Two Stages, One Mall

October 2015
Written By: 
Paul Grimshaw
Atlantic Stage joins Carolina Improv at Myrtle Beach Mall

If all the world’s a stage, then the Myrtle Beach Mall is the Grand Strand’s newest theater district.

When seven-year-old professional theater company Atlantic Stage announced in July it would be leaving its home at the former Coastal Carolina University 79th Avenue North campus, some wondered why. When Atlantic Stage announced it was building a new theater at the Myrtle Beach Mall some “snickered,” according to Mindi Penn, co-founder, company member/actor and Atlantic Stage administrator.

“Through the grace and generosity of CCU, we’d been at the 79th Avenue North location for seven years,” said Penn. “We would not have survived as long as we have had they not supported and nurtured us, but like any non rent-paying tenant, it was time for us to move on. We joke that we finally graduated from Coastal.”

The unofficial Atlantic Stage/CCU affiliations are strong between the two entities, with several Atlantic Stage company members also serving as CCU faculty, including Mindi Penn’s husband, Atlantic Stage Artistic Director Thom Penn.

“This [move] is the next step in the growth of the theater,” said Mindi Penn.

“The mall is under relatively new ownership and management, they’ve been great to work with, and we’re excited to be just across the way from Carolina Improv and the Uptown theater,” said Penn. “We’re all great friends and are really looking forward to working together with them.”

Gina Trimarco-Cligrow, founder of Carolina Improv and owner of coaching and consulting firm Gina & Company, echoes those sentiments.

“It will be great to have a new theater neighbor here. We’ve had our best season ever and are looking forward to working out reciprocal cross promotions with Atlantic Stage.”

The Atlantic Stage season begins October 1 with the acclaimed Gardner McKay play Sea Marks about an Irish fisherman who sets out off his remote island to seek love. The play runs through October 25. Both Thom and Mindi Penn will star in the two-person production.

Additionally, Atlantic Stage will present A Christmas Carol (November 27–December 20), Spinning Jenny (January 28–February 21), Two Rooms (March 24–April 17) and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (May 19–June 12).

For more information on Atlantic Stage and to purchase tickets, go to