Pointless Brewery & Theatre will be Ann Arbor’s home for improvisational theatre and experimental ales.
We will bring Ann Arbor a style of theatre that it is currently missing, while providing a place for improvisers to hone their craft through performances, classes, and workshops. Our beer will embrace the spirit of improvisation, with a steady supply of variations on styles. The menu will offer simple, concession-style snacks, such as packaged chips and crackers, and people will be free to bring in their own meals.
We will be a theatre and brewery fully utilizing the power of play to drive innovation, and strengthen the community through laughter and cheer.
You know, pointless stuff.
The bar will be open in the afternoons and evenings, with live improv shows each Friday and Saturday night. In addition to the regular improv offerings, there will be special music events, sketch comedy, and a family series. We will have classes for both experienced performers and people who are interested in learning about the art form.
We plan to open in the summer of 2015 at 3014 Packard Road in Ann Arbor, Michigan. So far, we have leased the space, begun work with the architect, and pursued licensure requirements. Now, with your help, we can get the project up on its feet and build this home for improv, craft beer, creativity, and community.
We will only get the pledges if we reach our goal. So help us spread the word about this exciting project!
Does the Community Want This?
A resounding yes! We conducted a market survey to explore price points and get a sense for interest in the idea. The response was overwhelming. Here are a few quotes:
"I am *really* excited about the improv-bar thing. Please make it happen."
"This idea is pretty epic."
"please make this happen, this is AWESOME!"
"It sounds like a lot of fun & a great addition to Ann Arbor."
"This is a genius idea!"
"This. Is. Awesome."
The survey confirmed our research that the population of the area can support such a business, and the enthusiasm was pretty darn cool.
More About the Shows
There will be live improv shows every Friday and Saturday night, at 8 pm and 10 pm. These will consist of 2-3 improv groups, each performing for 20-30 minutes. These teams will be invited from throughout Michigan, as well as special guests from out of state. Each show will also have a performance from the Pointless Home Team, a core group of experienced improvisers that rehearse and perform together on a regular basis.
You will be free to enjoy your drinks and snacks while watching the show, and the bar will remain open throughout if you get a craving for more.
Other offerings will include:
- College Nights: showcasing the talent of EMU, UM and other college improv groups
- Music Nights: improvised music from area musicians in a variety of styles
- Family Series: Saturday morning shows for children that keep in the spirit of play and improvisation
More About the Beers
In order to allow for experimentation and frequent new brews, Pointless will use a one-barrel system. In keeping with the spirit of improv, we will use audience suggestions as a jumping off point for new brews. Did this evening have a light and bubbly feel? A rich and complicated texture? A fruity yet sour tone? Then we will make a beer to match! We will also maintain a rotation of recurring beers, including playful takes on IPAs, stouts, porters, and barley wines. Here are a few beers we have in the works:
- Pointless Standard: a delicate ale with light and simple flavors. A great entry point into craft beer drinking.
- Yes, And: light and easy to drink with citrus notes and a clean finish. An anytime ale.
- IP-yAy: need we say more?
- Have Your Cake: a chocolatey oatmeal stout.
- Remember the Porter: a rich, full bodied dark beer.
- Death to Humans: a heavy-hitting barley wine.
More About the Place
When you walk in, you will go past the ticket counter, then proceed to the bar to get your drinks and snacks. The seating area will have bar stools along the wall opposite the stage, two rows of theatre-style seating directly in front of the stage, and tables and chairs throughout.
Who Are The People Behind This?
Jason and Tori Tomalia are the husband/wife team behind this project.
Jason Tomalia brings the playfulness and creativity of an artist, plus the attention to detail and patience of a brewer. His background includes both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theatre, plus an MFA in Creative Writing. He has studied improv at The Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis and Go Comedy! in Ferndale, and has performed professionally in both Minneapolis and Michigan. Jason has been a homebrewer for over six years, brewing a full range of styles and creating his own recipes throughout that time.
Tori Tomalia has performed, directed, and taught across the United States, co-managed a small theatre company in Boston, and served as the Education Director for a youth theatre in Minnesota. She has graduate degrees in Arts Administration and Drama/Theatre for the Young, and is a graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Tori is also a survivor of stage IV lung cancer, and advocates for education and research into this disease. She blogs about it at “A Lil Lytnin’ Strikes Lung Cancer” and is a regular contributor at CURE Magazine.
In addition to Jason and Tori, we have assembled a team of experts to advise on improv, music, design, administration, and business oversight. You can read all about them at our Pointless website.
What Will You Do With The Kickstarter Funding?
The way Kickstarter works, we will only get the pledges if we make our goal of $50,000. We believe in this project so strongly that we know this is possible! Our campaign will last 39 days, in honor of Tori's 39th birthday in March. When she was diagnosed, it seemed impossible that she would make it to this milestone. But she's still here thanks to advances in medicine, and we are determined to make this dream come true!
As with most awesome endeavors, this project is not cheap. So to do everything right we need to get all of the following squared away:
- Brew system & fermenters: $24,000
- Insurance: $10,000
- Cold room: $8,000
- Fermentation room: $5,000
- Stage: $3,000
If you knew your time were limited, wouldn’t you spend it doing things you love, and enjoying time with the important people in your life? So join us in a toast to this moment. Grab a beer, have a laugh. When it comes down to it, that’s all the matters. Everything else is pointless.
Risks and challenges
The various licensure processes are time consuming, and they will largely determine the timeline for getting the place up and running. Similarly, construction delays could push the opening date later than anticipated.
As with any small business, there is the risk of failure. However, we are dedicated to making this dream come true. We hope you will join us on this Pointless adventure.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (39 days)