On New Year’s Eve, a church on Ezzard Street hosted a service like never before as improv performers from Dad’s Garage graced the stage at the former worship hall, now the permanent home of the 20-year-old theater company.
After losing its original venue to the Inman Quarter development in 2013, Dad’s performances shifted to 7 Stages up the road, the set-building shop went off-site, and improv classes migrated to a nearby church. The new space, which Dad’s bought after raising $169,000 through Kickstarter, marks the first time that the company has owned its own theater. Artistic director Kevin Gillese says the purchase “allows us to be creative, innovative, experimental. It gives us room to fail, and if you have no room to fail, it’s really hard to grow.”
The church boasts 12,000 square feet—3,200 more than the company’s original venue, enough room for a lobby with a full bar and on-site parking. Most importantly, it allows Dad’s to return to its full performance schedule of six shows per weekend, compared with three at the shared 7 Stages.
Recently Dad’s has also extended its comedic reach online via podcasts and web series, including Hart of America, featuring Archer’s Amber Nash. “We really want to be nationally recognized,” says Gillese. “People talk about Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade, and we want them to talk about Dad’s in the same breath.”
This article originally appeared in our January 2015 issue under the headline “Divine Comedy.”