The Garage Theatre - Long Beach Magazine
This is a profile on The Garage Theatre I wrote for Long Beach Magazine. The text is below the photo.
As you head east on 7th, keep your eyes open as you cross Long Beach Blvd. On the right hand side of the street, when you see a sign that reads “The Garage Theatre” you’ve found the home of dedicated group of young theater artists looking to provide a brand of intimate theater that affects their audience instead of merely comforting them with the same Neil Simon play they’ve seen dozens of times already.
What would evolve into The Garage Theatre began simply enough as a two-night run of an original play back in 1996.
The location? You guessed it. Someone’s garage.
“It was just a silly play,” says Eric Hamme, artistic director of The Garage Theatre. “It was a lot of fun. That stuck in our head and when we transferred to Long Beach [State University], it was always there that we wanted to start a theater company, so we thought of ‘The Garage Theatre,’ because that’s where we really started.”
Many of the people involved in The Garage Theatre are graduates of Cal. St. Long Beach and wanted to build a company here in Long Beach instead making the trek that many do into Los Angeles.
“We liked it here,” Hamme says. “We thought it was a good place for us and a good place for the kind of theater that we liked. It wasn’t being done here. There was more of a market here.”
Their journey has taken the budding theater company from initially a church, where they were kicked out, to some underground club owners who ran a club that well, let’s just say the space wasn’t exactly on the legal side of operations.
“[It’s] a health food store now,” Hamme says.
Their first show at the location, “Scenes from The New World” by Eric Bogosian, went off without any problems. But alas, the honeymoon didn’t last long as the space was shut down by the city midway into the run of their second production.
Eventually, they found a permanent home (251 E. 7th St.), where they can focus on the type of theater they want to do: challenging, affordable, in your face, thought-provoking theater. Just the way it’s supposed to be done.