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Business of the Month: ComedyWorx

Long-time citizens of Raleigh know of the improv comedy troupe, ComedyWorx. For years, they have hosted shows, mainly on the weekends, that include actor improv and audience participation. Recently, the business relocated from Peace Street to Hillsborough Street and now calls the Royal Bakery Building home.

The Royal Bakery Building is a historic building located across from Meredith College with plenty of parking underneath, and behind, the building. The building is undergoing a bit of a renaissance with several like-minded tenants as anchors opening recently, such as Lucky Tree Cafe and Gallery, Sonorous Road black box theatre, and now ComedyWorx.

ComedyWorx was able to raise funds for their move via a Kickstarter campaign. The team surpassed their $40,000 goal with only 285 backers and held their official Grand Opening in September.

I recently talked with Ashley Myers, General Manager, about the transition into the new location. Myers considers the new location an opportunity for growth and development. She believes the company’s presence on Hillsborough Street will enhance the street’s uniquity as well as help ComedyWorx reach a new audience.

So tell me what ComedyWorx does, for those who don’t yet know.

To put it simply, we do comedy. Our focus is on creating something fun and unexpected for our fans using improv. Much like Who's Line is it Anyway, we take suggestions from the audience and we create characters and scenes inspired by those suggestions. This makes every show unique because everything is made up in front of you. We have a variety of improv focused shows and we're looking in the future to add some other types of comedy to our repertoire.

After 15 years on Peace Street, you now have to be relocated to Hillsborough Street. How does that feel?

Peace Street was our home and it was tough to hear that we needed to relocate. On the flip side of that, the old place was designed around our troupe members and fans from 15 years ago. We were lucky to have that space but we're even luckier to have this new space. I think we all knew it was an opportunity to reboot and make the place reflect who we are today. We get to upgrade and let our creativity loose on the look and feel of the new ComedyWorx. It already feels like home and we're just getting started.

How are you (workers and patrons alike) adjusting to the new area?

Overall it's been a smooth adjustment. There is so much opportunity. We have Meredith College across the street and NC State right around the corner. There is good food, beer, coffee, and ice cream literally two doors away. Let me not forget to mention that we have some club members that live in Durham and they are fans of being right off the highway. As far as the patrons go, a couple of them have gotten lost, but I think that's to be expected. This is just as much a transition for them as it is for us!

Are you using this time to renovate decor, acts, etc?

Yes. We're recycling stuff from our old place but we want to embrace our new surroundings. Everything that we've designed is inspired by the space itself. The historic brick is beautiful, so you'll see its inspiration throughout the club.

How do you feel about your neighbors in the Royal Building, like Lucky Tree and Sonorous Road?

They're incredible! It's exciting to move and suddenly find yourself surrounded by creative and kind people like Ashley, Amanda, and Michelle. Not just Lucky Tree and Sonorous Road, though. Jasmine's, Ben & Jerry's, and Sherlock's have also welcomed us with open arms.

Any interesting or unique stories since moving into the Royal Building?

There is no lack of interesting at the Royal Building, that's for sure. I feel like there is something happening every night, whether big or small. My personal favorite thing is to watch a group of jugglers that occasionally meet up and practice their craft. I've already considered asking if they'd like to teach us a thing or two.

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