THE LAB WELCOMES 2023-2024 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SHYLA HUNGERFORD
The Lab Ambler grows leadership to appoint veteran instructor and arts administrator, Shyla Hungerford for the 2023-2024 season.
Shyla Hungerford is a performer, arts educator, theater-maker and playful leader. She started teaching improv classes to children and adults in Austin, Texas in 2009. In 2011 she moved to Houston where she founded Houston's first long-form improv theater, Station Theater, and started the Trill Comedy Festival. Shyla has also performed improv at major comedy festivals and on tour in Chicago, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, New Orleans, Charleston, Atlanta, and New York.
In 2012, Shyla was brought on at Rice University as a lecturer to teach a course that she created, Improv for Stage and Screen, and subsequently was asked to become the instructor for a Theater History course. She continued offering these classes regularly at Rice University, while also directing plays and frequently leading improv and leadership workshops for a variety of organizations. Shyla moved to Philadelphia with her family in 2021 and found a home at The Lab. She is overjoyed to perform and teach in this amazing community!
SEPTEMBER 2019 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Comedians Cook Up Offbeat Comedy in Ambler with
(The Lab Begins Programming October 5th)
Ambler, Pennsylvania (September 30, 2019) —
Local comedians Erika May McNichol and Bob McNichol announced the opening of a new comedy space in Ambler with shows beginning October 5th. The Lab Theater already hosts classes and performances for youth and teens through Improv Ambler, and will begin offering comedy programming for adults.
The McNichols are no strangers to comedy, and met while performing at various theaters in Chicago. After moving to Austin, TX in 2005, they became involved with ColdTowne Theater, a comedy theater that was born in a storage room next to a video store. Based on this experience, Bob and Erika see small spaces as brimming with potential and growth. Oreland native, Bob McNichol explains about The Lab, “It’s our comedy food truck.”
The couple’s goal is twofold: to create funny, offbeat entertainment while offering stage time to kids and teens. Erika explained, “When we lost our original space, we started looking for other spaces in Ambler that would allow us to continue the youth classes. When we found the space at 18 N. Main, we said ‘Hey! Can we program a few events and shows in the space, too, and to try out producing shows for the local community?’ Ambler is such a wonderful place, and while we love catching shows and events in Philly, it’s exciting to offer something right here among the amazing restaurants, breweries and entertainment. Our focus is to keep it a little offbeat, BYOB with reasonably priced tix, and - most importantly - give the audience a great time.”
The Lab will offer standup, variety and improv performances from some of Philly’s best comedians, kicking things off with parenting-related show Breeders on 10/5 and Standup Night with Jon Koppel on 10/17. Long-running hit show This Week Sucked will play in November (11/15) followed by Golden Girls Trivia Night hosted by Sophia and Dorothy on 11/25 (with cheesecake for the audience, naturally).
The Lab Theater aims to be an accessible spot for local entertainment with ticket prices fixed between $5 and $15. The intimate space will house a stage and capacity for approximately 30 patrons. Tickets and events are posted to The Lab’s website and Facebook page. Follow for details.
The Lab Ambler
18 N. Main St., Ambler PA
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.
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.
They have two amazing kids who like comedy, too.