As ATLiens, we have a lot to be proud of: our city is home of world’s busiest airport, the globe’s largest aquarium, practically every hip hop hit since 2000, the most recognizable soft drink from Caracas to Cairo, and as Creative Loafing put it, “we’re the only city easily identified by just one letter.” The A is also #blessed to have the funniest, and most undeniably awesome, theatre company on the planet in its own backyard. Founded in 1995, Dad’s Garage entertains roughly 30,000 Atlantans each year and produces innovative and original scripted productions, as well as improv shows, year-round.
In 2013, Dad’s lost their rented home of 18 years at 280 Elizabeth Street to the continuing redevelopment of the Inman Park neighborhood. In 2014-2015, they performed the majority of their shows at 7 Stages Theatre in Little 5 Points. However, in January of 2015, they purchased a perfect new home – a former Old 4th Ward church, located just off Edgewood Avenue. With a massive renovation project on their hands, the Atlanta community came together to help out Dad’s Garage. SUPPLY.com leaped at the chance to help out with plumbing and lighting for our favorite theatre company. They recently completed renovations and are now running shows at their new Ezzard Street home. I recently sat down with Dad’s Garage Marketing Director, Jon Carr, Development Director, Stephen Barwick, and SUPPLY.com Director of UX (and Dad’s Garage Musical Improvisor), Matt Hobbs, to learn more about their new home, their plans for 2016, and SUPPLY.com’s donation, courtesy of our friends at Elkay.
Dad’s New Home
When walking up to the city’s new holy house of comedic worship, you immediately notice the sheer size of the venue as well as its excellent location. “After nearly two years of exhaustive searching, our facilities task force landed on an ideal property in the Old Fourth Ward available to purchase – high ceilings, ample parking, and nearby proximity to a burgeoning mixed-use corridor that’s adjacent to the Atlanta BeltLine,” explains Barwick. “It really was perfect for what we needed, and it was just a mile from our old location.”
“The new theatre provides space for a 190-seat main stage, a rehearsal space, a green room, an expanded bar, a lobby with a small stage (for more intimate performances), a large backstage area, and offices to accommodate our staff, which expanded to 9 full time employees during our two year transition from 280 Elizabeth Street to 569 Ezzard Street,” he continues.
Dad’s new home, under construction (above & below)
“Dad’s Garage brings joy and laughter to individuals and communities in Atlanta. For us to own our own home means that Atlanta will always a place for comedy and improv theatre and a place where people can go to experience joy and laughter,” conveys Carr. “Owning our own home means that we’ll be able to expand our programming and take chances with the type of shows we produce. This means that we will be able to continue to provide innovative theatre at affordable prices for our audiences. Our new space also allows us to provide more opportunities for our artists to create original work, which helps makes Atlanta a viable place for artists to launch and sustain their artistic careers.”
Creating a Partnership
Earlier in 2015, Matt Hobbs was at a Dad’s Garage company meeting to discuss renovation plans. “There was a lot of optimism about construction beginning soon and I asked Lara Smith if there was any way SUPPLY.com could help,” he recalls. “I explained that we sell plumbing and lighting and she said, ‘What about water fountains?’ I spoke with the company’s leadership and we were able to give Dad’s a massive discount on 2 large Elkay water fountains. SUPPLY.com is excited to partner with such a longstanding member of the Atlanta arts community. We’re delighted to help them with the building of their new home and we’re stoked to have our logo on the awesome wall art by Jack Bloom (pictured below).”
As a nonprofit, Dad’s Garage relies on support from many different sources and sponsorships from businesses are essential for them to cover their costs. “SUPPLY.com and Elkay’s support were important because it meant that the money we would have spent on purchasing water fountains could then be used on other items that were required to make our new theatre operational,” voices Barwick. “This allowed us to continue to focus on what changes we needed to make in order to provide the best experience possible for our patrons.”
SUPPLY.com and Elkay’s gift being installed
Amazing wall art by ATL artist, Jack Bloom (above & below)
First Shows in the New Space
“We’re launching our new space with a whole month of Dad’s Garage & Friends: New Home Edition in January with improv performances happening Thursday through Saturdays,” says Carr. “Dad’s Garage & Friends: New Home Edition will bring some amazing performers to our stage. We’ll have special headliners for the Friday and Saturday shows. Headlining acts include:
Jan. 8-9 – Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?)
Jan. 14-16 – Mark Little
Jan. 22-23 – Matt Jones (Badger from Breaking Bad)
Jan. 28-30 – Harold of Galactus
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Whether it’s our favorite businesses in the ATL community or our BBFs (Best Brand Friends) in the plumbing industry, the relationships we build are what help us build something great. Check out more partnerships here to learn about how we team up with some of the best organizations in Atlanta and beyond!