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Lupita, thespians mourn death of ‘Phoenix Players’ theatre

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has added her voice to the growing disappointment following the closure of Phoenix Players theatre earlier this week.

The theatre was closed after auctioneers raided it earlier in the week over rent arrears.

Lupita said this was where she started her career, before she went on to take Hollywood by storm and be one of the most sought-after black female actresses.

Phoenix players

The news on the closure of Phoenix Players was revealed last Wednesday by celebrated film director Mugambi Nthiga on Twitter.

In a series of tweets, Nthiga expressed disappointment saying the theatre had touched many, even those who haven’t been there in 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,” he said.

“Phoenix was located in a rented space at The Professional Centre. Rent had to paid and theatre makes money from tickets & sponsorships only. @thephoenixkenya has struggled for several years. It thrived on membership in better years. That model ceased to work when numbers dwindled.”

He went on: “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.”

“Today, while a benefit staging of a play was being planned to help raise funds for the theatre, auctioneers showed up and took everything.”