The acting fraternity in Kenya is mourning after East Africa’s oldest theatre the Phoenix theatre was closed down on Wednesday after an auction .
The actors and actress among them academy award winner Lupita Nyongo who tweeted that theatre is where her career picked of.
“I have no words either.Phoenix players is where my career began.What a loss’’ tweeted Lupita.
Lupita’s comments were echoed by actor Mugambi Nthiga who explained how the theatres income generating model had ceased to generate income over the years.
“Phoenix Players was a repertory theatre, meaning it would stage a fresh play practically every month.Shows would run for 2 weeks on average.” Mugambi tweeted
“Phoenix was located in a rented space at The Professional Centre. Rent had to paid and theatre makes money from tickets & sponsorships only.”Mugambi continued
“has struggled for several years. It thrived on membership in better years. That model ceased to work when numbers dwindled.
It most recently depended on shorter runs & subsidized prices, but the theatre’s location and general apathy had seen numbers fall further. Now, Phoenix is in rent arrears running into millions, the board is non-existent, and a handful of passionate actors kept it going.” Mugambi added.
Mugambi further revealed that the acting fraternity was a play to raise funds for the theatre before the auctioneers showed up and a Talented actor Tim was deliberating on what next for the theatre.
However this is not the first time that the theatre has been closed down over arrears it has been closed twice in 2009 and in 2010.