The Den Theatre announced its expansion into a new street-level theater space, set to open in late summer, as the new resident home of The Hypocrites.
The fully adaptable, 6,000 square foot space will feature seating for up to 200 patrons, a bar and other amenities in Chicago’s popular Wicker Park neighborhood. Anchored by The Hypocrites’ full season, programming will also include an annual Den Theatre production and availability for other companies.
The new theatre will open at 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave., directly below the Den’s existing five performance spaces at 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Future plans include marquee signage, valet parking, a nearby parking lot and elevators to the 2nd and 3rd floors making the entire building accessible to people with disabilities. The space is made possible through the generous support of Michael and Mona Heath.
“This new mainstage space allows us to bring The Den Theatre’s storefront aesthetic to a much larger audience while maintaining its intimacy, versatility, and creativity,” said Artistic Director Ryan Martin. “Thanks to almost miraculous timing, the perfect space and the perfect partners came together. Megan Wildebour of The Hypocrites and I began talking about a venue that could accommodate their growth and creative needs.”
The Den Theatre provides a creative gathering place, an actors’ and artists’ den, a comfortable and affordable home to create and explore, and home to a young storefront company that shares the name. In addition to The Den Theatre Ensemble, theatre and dance companies from Chicago and beyond have also called The Den home, utilizing its theatres, studio space and easily convertible cabaret space to accommodate a stream of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, classical and jazz performances, dance, improv and stand-up, seminars and speaking engagements.
Founding Artistic Director Sean Graney created The Hypocrites in 1997. It is currently run by Artistic Director Halena Kays and Managing Director Wildebour. The Hypocrites are recognized as groundbreakers that defy the audience’s expectations. The company has grown significantly in the past few years, receiving acclaim for productions at the Steppenwolf Garage, Goodman Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art, Mercury Theater, DCASE Storefront and Chopin Theater. The company’s smash-hit production of Our Town, directed by David Cromer, transferred in 2009 to Off-Broadway, Los Angeles and Boston. The Pirates of Penzance has appeared at Actors Theater of Louisville and American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.). A.R.T. has also brought Romeo Juliet, 12 Nights and The Mikado (forthcoming). The American Theatre Wing, best known as the creator of the Tony Awards, presented The Hypocrites with one of their 2013 National Theatre Company awards.