I came across this story of Phoenix players closing as I was traversing the enormous world that is the inter-webs.
I have not been to Phoenix players lately nor have I been there enough times to give a full story of ‘the Only Repertory Theatre Company in East and Central Africa’ according to the Phoenix’ Theatre Facebook page. All the same, I have been there a number of times to recall it’s the only place where a play takes a break in the middle of staging to serve the audience with coffee, tea and even Horlicks (other houses take note).
‘Dalili ya mvua as they say ni mawingu’ so shock was not the immediate reaction when I read that story. Hard times for the house could be seen from afar evidenced by the dwindling number of enthusiasts gracing the shows. It’s, nonetheless, sad to see the closure of a theatre space that are already few to start with and can barely keep up with the rising number of production houses and theatre enthusiasts. More depressing is also the fact that, ‘Lack of theatre space’ is the most common response whenever I ask a production house why they no longer stage shows.
While Phoenix Theatre may not have been my favourite space to watch a show from due to those pillars in the middle that blocked your view especially when you came in late, and found the best seats taken, I still went there (early) and had my good laugh. Promise me a bomb show and trust I will show up.
To Phoenix Theatre where most of the actors in Kenya claim gave them their first chance on stage, let this be just a comma in your long narrative. Adios for now but don’t close your doors for too long and please, do not convert this space into anything else.