Issue date: 3/11/05
Tucked on the outskirts of downtown Bellingham is the Upfront Theatre. Formed by comedian and owner Ryan Stiles and project manager Sheila Goldsmith, the theater opened to the public in August.
The theater focuses on live, improvised comedy, Goldsmith said, with performances by improv groups ranging from Portland to Vancouver, B.C.
"We wanted to give people a place to see and perform improv," Goldsmith said.
The theater can seat 130 to 135 people. Small, circular tables with red candles create an intimate feeling in the dark theater.
The Western Associated Students group The Dead Parrots Society performed at the Upfront Theatre in October, Western senior and improviser Nick Edwards said. At the last minute, an improv group cancelled so the society was called as backup, he said.
Goldsmith said she is picky about who she invites to perform at the Upfront Theatre and does not see many improv groups from Bellingham asking to perform.
"Personally, I wish they would use more local people," Edwards said. "We'd like to perform more shows there."
Shows take place every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $8 for students with identification.
Goldsmith also teaches an improv class at the Upfront Theatre. The class meets once a week for two hours during an eight-week session.
Improviser's workshops from around the Northwest also are held at the Upfront.
Tim Eisner, the Upfront Theatre's house manager and 2002 Western alumnus, said Ryan Stiles normally attends acts as the master of ceremonies at half of the shows and performs every two months.
Stiles' next appereances will be Mar. 31, April 1, and April 2. Tickets go on sale March 30 and can be purchased at the theatre or in person.
This weekend, the Spolin Players from Seattle and the Upfront Players, the Upfront's in-house group, will be performing.