Building the newest performance venue for all ages: The Treehouse

Great White Narcs, Janice, Paperback Rhino, and Secret Stand-up have joined forces to open a new arts venue, The Treehouse.

The+Treehouse+is+seen+on+Monday%2C+Dec.+2%2C+2019.+The+first+show+at+the+Treehouse+will+be+held+Thursday%2C+Dec.+5.+
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Building the newest performance venue for all ages: The Treehouse

The Treehouse is seen on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. The first show at the Treehouse will be held Thursday, Dec. 5.

The Treehouse is seen on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. The first show at the Treehouse will be held Thursday, Dec. 5.

Jenna Galligan

The Treehouse is seen on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. The first show at the Treehouse will be held Thursday, Dec. 5.

Jenna Galligan

Jenna Galligan

The Treehouse is seen on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. The first show at the Treehouse will be held Thursday, Dec. 5.

Ashley Dawson, Arts Reporter

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With a majority of Iowa City’s venues constantly booked, packed full, or age-restricted, community members and young show-goers alike will now be welcome in the newest local entertainment venue: The Treehouse.

Four comedy groups, including improv groups Great White Narcs, Janice, Paperback Rhino, and stand-up comedy show Secret Stand-up, have come together to open a new location for a multitude of different acts. Located at 327 S. Gilbert St., the venue is set to host live musicians and bands, spoken word poets, and comedians.

“It’s just a bunch of people from the comedy community getting together and trying to make a home for comedy in Iowa City,” Ian Zwaschka, a member of Great White Narcs, said.

Set to open on Dec. 5 with their first show at 9 p.m., performers will include Great White Narcs, joined by Iowa State University’s Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival for a night of improvisational comedy and laughter. The Treehouse also has multiple events lined up for the future.

According to Zwaschka, The Treehouse is meant to be an entertainment venue for all ages. To make this possible, the space will refrain from serving alcoholic drinks to avoid age restrictions.

Related: Soul, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll: The Marcus King Band shake up Englert Theater

The Treehouse is not just for well-known local names; collaborators wanted all types of acts to perform in the space. Zwaschka said the venue is meant to be a safe space for anybody who wants to attend a show, whether it be music or comedy. The space is also safe for the artists to explore their own acts and sense of what entertainment they want to put into the community, he said.

“I want it to be a space where people can find their voice,” Secret Stand-up co-host Clara Reynen said. “What kind of comedy do they want to do? What are they seeking through slam poetry? They can look for that here.”

Before The Treehouse, the space was occupied by Hala Hala Hookah, one of Iowa City’s two hookah lounges. Zwaschka said realtors were happy to rent the now-empty space to a student-run organization.

Despite the multitude of performances the space will hold, all the money the venue makes will go back into renting and renovating, according to Zwaschka. He said collaborators are content with the lack of profits, because the most important thing to them is the entertainment that they will provide to Iowa City.

Reynen said she wants The Treehouse to be a space that people are constantly excited to go to for entertainment, especially comedy.

“There is a strong arts community in Iowa City but there’s no consistency for comedians,” she said.

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