Two Women and Minority Led Businesses in Spaceworks Incubator Celebrate Launch

Michelle Matlock (left) and Aaliyah Al-Mahdi (center) at the premier Signature Event for The People’s Parlor, hosted at Spaceworks alumni business (Re)Style Clothing Company, owned by Kirsten Reynolds. Photo courtesy of The People’s Parlor.

TACOMA, Wash. — Spaceworks Tacoma is excited to announce the launch of two new local businesses: Circle Up Productions and The People’s Parlor, both event-based companies. Circle Up Productions, owned and operated by Michelle Matlock, blends theater and circus arts to produce live shows, curate special events, and teach performing arts. The People’s Parlor, owned and operated by Aaliyah Al-Mahdi, brings one-of-a-kind nights of curated entertainment, local food, and craft drink located in unique, secret locations disclosed only to registered guests.

After ten years on the road performing with Cirque du Soleil, Matlock decided to return to her home in Tacoma and build a business that adds to the vibrant performing arts community in the city. She uses her expertise to blend theater and circus arts to produce live shows, curate special events, and teach performing arts. Her background in the entertainment industry has allowed her to successfully partner with other presenting organizations and joining Spaceworks has given her the knowledge and resources needed to run her business efficiently.

“Spaceworks gave me a risk-free opportunity and the tools to discover whether or not my business had a chance of survival. They also cultivate a culture of collaboration. So, the projects that I get to work on with other alumni of the program are incredible. All of the support is just amazing”  

Michelle Matlock

The People’s Parlor is a passion project for Aaliyah Al-Mahdi. With a lifelong devotion to hospitality and bringing people together, she’s seen the benefits of creating close-knit communities in business. Al-Mahdi’s dedication to community organizations and military career have given her the skills to succeed. Through The People’s Parlor Signature Events, Al-Mahdi creates one-of-a-kind nights of music, food, and drink. Taking place in unique, secret locations disclosed only to registered guests, each Signature Event is carefully curated to be an all-inclusive, elevated night to remember.  While Signature Events are what they’re known for, The People’s Parlor also has short term, themed event series throughout the year. 

“When I first moved to WA, I was so sure I was going to live in Seattle and be a city-girl. But after two months of going to meetups, trying to find my tribe, I was over it. Seattle’s vibe felt a tad pretentious and unless you worked at one of the tech companies, it was isolating. I longed for a community. So, I decided to create an environment where our community could connect and build fruitful relationships.” 

– Aaliyah Al-Mahdi

Matlock and Al-Mahdi joined Spaceworks Incubator program last year and completed the Business Planning Cohort in December 2018. After developing their business plans, they began market testing and determined that 2019 will be a series of specialty events hosted in unique locations. Spaceworks is thrilled to support these two women as they bring creativity and passion to Tacoma’s economy and stay engaged by finding collaboration opportunities and uniting creative entrepreneurs.

“I remember first meeting Michelle at the Entrepreneur Success Workshop. I had no idea that the clown world or its industry was a real thing. Fast forward to a year later, and our businesses are collaborating and creating an undeniable presence in Tacoma. A Clown and a Soldier. Spaceworks did that.” 

– Aaliyah Al-Mahdi

Upcoming Events

The People’s Parlor
A Signature Event: The Magic House
Sunday, June 30, 2019
12pm – 4pm
$50, must register at
*Location revealed to registered guests only

Circle Up Productions
Juggle Jam (circus skills) with the Artists of Venardos Circus!
July 11, 2019
12:00 PM
Urban Grace Church, Downtown Tacoma
FREE, must register at

Collaborative Event with The People’s Parlor + Circle Up Productions
A Signature Event: Summer’s End
Friday, September 27, 2019
Must register at
*Location revealed to registered guests only

Contact Info

Circle Up Productions – Michelle Matlock

The People’s Parlor – Aaliyah Al-Mahdi

Spaceworks makes Tacoma culturally vibrant and economically strong through training and support for artists and creative entrepreneurs. Since launching in June 2010, Spaceworks has worked with over 400 artists and creatives in over 55 spaces around Tacoma. Funders include the City of Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Community Development Block Grant, and JP Morgan Chase Foundation.