right then. I started performing with an improv troupe when I was 17. I was underage, performing in comedy clubs and bars. It didn’t seem weird or surreal to me at the time, but looking back, I can’t believe it happened that way. I’m grateful that my parents were cool with it! They’ve always been very supportive.
I’ve been performing improvisational theatre now for over 25 years and teaching/directing for 20 years. I’ve explored (and love) lots of different types of theatre: puppetry, storytelling, dadaist theatre, drama therapy, and straight-up scripted theatre. But improvisational theatre has been a constant through-line in all of my work.
I’ve lived/worked in several cities. I’ve been so lucky to have connected with great groups and people along the way. I’ve toured Europe with Unexpected Productions when I lived in Seattle and taught at the Second City as a faculty member when I lived in Chicago.
All of the various cities, theaters, ensembles, and people throughout my journey have helped create my own style and I’m excited to bring that to Atlanta.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I feel like I’ve been quite lucky, actually. Probably nearly every actor has had those times in life where they’re living paycheck to paycheck. I definitely have been there. It’s easy for me to sit where I am now and say it wasn’t that difficult, but I remember there were times when I was pretty scared and stressed out.
I’ve had a ton of different jobs over the years, all in an effort to support following my dream of one day supporting myself through my art. Long before getting to that point, I worked in stores and warehouses; I bussed tables and cleaned houses. I always had a support system though, of friends and family. That makes a huge difference.
I’ve met some of the kindest and most creative people. Unfortunately, I’ve also learned the hard way that not everyone has good intentions. And I’ve been burned. But I just try to stay focused on my goal, which in the simplest terms, is to create good art. That’s what matters.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I perform, teach, and direct shows (primarily improvisational theatre) in and around Atlanta.
I love collaborating with other artists. “Amanda Rountree and Friends” is made up of a rotating and ever-expanding group of talented folks I enjoy working with. The “Friends” are often students who have come up through my classes or performers that I connect with after seeing them in a show. I put up shows in all kinds of styles and such, but the primary focus is improvised theatre.
Improv often has the reputation of being strictly short, fast, and funny. It’s one of the few art forms that is pigeonholed into being only one style. But we don’t do that with other art forms. “Jazz? Oh, yeah. It’s always short, fast, and funny.” Improv can definitely be that, but it can also be so much more. I love to make audiences laugh. But why stop there? We can also make them feel other emotions.
Upcoming shows include the improvised show, “Found Objects” in Hapeville on March 9th and 10th, where we explore the true (and sometimes embarrassing lives) of the actors. I also perform in and direct “The Unscripted Shakespeare Ensemble.” We improvise an entire play in the style of William Shakespeare. His birthday is coming up in April. To celebrate, we’ve got at the show on April 21st.
The classes and workshops I teach are varied as well. I offer classes for non-performers who are just looking for something fun and different to do, classes for master improvisers/actors who continue to work on their craft after decades of being in the biz, and classes for students who are all points in between.
I also teach private sessions–anything from leading fun improv games at a child’s (or grownup’s) birthday party to facilitating large-scale corporate events using improv or storytelling as a tool for team building, brainstorming, problem-solving, and so on.
What were you like growing up?
I am the stereotypical youngest child who found my comedic skills at an early age just to get attention. I didn’t quite fit in with others when I was younger until I found the theatre. Then, I found other “weirdos” like me and fit in just fine. In other words, I was that kid who had a rutabaga as a pet.
- Most of my shows are $10 online and $15 at the door amandarountree.com/shows
- Most 8-week classes are $195 with special online rates amandarountree.com/classes
- Website: amandarountree.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/amanda_rountree
- Facebook: facebook.com/amandarountreeimprov
- Twitter: twitter.com/amandarountree1