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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Strawdog Theatre Company Loses North Center Home After Owner Puts Building Up For Sale For $2 Million

The theater company moved to North Center after losing its 25-year home in Lakeview in 2017.

Strawdog Theatre Company pictured in the theater in February 2018.
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NORTH CENTER — After moving to the neighborhood just two years ago, Strawdog Theatre Company is losing its home again.

The North Center building that houses the three-decade-old theater group, located at 1802 W. Berenice Ave., was recently put up for sale, said Jennifer Nelson, Strawdog board president. The final show of the company’s 32nd season, “Welcome To Keene, New Hampshire,” will be performed at Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., from April 16-May 30 instead.

“We were notified a couple months ago that the current property was going to be for sale,” Nelson said. ” We thought about trying to extend the lease, but we then realized we needed to know where we were going to perform the final show of our season.”

The building, at 1800-1808 W. Berenice Ave., is located a few blocks south of the Irving Park Brown Line stop. It is currently for sale for $2 million, according to an Essex Realty Group listing.

Credit: Essex Realty Group
The building at 1800-1808 W. Berenice Ave. is for sale.

The site is qualified for transit-oriented development incentives and could be developed into a multi-family development, luxury condos or single-family homes, the listing reads.

First founded in 1988, Strawdog Theater Company moved to North Center after losing its 25-year home at 3829 N. Broadway in Lakeview in 2017. Their current lease ends March 31.

Strawdog’s current production, “The Effect,” will run through Nov. 23 at the 1802 W. Berenice Ave. theater. Upcoming productions of “Hershel And Hanukkah Goblins” from Dec. 7-29 and “Thirst” from Jan. 9-Feb. 15 will be produced there, too.

Ahead of its 33rd season, Strawdog’s board plans to find a black-box performance space that the theater can contract a residency for a minimum of three years.

“While we have loved being a center for the arts in Chicago, after losing our long-term home and now this short-term home, the Strawdog Board of Directors has decided to take a break from managing and maintaining our own space,” Nelson said.

The residency will allow the theater to “adjust, refocus and see what’s next for us,” she said.

“Having just gone through all this so soon, we just don’t want to jump into renting something again,” Nelson said.

Strawdog Theatre Company is one of Chicago’s oldest ensemble theater companies and features an ensemble of nearly 30 directors, writers, designers, and actors.

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