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Evan Gould, left, and Lee Hamby outside 112 E. Adams St., where 5 & Dime is renting space. The five storefronts, adjacent to the now-closed Burro Bar and Chomp Chomp, total 3,400 square feet. The group had considered working out of the theater room in...
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jan. 3, 201712:00 PM EST

5 & Dime theater company has a Downtown place to call home

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by: Marilyn Young

As Evan Gould and Lee Hamby stood along East Adams Street, they had a panoramic view outside the new home for the theater company they helped start in 2011.

To the left were Burrito Gallery and Indochine, two restaurants where patrons could enjoy dinner before attending a show.

Across the street and to the right were parking lots the two talked about trying to work out a deal with the owners so theatergoers could get a nearby spot.

Behind Gould and Hamby, though, was the key to it all.

Five storefronts at 112 E. Adams St. where the 5 & Dime group is moving to this month. A home for the once nomadic group created to bring a bit more daring lineup to the local performing arts scene.

“It was our mission from Day 1,” Hamby said of finding a permanent Downtown location.

They were home.

The group has been renting a warehouse on East Union Street, primarily for rehearsals and storage. But Hamby said, no air-conditioning or heat made the location less than ideal for the actors and the audience for the shows occasionally performed there.

“It could be scalding hot or freezing cold,” he said.

As much as some fans loved 5 & Dime’s nomadic tradition, others found it “crazy,” Hamby said, because they had to search for the group. Plus, he added, “some didn’t want to go in certain areas” where performances were held.

They had been looking for quite some time, Hamby said, with the help of friend Elias Hionides of Petra Management.

Now the group has 3,400 square feet once occupied by Forge 3D Printing Studio and Icon Boutique near East Adams and Ocean streets.

Hamby said there’s not much work to be done in the Forge 3D site, because the previous renters put in new sheetrock and flooring and built out restrooms, office space and a conference room.

“We’re not on the run anymore,” Hamby said. “We have a place to sit down and actually be there.”

They are on the clock, though.

Rehearsals for “Live at the 5 & Dime: An Evening of Song” begin Jan. 17. The fundraising cabaret show runs Jan. 20-21.

And they’ll need a stage, box office and dressing rooms before then.

It’s helpful that some members of the theater company have skills that can be useful. For example, one of the actors is an electrician, Hamby said.

“That’s what great about the theater,” he said. “All these different types of people work day jobs who are willing and able to help with things we need.”

To help pay the rent, 5 & Dime will increase the number of annual productions from four to six, plus two cabaret performances and a readers theater series.

Hamby said the majority of the performances will be at the new location, though 5 & Dime still wants to maintain the partnership element of using other venues.

Gould called the area around the new location an “up-and-coming part” of Downtown. He’s also happy to be part of The Elbow entertainment district.

As Gould and Hamby stood on the sidewalk along East Adams Street, they pointed out a parking ticket on one of their cars, written by someone they didn’t even see.

Getting the citation at the expired meter, they joked, was a welcome to Downtown.

A sign they were home.

[email protected]

@editormarilyn

(904) 356-2466

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