Fox Valley Mall, a three-story shopping center in Aurora, Illinois, will be the new home of Comedy Shrine. The improv and stand up comedy theater will move from its current Plaza Square location to Fox Valley Mall by spring 2020.
The mall’s owner, Dallas-based real estate investment firm Centennial, recently revealed plans for a redevelopment of the mall, centered around a multi-use “central park” environment. Design firm Stantec and construction services expert Graycor Construction Company have been tapped to bring the vision to life.
“At Fox Valley Mall, we’re on the ground floor of a significant transformation that will make this mall the center of community activities in the Aurora and Naperville areas and as much a focal point for entertainment as it is for shopping and dining,” said Scott Samson, senior general manager, Fox Valley Mall. “At Fox Valley, we’re drastically altering the way people interact with their neighborhood shopping center. We’re creating something so much more meaningful—a place where people spend time together, share memories and just enjoy hanging out. Adding an iconic entertainment venue like Comedy Shrine to the mall’s tenant mix is indicative of the kind of changes we have in store for Fox Valley 2.0.”
The new Comedy Shrine at Fox Valley Mall will have three theaters and at 14,000 square feet will be double the venue’s previous location. The largest theater will be dedicated to stand up acts and will seat as many as 400 people. The second venue will be focused on improv events, and the third will be used for experimental theater offerings ranging from comedic sketch shows to both original and touring plays, variety shows, one-man comedy acts and even murder mysteries.
While its traditional acts will continue to take place on Friday and Saturday evenings, after moving to Fox Valley Mall, Comedy Shrine will be open during all mall hours, offering a variety of family-friendly classes and activities throughout the day. There will be open-mic nights, comedy writing classes, as well as classes in stand up and improv comedy performances for children, teens and adults. The larger Comedy Shrine space will also allow the venue’s expansion into private events from birthday and bachelor/bachelorette parties to corporate events and fundraisers.
“Comedy Shrine has outgrown our current location. When we began looking for a new venue, the changes taking place at Fox Valley Mall really caught our eye,” said David Sinker, who opened Comedy Shrine in 2005. “There are big things happening at Fox Valley Mall, from thought-provoking original works of art to a completely re-imagined park-like Center Court, Fox Valley Mall is growing and changing; it’s becoming a very experiential and entertainment-focused community hub. The expanded space Comedy Shrine will have at the mall will give us the ability to attract the biggest names in the comedy business as well as allow us to offer a wider array of daytime programming that appeals to a multigenerational audience—the same kinds of people who already frequent Fox Valley Mall.”
True to its name, the new Comedy Shrine will also house an interactive comedy museum with audio and video exhibits showcasing a vast collection of memorabilia, a comfortable lounge area with a fully stocked bar and a retail store with logoed merchandise.