In the 1960s there were protests against the status quo happening across the country. In San Francisco, in addition to people marching in the streets to express their beliefs, we also had two “guerrilla theater” groups performing regularly. The San Francisco Mime Troupe first performed outdoors in Washington Square Park in North Beach in 1962. And The Committee opened their show in 1963 in the space that used to house the DeLuxe Bocce Ball Courts at 622 Broadway.
Here is actor, book author, screenwriter, and political activist Peter Coyote talking about the Mime Troupe for a PBS documentary:
The SF Mime Troup is still performing. Here is the history of the Mime Troupe along with their schedule of upcoming events:
The Committee was formed by a couple of alumni from the Second City improvisational comedy group in Chicago. The first performance in the City was on April 10 in the bocce ball court space that became a 300 seat cabaret-style theater. The group hoped they could play through the summer of 1963. Their improvisational performances ran for years. Here is a clip from the Dick Cavett Show on July 18, 1969 that shows The Committee joined by rock star Janis Joplin. Does anyone recognize Don Sturdy? He was a founding member of The Committee. Using his real name, Howard Hessman, he went on to star in many television comedies and film roles.
A group of admirers think The Committee deserves to be honored for their contributions to improvisational theater. Here is a trailer for a documentary film that is in production:
Film producer Jamie Wright told me that a Kickstarter Campaign has provided the initial funding for the project. Interviews with former members of the group, and people who were influenced by The Committee, will be recorded this year. We can look for updates by the next SF Improv Fest scheduled for September – http://sfimprovfestival.com/about/