By Brittany Liebierman / News Co-Editor
Before Jamie Sweet was a multimedia technician for LBCC, he and his friends were busy creating one of Long Beach’s best kept performing arts secrets, the Garage Theater.
“I had never been into theatre as a young man until my senior year of high school where every senior was cast in the senior play,” Sweet said.
Sweet graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in theater and was inspired to create what he saw Long Beach lacked.
“My friends Eric Hamme, David Ledger and I were all living together and had big ideas about doing a play in a small venue. Studio 354 in Long Beach (currently a hat shop) offered its space up to us and my friend Matthew Anderson hopped on board and we never looked back,” Sweet said. Backed by a passion of theatrics and a dedicated crew, the Garage Theater will celebrate its 13th year of self-produced performances in February.
“The theater was meant to provide an alternative form of theater that didn’t exist in Long Beach at that time. The Found Theatre was the only small-time theatre in town. We needed a place where we could put on the kind of shows we wanted and provide a place for local actors to showcase their talent,” Sweet said.
Jack Myles, 22, a theater major and student director, said, “I didn’t know about it, but I’m not surprised. We have great teachers and employees at this school.”
Sweet said the plays are typically edgy and dabble in dark humor. “For instance, every year I write a nondenominational holiday show for families.
It has nothing to do with Christmas or religion. Its only intent is to provide a humorous show for families who don’t preach or further market holiday fervor,” Sweet said.
The 10th annual holiday melodrama “Long Beach is Sinking,” written and directed by Sweet, will be performed from Dec. 6-21. Tickets are $12 for “big kids” and $5 for “little kids.” The Garage Theater is located at 251 East 7th St. Tickets are available at the door or through thegaragetheatre.org.
Sweet said, “We also have ‘ice cream social’ at intermission, where we provide the audience with free ice cream, or Tofutti if you’re lactose intolerant.”