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The Making-Box finds a permanent box to play in

Improvisational comedy organization finds new home in the heart of the downtown

It’s kind of a funny story, actually.

A few short years back, an upstart improvisational comedy company popped up in a pop-up space that was meant to last about a month. The Making-Box flourished at 40 Baker Street, and there it stayed for over two years. It finally moved out on Saturday, bound for comedy glory just down the street and around a couple of corners.

During the time the organization was semi-permanently at 40 Baker Street, it put a down-payment on a second-floor space in the scheduled-for-renovation Petrie Building on Wyndham Street, a space that should have been ideal. But they ultimately couldn’t serve alcohol there, and the plug was pulled. Not so funny.

Now, The Making-Box – an arts and entertainment enterprise started by Jay Reid and Hayley Kellett – is moving to a storefront, ground floor space at 43 Cork Street, in the former digs of The Joint Café.

On Saturday, after a final performance and bash Friday night at 40 Baker, about 30 people with ties to The Making-Box paraded chairs and other items down the street and around those corners, balloons flying along with them. Reid said the organization has found the permanent home it was looking for.

“I think that our moving to 43 Cork Street is a sign that the community in Guelph is realizing and rallying around the idea of how comedy can build community, and that Guelph continues to need a space for live comedy, improv education, joy and empowerment,” he said.

Reid said The Making-Box has never stopped looking for a long-term home. It made that deposit on a Petrie Building space back in 2014, then raised over $20,000 through crowd-funding for renovations to the space. After that fell through, Reid said they kept doing what they do, and kept looking.

“It was an experiment that went horribly right,” he said, speaking of that first pop-up month at 40 Baker. The success of the organization continues to grow.

The Making-Box took out a lease on the 43 Cork Street space and acquired all of the café’s assets, he added.

“This is the long-term home,” he said. “It really checks all the boxes.”

Friday’s last show, he said, was “cathartic, sad, hilarious and beautiful.” Many people wrote memories on the walls to end the evening.

The Making-Box held its first improv comedy class in the new space on Saturday. It’s first show in the space, Royal City Heroes, will be on April 28, celebrating Guelph.