No Shame Theater, the newest theater company in town, is thriving

No Shame Theater, the new late-night theater project at the Springer Opera House, is thriving.

No Shame began 23 years ago in the back of a pick-up in Iowa City, Iowa. Since then, branches have sprung up across the country. Columbus' No Shame began in September. In four months, No Shame has premiered more than 150 new works, displayed visual art and a burlesque group, the Fountain City Kitties (a play on the Pussycat Dolls), has started performing. There is also a new improv group and a comedy music quartet that just released its first CD.

The theater has also just received a $5,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“No Shame has been a huge success and attracted hundreds of dedicated fans, but foundation support like this is another affirmation of the positive impact we’re seeing every Friday night at No Shame performances,” said No Shame Theater director Jens Rasmussen.

The Knight Foundation funds projects that transform communities based on the foundation's values of discovery, vision, courage, know-how and tenacity — q­ualities which pervade the No Shame Theater performances.

No Shame Theater is an uncensored evening of original performances that allows anyone to explore their creative potential every Friday at the Springer. The first 15 acts to sign up at 10 p.m. get a five-minute performance slot, and the show starts at 10:30 p.m.

Admission is $5 for everyone, including performers.

“The beauty of No Shame is its simplicity and lack of censorship,” said Rasmussen. “There are only three rules — each act must be less than five minutes, must feature original material and can break no laws.”

Presentations have included original plays, improvisation, spoken-word, rap, music, stand-up comedy, monologues, dance, spoons, interpretive sign-language, poetry, rants — even a color guard routine that combined flag, sword, dance and music.

Well-known No Shame alumni include John Leguizamo (“Ice Age”), Camryn Manheim (“Ghost Whisperer”), Rebecca Gilman (“Spinning into Butter”), Naomi Wallace (“Things of Dry Hours”), Rick Cleveland (“Six Feet Under”) and the late Jonathan Larson (“Rent”).

Call 706-327-3688.