Blow to local theatre as New Kingston based playhouse shuts down after 14 years

David Tulloch standing outside The Phoenix Theatre Company in New Kingston.

The Phoenix Theatre Company officially closed its doors on January 5, after over a decade in operation.

The owners of the property, which contained the theatre and another space known as  ‘The Blue Room’, listed the location for sale.

While it was not surprising news, as the future of the 8 Haining Road theatre has always hung in the balance, it was disappointing for the actors, producers, playwrights and technical staff that relied heavily on the playhouse as a source of income.

BUZZ caught up with popular Playwright and Producer, David Tulloch, an industry professional who has been impacted by the closure of the theatre.

Tulloch told BUZZ that there had been rumours before of a potential closure, but the theatre had always managed to survive.

Tulloch described the closing of the theatre as a “major loss, many people depended on it for a means of income, relief or just mere entertainment”.

He, however, noted that though it was a loss for some within his industry, he holds no animosity towards the property owners for their decision to sell.

“It is just sad, no blame on the owners, they have their right to sell,” added Tulloch who further noted that it is believed that the proprietors are in the process of migrating.

According to Tulloch, some members of his management team had toyed with the idea of buying the property but noted that the asking price was not within the team’s budget.

While the theatre’s closure definitely comes as a blow to the industry, as spaces to host performing arts events are limited, Tulloch says that the shortage has forced producers and others to become very creative.

He pointed out that the closure has forced some to make use of school auditoriums, church halls and even outdoor spaces for productions.

Tulloch also used the occasion to encourage the public to support local theatre noting that the final performance at the theatre – for which contributions went towards pulling down the place – was not well attended. 

Initially, the property and the theatre then named ‘Theatre Place’ was managed by Pablo Hoilett.