As of February 14, Players’ Theatre, housed in the University Centre, is closed to the public. The closure comes in the midst of the Theatre’s 30th annual McGill Drama Festival (MDF), a week-long festival of plays written, directed, acted, and produced entirely by students, and caught event organizers off guard.
The abrupt shutdown follows the September 2017 announcement that the SSMU building would be closing from March 2018 until Winter 2019. The closure announcement, which came as a surprise to many students, elicited concerns for student clubs and organizations, as well as student services, which would have to relocate for the year. Though construction on the building is set to begin in April 2018, the building will close on March 17, 2018, leaving time for clubs, organizations, and services to move out.
Founded in 1921, Players’ Theatre is not only Montreal’s “oldest English-speaking black box theatre,” but also among the few remaining English-speaking theatre groups in the city. As a result, the MDF attracts students from across the city to submit their scripts for selection. As well, Players’ hosts Bring Your Own Juice, McGill’s only sketch comedy troupe, for their a week of shows that usually takes place in March.
Players’ Executive Director, Anna Abraham, assured The Bull & Bear in a statement that the McGill Drama Festival will still be running this weekend, with shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights likely taking place in the SSMU Cafeteria. As well, she wished to express gratitude to multiple members of SSMU for their support in facilitating MDF in light of the building closure.
As of February 14, the relocation of Players’ Theatre remains “in negotiation.”