Since mid-February, the Siren Theater has been quietly teaching stand-up and improv classes at their new location of 3913 N Mississippi. It's right next door to Sunlan Lighting Inc, which—with its ever changing window displays—feels like a dream fit, in terms of what you want to look at while waiting in line for a show.
Up until the end of January, the small, comedy-focused venue lived in Old Town Chinatown, on Northwest Davis. However, following the struggles of the pandemic, owner and artistic director Shelley McLendon felt like the theater needed a change. Though the reason for that seems obvious—Old Town—McLendon told the Mercury that the move was also brought on by more mundane logic: the state of their 113-year-old building and a desire to maintain a smaller space.
"I wasn't looking to move." McLendon said. "I loved that building in Old Town. But it was pretty big, and after the pandemic, I realized we didn't need the square footage."
Until 2019, Kickstand Comedy rented the second floor of the Old Town location. After they moved out, McLendon worked to renovate it into a second, smaller venue. It had just begun to see use when pandemic shutdown arrived.
The new Siren has a similar floor space to the old, and a mezzanine above, which holds the sound and lighting. "It's a very malleable space," McLendon said. "We're going to be able to tailor it to the show. It could look different every time people come in."
Since March, the Siren has been holding small shows for crowds of 60—for instance, this weekend they're hosting stand-up Jessica Michelle Singleton and queer comedy showcase Lez Stand Up.
On Friday, McLendon told the Mercury the building's assembly occupancy had finally been set at 120 people. With that number established, the Siren announced a grand opening celebration on April 22. Their first big opening show is, appropriately enough, the Aces: a two-person troupe of McLendon and Michael Fetters, and their assistant Marshall Bradley.
For the Aces, McLendon and Fetters write scripts that combine original sketches around ideas like swingers parties, the state fair, or haunted west boom towns. The theme for this iteration hasn't been announced, but it will be the Ace's eleventh show. It will play Fridays and Saturdays, from April 22-May 13.
McLendon said fans of Roadhouse the Play can expect a revival soon. The summer's Sketch Comedy Fest is already slated for July 20-22.
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