Wednesday, 16 October 2013

BACK TO BASICS: Stages Theatreplex closes New Kgn operations, returns to Green Gables

ON THE MOVE: "Sometimes when running a business you have to dowsize," explains Allen. Below, a scene from Risque, March 2013.

Usually TALLAWAH concerns itself with what's coming next and not what's coming to an end. But it is virtually impossible to ignore the (hardly) surprising news that Stages Theatreplex has shut down its New Kingston base (effective October 16) and has returned to its old Cargill Avenue haunt of Green Gables Theatre. To say the least, it's a hard hit for the local theatre community, but given these difficult fiscal times and the marked reduction in box-office receipts of late (at all the city's theatre houses, for that matter), we can't say we didn't see it coming.

For Stages head honcho and veteran businessman Bunny Allen and playwright-director David Tulloch, the closure represents and unfortunate turn of events. But, as they explain, they really had no choice. "It's just one of those things," Allen tells TALLAWAH, standing outside the theatre's main door last Saturday as workmen removed the lighting and other fixtures/equipment. "Sometimes when running a business you have to dowsize."
It's really about the bigger picture, as far as Tulloch is concerned. "When we lose a space it's sad," says the director, who most recently helmed Angie Binns' The Trouble With The Johnsons and a remount of his erotic thriller Risque. "I support the fact that it has to close. We're going through some harsh economic times [and] we're in prime space in New Kingston, and it's quite a lot [of money] monthly, not including staff. 

Symbolizing something akin to an enduring cultural treasure, Green Gables represents, for the Stages family at least, a sort of back-to-basics haven. "We're actually grateful that there is a place for continuity," Tulloch says. "So if you take it from one angle, we're not really losing a space because Green Gables was kinda down, and now it will be back running again."

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