It was a big blow to artistes and drama enthusiasts Thursday when Phoenix Players Theatre was closed over rent arrears.
It has also emerged that neither the management nor the patronage contacted the Government for assistance even as it was clear things had nearly collapsed.
Trouble started on Wednesday when auctioneers landed at the facility on the basement of Professional Centre to cart away furniture, props and costumes. Many renowned actors started off at Phoenix, which was started by the late James Falkland.
“It is a very sad day for me. I started my theatre career at Phoenix under the apprenticeship of Falkland,” said comedian Kazungu Matano aka Otoyo.
Kazungu and about 50 colleagues had received the distress call from the Phoenix management about a month ago and it was agreed that individuals would contribute money to fund productions and use the proceed to offset the rent.
Each had already given Sh2,000 to start off the salvation of Phoenix that has seen many a thespian come through including Ian Mbugua, Jean Gachui and Lupita Nyong’o, among others.
“This was bound to happen. In fact it could have happened sooner,” commented Sammy Mwangi of Heartstrings Entertainment. According to Mwangi, the membership model was not sustainable under the new management.