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Steep Theatre Gets $3 Million City Grant To Build Out New Edgewater Playhouse

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EDGEWATER — Steep Theater’s plans to renovate its theater in Edgewater are getting a major boost from the city two years after the theater company lost its longtime home to a development.

The Edgewater-based company received a $2.98 million grant from the city to help finance construction of its new headquarters at 1044 W. Berwyn Ave. The grant is part of a $40 million grant community development initiative led by the city to stimulate economic activity after the pandemic. The latest round of grant winners was announced last week.

In fall 2020, Steep was forced to relocate of 1115 W. Berwyn Ave., which had housed the business since 2008. A developer purchased the building with plans to replace it with a Residential complex of 77 units.

Steep conducted a citywide search for his new home and settled on a building two blocks away which served as a Christian Science reading room.

The theater company debuted in the new building in June, converting the former reading room into a makeshift theatre, planning a wider redevelopment of the site.

With the grant, work on the overhaul of the $5 million building will begin next year, said art director Peter Moore.

“We recognize that this is an investment not only in our company, but in our Edgewater community and our theater community, which has been hit so hard over the past two years by the pandemic,” Moore said in a statement. “We take these responsibilities very much to heart.”

A rendering of the Steep Theater’s new home in Edgewater.
Credit: Courtesy of Steep Theater
The Steep Theater took over the former Christian Science Reading Room building at 1044 W. Berwyn Ave.

Plans for Steep’s new venue include a 70-seat flexible performance space, a lobby with a bar, an outdoor patio, and a parking lot that can also accommodate outdoor activities, according to its website.

Renderings show an addition on the Berwyn-facing facade of the building, as well as a fence that serves as a theater sign. Steep is still in the planning stage of the project, Moore said.

A capital campaign it’s looking to raise $3 million for the overhaul. That money will cover the rest of the construction, with the remaining money dedicated to the company’s long-term sustainability in Edgewater.

The goal is for Steep to debut the revamped space in 2024, Moore said.

Meanwhile, Steep hosts shows by “Our dear lord who died of drugs” in the space yet to be renovated. Steep will likely host an off-site production or two while work on the building is underway next year, Moore said.

“Chicago isn’t Chicago without its theater, and we are proud that our city recognizes theater as both an indispensable cultural asset and an undeniable economic catalyst,” Moore said.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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