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Annoyance Theatre Moves to Belmont
Apr 24, 2013

Annoyance TheatreThe Annoyance Theatre, home of Chicago's longest running musical "Co-ed Prison Sluts" as well as 25 years of other original hit shows, has announced plans to move. The theatre will leave its current location on North Broadway in Uptown, for a new home at 851 W. Belmont, in the Lakeview neighborhood. The Annoyance's build-out is expected to begin in July of this year, with the final move-in date estimated as November of 2013. The deal is a 10-year lease with option to renew. The building itself was previously owned by the family of Iva Toguri, aka "Tokyo Rose." Toguri was convicted of treason in 1949, but later pardoned by President Ford.

Jennifer Estlin, the theatre's owner and executive producer said the 13,000-square-feet of new space, with easy access to the CTA Red and Brown lines, will enable the ambitious company to fulfill several long-standing goals.

"Currently, we house the theatre in one space and classrooms down the block. On Belmont, we'll be able to include all in one home, which will be a great benefit for the hundreds of enrolled improv students," she said.

"This larger capacity will allow us to have two stages, where we can put up more shows and include different types of programming. It will provide the space for us to allow more people to develop and perform work that reflects their own voice in originally created material."

Importantly, like the Uptown space, the new location will contain a bar, which Estlin says "becomes a great energetic hub. Students, actors, and audience members mingle and it buzzes with fun and laughter."

In the years since the Annoyance was at its first location just a block and a half away on Wilton, in 1987, the theatre company has had several north side homes. Its current address at 4830 N. Broadway is its seventh.

"The energy and vitality of that neighborhood is perfect for us, and we're thrilled to have found a space there big enough for everything we need." Estlin said. She and Mick Napier, the theatre's founder and creative director, reviewed nearly 50 properties over two years before settling on the Lakeview site.

"We also believe the central location will help us reach more of the downtown and corporate community, as well as suburbanites."

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