After being closed for the past 15 months, comedians Erika May McNichol and Bob McNichol announced the reopening of the Lab in a larger venue on Butler Avenue. The lineup will include a mix of crowd favorites and new programming with seating for up to 45 audience members. The Lab Theater already hosts classes and performances for youth and teens through Improv Ambler with the Fall 2021 session underway.
The McNichols met while performing at various theaters in Chicago. After moving to Austin, TX in 2005, they became involved with ColdTowne Theater, a comedy theater born in a storage room next to a video store. When they originally decided to start programming shows in Ambler in 2019, they weren’t sure there would be interest. “We were delighted local audiences really turned out for the shows, and we had a steady stream of Philly and NYC-based comedians willing to come to perform. Even before the pandemic, we were starting to outgrow the 25 seat capacity in the space on Main Street when it looked like we were on the other side of the pandemic this past June – we started looking for a larger space,” says Bob McNichol.
Shows will initially be a few times a month and increase as they see interest. “Our focus is the same as before: 1) To give kids and teens a place to explore their creativity and get on stage and 2) To program some great offbeat comedy, offer BYOB with reasonably priced tix and to give the audience a good time,” says Erika.
Says Bob of reopening now: “There are fewer and fewer chances for in-person interaction and human connection these days; as technology has pushed us to be more remote and especially after the last year+. Live comedy is especially interactive and offers this magic, in-the-moment connection between the audience and performers. We want to make sure that stays alive.”
The Lab offers standup, variety and improv performances from some of Philly’s best comedians, kicking things off with Howl: A Standup Showcase with Megan Goetz on 9/16, and Philly favorite, the NCrowd on 9/18. Parent favorite Breeders starts its monthly run on October 8th. All shows but the NCrowd are 18+, the NCrowd show is appropriate for ages 13+.
The Lab Theater aims to be an accessible spot for local entertainment with ticket prices fixed between $5 and $18. The intimate space will house a stage and capacity for approximately 42 patrons. Tickets and events are posted to The Lab’s website and Facebook page and through Eventbrite. Follow for details.
About The Lab Theater Owners
Erika May McNichol – Erika started her comedy career in Chicago, training and performing at ImprovOlympic, Second City, and ComedySportz. She performed with teams Mr. Sir, Hall of Presidents, and Bevy and was a writer on the long-running sketch show “Late Night Late Show with Mark Luge.” More recently, she was a member of the award-winning Austin, Texas troupe The Frank Mills and co-founded the ColdTowne Theater Conservatory, where she trained hundreds of students and was a sought-after coach.
She’s won several awards for her work including Outstanding Director, Most Valuable Player and Best Characters, as well as several B. Iden Payne awards for Outstanding Troupe with The Frank Mills. She’s led workshops around the country.
Bob McNichol – Bob studied improv at ImprovOlympic, Annoyance Theater, and Second City in Chicago where he performed with the teams Johnny Roast Beef and Concept Album. He later taught, coached, and performed at Coldtowne Theater in Austin, Texas with award-winning troupes The Frank Mills and Stool Pigeon.
Bob is an original cast member of the acclaimed sketch comedy podcast, Victrola, who were finalists in the Improv for Humans/Earwolf Competition in 2017. Find their episodes and their 2017 album “Virtual Aurality” (Sure Things Records) on iTunes. Locally, Bob has taught at Good Good Comedy Theater and The Philadelphia School of Improv and performs with McNichol and May and as a cast member of This Week Sucked.