“An upstart theater company is bringing a performing arts space to Andersonville hoping to spark a revival in the city’s play scene following the pandemic.
“Bramble Theatre Company is working to open the Bramble Arts Loft at 5545 N. Clark St. The second-floor of a historic auto garage will hold a 101-seat theater plus a 50-seat moveable ‘black box’ space.
“Work on the venue is ongoing, with its debut planned for early next year, Bramble co-founders Matthew Lunt and Karissa Murrell Myers said.
“The space, however, is already being used for rehearsals as the city’s battered theater industry continues to ramp up following the coronavirus pandemic. Bramble is hoping its theater will contribute to the industry’s revitalization.
“‘We lost so many theater spaces during the pandemic,’ Murrell Myers said. ‘This space is not just for us. Our hope is this becomes a theater hub.’
“Bramble formed in 2019, when a group of students at The School at Steppenwolf decided to start an ensemble.
“One issue since the reemergence of live theater is the loss of performing arts spaces, Bramble’s co-founders said. For example: Lakeview’s Stage 773 no longer rents out space to companies following a new business model and and Playground Theater has lost its longtime Lakeview home.
“‘If you want to find a place to rent right now, it’s nearly impossible,’ said Murrell Myers. Bramble’s artistic director as well as co-founder.
“Renting a theater space can account for half the cost of a production, Lunt said. Having their own theater can help Bramble control costs while providing space for other companies.
“Bramble’s leadership team began looking for a theater space and was steered to the Capital Garage building at 5455 N. Clark St.
“The second floor of the circa 1920s auto garage was recently the home of Metropolis Coffee Company’s roastery (which has since moved to Avondale). The area has been renovated, with its bow truss roof restored, and would make a great space for a venue, Lunt said.
“The building has a capacity of about 300, he said. It will host a stage with 101 seats plus a 50-seat ‘black box’ stage that can be modulated to host comedy, spoken word and music. (Ward, Block Club Chicago, 6/7/22)
Bramble Theatre Company’s New Performing Arts Space In Andersonville Aims To Help Revive A Struggling Industry; Bramble Theatre Co. formed right before the pandemic changed everything for performing arts. With the new Bramble Arts Loft, the company is hoping to create a renaissance for local theater, Joe Ward, Block Club Chicago, 6/7/22