Sophie Bolich

New Event Venue Planned For Theater Groups

The Brick House, in Riverwest, to offer affordable space for local theater, arts groups.

By - Nov 28th, 2022 04:38 pm
Site of future The Brick House, 504 E. Center St. Photo taken Nov. 28, 2022 by Scott Mann.

Site of future The Brick House, 504 E. Center St. Photo taken Nov. 28, 2022 by Scott Mann.

Nearly three years after the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater community is still reeling from the impact of months of empty venues and canceled productions. But even before that, local companies often struggled to find a permanent home.

A new event venue planned for the Riverwest neighborhood aims to solve that problem by offering an affordable space for theater and arts groups to gather — something that owner Amanda Hull said is notably scarce in the city.

“There is a big lack of space in Milwaukee because of the lack of support for the local theater community — financially from the government and you know, the community itself, as far as how people value it,” Hull said. “So these spaces are really valuable to theater companies who are without a permanent home.”

The Brick House, at 504 E. Center St., would welcome local theater and arts groups to hold auditions, workshops, classes, rehearsals, gallery shows and cabaret-style or staged reading performances.

“We’re not building sets and we’re not putting in a theater, but if a theatrical performance can take place in a cabaret-style…that is our aim,” Hull explained.

The space would also be available to rent for private, non-theater events such as weddings, retirement parties or bachelor/bachelorette parties. A liquor license for the business is pending before the Common Council.

A long-time member of the Milwaukee theater scene, Hull studied acting and musical theater performance at UW-Milwaukee and then worked as a professional actor, costume designer, theater instructor and theater director. She also ran Milwaukee Entertainment Group, a theater company at the Brumder Mansion.

Hull would operate the new business with her co-owner and husband of 6 years, Cole Heinrich.

A musician, Heinrich received a degree from UW-Milwaukee in finger-style guitar performance. He often holds performs at businesses throughout Milwaukee either solo or as lead guitarist of his band, The Flood.

“This is going to be something that’s definitely a huge passion of hers,” Heinrich said. “And I’m happy to be by her side to help out with it.”

The Brick House is planned for the first floor of the former Tangled Salon. The 2,200-square-foot building has wood floors and exposed Cream City brick walls. Aside from the addition of some furniture, Hull said she plans to keep the space relatively open, for optimum versatility. The building’s upper level contains a residential apartment, which Hull said she plans to lease.

Curtains up is still a ways off for the business, but the space will likely be up and running by late spring, 2023, Hull said.

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One thought on “New Event Venue Planned For Theater Groups”

  1. Polaris says:

    What’s up with all these new event venues? Milwaukee is not the only city where this is happening. I mean, who was talking about renovating an old building into an “event venue” 10 years ago? Is this Gen Z’s term (“hack”) for the old wedding hall?

    Seriously, I tried looking online to see if there was a singular reason. Is it simply because of the decline of physical retail spaces and the glut of locations? Or, is it somehow related to the move away from buying things (Black Friday, ha!) to buying experiences? Some event planning sites talk about a move toward smaller, more unique events instead of simply booking a hotel ballroom or conference room. Is that it?

    On a related note, I hope The Brick House succeeds and Hull creates a space for small theaters without their own spaces. She’s spot on that, despite its many wonderful qualities, MKE is not a big theater town. What is has is great, but it is limited. And, per Hull, there is a lack of support for and value of local MKE theater.

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