With twenty seven days left on the Kickstarter, and at the moment more than $5,000 over the $8,000 goal, Clayton Weller’s Pocket Theater is going to happen. Weller is a sketch performer with the group Ubiquitous They, the Artistic Director of Seattle’s Sketchfest, Co-Founder of Freak’n Genius, and with a big show of support from the community, now the owner of the Pocket Theater.
Weller saw a mandate for a
low risk risk free theater for sketch and comedy in Seattle. â€œThe people I know are artists and comedians,â€ he said. â€œI was chatting with them, and talking to them about their art, and what their problems were. The thing that kept coming up was having a place to perform, the cost of rehearsal places.â€ The Pocket Theater aims to be both. It will be small, but there will be discrete performance and rehearsal spaces, soundproofing, a bar, all the important parts in miniature. Click here to view the video.
â€œThe premise behind the theater,” said Weller, “is that no one should ever have to pay to perform, ever. So what I’m going to do is it’s going to be a twenty to thirty seat theater. Intentionally small, so if a group comes in and they sell ten tickets, that’s still a success. I take all the up-front risk, and they don’t have to pay to perform.â€
The model works like this: the Pocket Theater takes the sales for X number of the first ticket sales, and the additional seats beyond that go to the artist. Bar sales will be important, but comedy audiences do tend to get in their cups.
Weller aims to offer groups the potential for long runs. Drawing from his experience putting on shows with Ubiquitous They, Weller sees what’s to come as something unique among seattle performance spaces.
â€œUT had to work for five years to get to the point where we could do a three week run at a very atypical space. That’s five years of very consistent motivated work. For someone starting out, it’s hard enough to find a space for one night, let alone multiple shows,â€ he said. Â Longer runs garner more attention from the press, to say nothing of the creative benefits that come from a well-practiced show.
As for where this mushroom will sprout up this October, the contending neighborhoods are Ballard, Queen Anne, and Fremont. To some degree the space will be determined by the success of the Kickstarter. Weller is investing his own capital into the venue, but it seems that the Seattle community is in favor of what he is proposing. The First day of the fundraising saw eight thousand-dollar hours. Check in in 27 days to see how much is ready to be invested. ** Seattle’s comedy community has many generous patrons. Several of the highest donation tiers are sold out on the Kickstarter, but it’s far from too late to get in on many of the prize packages.
There are rumors that PT will have long term backing coming soon from larger associations and concerns (but nothing that would hold up in court.) Suffice it to say, balls are rolling, chess pieces are moving, and other analogies. This is worthy of your support, and future patronage. Congratulations Seattle, cool shows await!
** Neighborhoods vying for the Pocket Theater, and persons interested should contact PT @[email protected]