Situated in the heart of the Estrela district, the Lisbon Players’ Theatre is a welcoming but little known theatre space which has been providing a varied repertoire of plays in English to Lisbon audiences for over sixty years.
The Estrela Hall was built in 1906 and converted into a theatre with the establishment of The Lisbon Players in 1947. It was originally connected to the group of British organizations that occupy the site which adjoins the British church and cemetery. Estrela Hall is still remembered by some older Lisboetas as the venue for the showing of anti-Nazi propaganda films during the war, when the building was commandeered by the British Embassy. It was also used by the prestigious Companhia Amélia Rey Colaço/Robles Monteiro when it was homeless, and before it took up permanent residence in the Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II .
The theatre consists of a 120-seat auditorium with seating on stalls and balcony levels and a wide raked proscenium stage. Backstage there are dressing rooms and storage areas and there is also a large bar and foyer area. The lighting box is at the back of the auditorium at balcony level.
The company is amateur – no-one is paid for their work – and the Lisbon Players, contrary to popular belief, operates with no subsidy or financial support of any kind. Its only revenue is from ticket sales. The upkeep of the building is expensive and, as anyone who knows the theatre will testify, it is in desperate need of renovation, both backstage and front-of-house.
The Lisbon Players plans to continue its important work of entertaining, educating and involving new participants and new theatre audiences of all nationalities and ages.
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