March 1, 2016

Sea Tea Improv Begins Construction on New Theater

Sea Tea Improv and The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) recently held a “Groundbreaking” to mark the end of design and beginning of construction on Sea Tea’s new 3,800 SF Comedy Theater. After having entertained Hartford audiences in various venues such as City Steam Brewery, HartBeat Ensemble's Carriage House Theater, Billings Forge, and Real Art Ways, the comedy troupe was ready for a theater of its own. In May, Sea Tea completed a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to build the theater in downtown Hartford. Their goal was $35,000, but they ultimately raised over $60,000 which enabled them to sign the lease on the location and move ahead with design.

Located in the basement of 15 Asylum Street in Hartford, the newly renovated “black box” Sea Tea Comedy Theater will feature seating for 80 spectators, including ADA compliant seating, a ticket window and refreshment area, new restrooms, a green room, audio/visual, acoustics and lighting upgrades, and all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

Impressed by SLAM’s entertainment portfolio, including previous and ongoing work for TheaterWorks, Hartford Stage, the Bushnell, the Shubert Theatre, and others, Sea Tea selected SLAM to help design and implement their vision. SLAM provided planning/programming, design and documentation, and is currently administering construction. Michael Galvin of Heartwood Home Renovations is the construction manager on the project, which is expected to be complete by the Summer of 2016, in time for Sea Tea’s lineup of events and shows.

“Working with the Sea Tea Improv team has been a great experience. They are so passionate about what they do which made this project fun in addition to being successful”, says Dan Harazim, AIA, SLAM Project Manager and Designer. “We are so glad that we were able to help make their vision a reality.” Challenges on the project included tight column spacing, which called for a creative layout to prevent sightline problems, and the location of new ductwork based on limited ceiling headroom and existing utilities. Designing a layout suited for the needs of Sea Tea, while taking into account existing conditions that would challenge a reuse in the space presented another unique challenge. Working closely together, SLAM and Sea Tea were able to overcome these challenges and design a space that will serve comedians, actors, and spectators for years to come. "Sea Tea Improv is thrilled to open this underground comedy space in the heart of downtown Hartford. Now we'll be able to offer unique, affordable comedy shows 365 days a year for Hartford's residents, neighbors, and visitors”, says Julia Pistell, Managing Director of the Sea Tea Comedy Theater. “We're so excited to break ground on this space that will only add to the incredible entertainment offerings that Hartford already has." For more information on Sea Tea Improv or to purchase tickets for upcoming shows and events, please visit or contact Julia Pistell at

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