Daily News

Happier Valley Comedy Raising Funds for Expanded Performance Space

HADLEY — It’s just a purple door painted onto a solid wall right now, but Pam Victor, Happier Valley Comedy’s head of happiness, hopes to one day open a real door to the local improv theater’s expanded performance space.

“When I started the ‘can I make a living doing what I love? experiment’ in the fall of 2014, I never could have imagined the ups and downs of the last nine years,” Victor said. And when the space next door to their original theater became available, Victor, Artistic Director Scott Braidman, and Program Manager Maddy Benjamin had a big decision to make. Should they take a leap of faith to sign a five-year lease in both spaces, even though they were still getting back on their feet post-pandemic?

They decided to take that leap.

“If we didn’t take this major, calculated risk to take on both spaces, we knew the opportunity to expand might not come along again for at least five years, if ever. Our expanded dream theater gives us plenty of room to continue growing our community while keeping our cozy Happier Valley Comedy vibe,” Victor said. “And it provides a performance space worthy of the quality of work our improv community has grown to perform.”

The additional space, directly adjacent to the existing theater, will provide the only improv-comedy theater in Western Mass. with an accessible stage, an improv-friendly set, theatrical lighting, improved acoustics, a tech booth, and tiered seating for 72 people.

Happier Valley Comedy is working with two Northampton companies on the project: general contractor Keiter Corp. and architect Tom Douglas of Thomas Douglas Architects.

Happier Valley will kick off the “Open the Door” fundraiser to raise the next $30,000 of the $300,000 capital campaign on Saturday, Nov. 18 with a phone-a-thon event called “Call from a Castmate,” when professional improvisers pick up the phone to gather donation pledges.

“Happier Valley Comedy was born of a dream to make a living in the Valley doing what I love,” Victor said. “Building a more professional improv performance space is the final step in making even my wildest dreams come true.”