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Upright Citizens Brigade to move to a new Hell’s Kitchen theater

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No joke

AWXII - UCB Live! Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for AWXII

The Upright Citizens Brigade, a hub of New York City’s comedy scene, is ditching its longtime flagship location in Chelsea for a more accessible space further uptown, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The theater, which helped launch the careers of a near-endless roster of the city’s comedians and almost certainly provided improv classes to at least one of your coworkers, has been located at 307 West 26th Street in Chelsea since 2003, but has “long been searching” for a space compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. And they’ve found it at 555 West 42nd, near Eleventh Avenue, in Hell’s Kitchen—the former home of the Pearl Theatre Co., and the Signature Theater before that.

“We have a very diverse group of students, performers and patrons and we want to be able to serve all of them,” UCB artistic director Shannon O’Neill told WSJ. “Right now, the Chelsea theater doesn’t allow that.”

While it is notably further from a subway, the new 160-seat theater features a number of other perks, including a bigger backstage area, a higher ceiling, and no pillars blocking audience views—though O’Neill said recreating the scrappy intimacy of the Chelsea space is a definite goal.

“The Chelsea theater has served us very well, but I’m very excited about what we’re going to be able to do in this new space,” she said. Shows are slated to start in early December. The UCB also still holds shows and classes in the old Pioneer Theater space in the East Village.