Award-winning Gift Theatre planning to relocate to larger space in Jefferson Park
by BRIAN NADIG
The Gift Theatre is leaving its longtime home at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. and plans to reopen in 2022 at a new, larger location in Jefferson Park.
For the past 15 years the storefront setting at the Milwaukee-Lawrence intersection provided for the “most intimate, professional theater in the country, … (allowing for) the epic theatrical magic we all made in that room together,” Gift co-founder Michael Patrick Thornton said in a recent YouTube video.
The stage was only 10 feet deep and 23 feet wide, and there was no lobby where the ensemble members could socialize with audience members after performances, Thornton said. The theater had about 40 seats.
About 70 productions were held in the theater during the past 15 years, Thornton said. In recent weeks crews have removed the theater’s awnings on the building and have been making changes to the storefront, presumably for a future new tenant.
It had been determined prior to the pandemic that a larger space was needed, and the closing of the theater during the pandemic sped up the planning process, Thornton said.
The new location will be announced on Monday, Dec. 6, at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Gift performance company, but area residents won’t have too far to travel to the new theater. “The permanent home of the Gift Theatre will always be in Jefferson Park,” said Thornton, who grew up in the area.
The anniversary party will be held at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
For more information on the award-winning Gift, visit www.thegifttheatre.org