DSI was recently uprooted after 8 1/2 years in its first dedicated space in Carrboro. Our theater was offered the opportunity to be replanted just 1/2 mile away (across the Chapel Hill border) in record time. But with the lease signed, building permits processed and our move happening so quickly, we need your help.
DSI Comedy entertains audiences in North Carolina with a unique and energetic approach to the comedy scene and its critically acclaimed performance of improv, sketch and standup comedy as an artform. With regularly scheduled classes, master-level workshops and summer camps, we work to educate the next generation of comedy voices. We strive to be creative, collaborative and community focused.
We have actively supported Kidzu Children's Museum, Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate, Sacrifical Poets, Beat Making Lab, YMCA Chapel Hill, Orange County Rape Crisis Center, Compass Center, UNC Dance Marathon, Avon Walk for Cancer, UNC Relay for Life, Community Nutrition Partnership, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and countless other local organizations over the last decade. (Note: Funds raised during this Kickstarter campaign will be used for construction and business expenses, not for charitable contributions.)
With over 90 current company members and hundreds of alumni, both in North Carolina and pursuing comedy around the country, DSI is home to an active and creative company with a range of backgrounds. We boast actors and hydrologists, graphic designers and nuclear scientists, students, 20-30 somethings, and what some of our more senior cast members prefer we call, simply, tax-paying citizens.
During our yearly summer camps, DSI invites kids ages 6-17 to learn the art of improv comedy, and our instructors have proudly watched these young performers grow up to both join our company locally and represent our local scene as artistic leaders in comedy on college campuses across the country.
Our new location at 462 W Franklin St will offer new opportunities for community engagement and programming for organizations including Sacrificial Poets and Beat Making Lab and events co-presented with everyone from Muslim Life at Duke to the Triangle Air Awareness Coalition.
Each year, we also host the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, an internationally recognized comedy event that celebrates the best in the discipline with the help of the more than 400 improv comedians, standups and sketch writers that make the annual trek to Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC. This coming February will mark 15 years that the festival has brought comedians from across the country (and Canada) to the Triangle, making an economic impact to the region in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and a cultural impact that cannot be measured.
To ready our new space, a theater that we will call home for the next 25 years, for maximum YES AND, we need to convert the building from an open-concept event space with a dark basement to a proper fully functional theater and comedy school.
Contributed funds will help:
- Engage architects and professional builder and electrical contractors
- Renovate the basement to create three separate spaces
- Build out a functional box office and separate lobby space
- Modify existing electrical systems and create new grid for house and stage lights
- Modify existing space and systems to meet fire code for new construction
- Purchase new hardware and design spaces to be fully accessible and compliant with current ADA standards
- Enclose the performance space by building a sound-proof wall, entry-way and hanging theater-grade curtains for maximum sound dampening during shows
- Design and build a functional Tech Booth and A/V control for shows
- Mount and design setup for a camera (so that we can both capture and live stream performances), projector and screen
- Install a stage wall with functional door and window for performer use and prop storage for sketch comedy shows
- Subsidize purchase of new chairs, supplies, new signage, etc.
Risks and challenges
New commercial construction can be delayed by permits and inspections. Regarding the timeline challenge, DSI staff are in regular communication with the Town inspector, Economic Development Officer and staff of the Downtown Partnership for Chapel Hill. The building-owner is another local business owner that has shown a significant amount of support in overcoming permit and development obstacles.
DSI expects to celebrate a Chapel Hill grand opening May 2014, with a soft opening during late April. If major delays come up, we will make every effort to communicate directly with donors and will then work to resolve the issues we've run into.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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