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Fancy Pants becomes a 'homeless theater'

Fancy Pants Theater members pack up at Studio 246
courtesy of Carol Zombro

After almost four years at Studio 246 in Kalamazoo, Fancy Pants Theater moved out in November. Now the theater is looking for a new venue. 

The theater once split the rent at Studio 246 with the Kinetic Affect, Crawlspace Eviction, and Mosaic Church. But Executive Director Carol Zombro says one by one, the other organizations found different locations.

“We started paying a fourth of the rent and over the four years we ended up paying all of it," she says. "With a staff that’s all volunteer—I, myself have never received a paycheck—it was a very big struggle.” 

Executive director of Fancy Pants Theater Carol Zombro
Credit courtesy of Carol Zombro
Executive director of Fancy Pants Theater Carol Zombro

Zombro says the theater was forced to leave. Fancy Pants canceled the last two plays of their season, but Zombro says they will be premiering Rumpelstiltskin by local playwrights Arnie and Deb Johnston as soon as they find a new venue. Zombro says more than one neighborhood association in Kalamazoo has approached her with possible locations.

“One of my goals for Fancy Pants is to make it the first chain theater. I would like to have more than one location preferably. And if that means having one in every neighborhood in Kalamazoo to start with, I am ok with that,” says Zombro. “It’s really just we’re waiting to find that first really right fit.”

Despite their status as what Zombro calls a ‘homeless theater,’ Fancy Pants Theater will still take part in this year’s New Play Festival. Fancy Pants will have two plays in the festival. The first is Walden at Fatty Shakes, a one-act comedy written by a WMU student.

It’s about a teen who works at a greasy-spoon restaurant, but dreams of living a solitary life in nature like Henry David Thoreau describes in Walden. The one problem is, he’s never read Walden. The second play, directed by Benjamin Hooper, is loosely based on the story of Trayvon Martin.

The event will be February 7th and 8th and the Epic Center Theatre in Kalamazoo.

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