Emerson College Faculty Votes Against Colonial Theatre Plan
With over 6,000 signatures and several major theatre icons now standing against Emerson College’s plan to destroy the historic Colonial Theatre in Boston, the plan received another huge blow this week as the staff of the college, with a rather large arts program, finally not only made their voices heard but their intentions clear as ever. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that the faculty of Emerson College has voted against the suggested renovations to Boston’s Colonial Theatre!
The faculty of Emerson College voted yesterday overwhelming approving a resolution that calls on president Lee Pelton and the Emerson College board of directors to reconsider a plan for the historic Colonial Theatre which the college intends to turn into a dining hall. The resolution passed 84 to 12, with eight abstentions. The vote came following a presentation of the suggested plan to the Colonial Theatre by Pelton to the faculty. One example of what the resolution states says, “plans were developed without sufficient input from faculty, students, alumni and other city, regional and national stakeholders.” The resolution goes on to call for the board and president to reconsider asking, “on the administration of Emerson College and its Board of Trustees to pursue alternative plans for a dining hall and the restoration or reconstruction of the Colonial in concert with faculty and other stakeholders.”
In a statement to the Boston Globe, Robert Colby (Pictured Below Left), a performing arts professor, stated;
Colby told The Globe that copies of the resolution would be presented to the board on Wednesday in addition to being sent to President Pelton.
Emerson College’s vice president for communications, Andy Tiedemann, released a statement following the vote saying,
“The Board of Trustees is grateful for the faculty’s perspective on the future [of] the Colonial as the College continues its thoughtful and deliberate process to develop a number of options. No final decisions have been made and the College will continue to engage Emerson faculty and students, the City and various stakeholders in a community engagement process.”
Tiedemann went on to mention that the board would not be voting this week on the fate of the Colonial Theatre after it was previously announced the theatre’s future would be on the agenda for this week’s meeting.
Emerson College’s faculty voting almost unanimously against the current plan to defile The Colonial Theatre, in favor of a college dining hall, stands with the national voice speaking up not only to save a piece of history, but to protect theaters in our cities, nation and world. If Emerson College is simply allowed to destroy a piece of history, yet alone this beautiful theatre, for a college dining hall that could be easily placed elsewhere in the surrounding neighborhood, what do we say about the value of the theatre? I’m not just speaking about the building, I’m speaking about the art itself. If it isn’t commercially feasible, we should simply opt out of it all together? If this was a fact, Broadway, yet alone theatre, would not exist. If we cannot manage an arts building we own by filling it with art, we should simply turn it into something else? Pelton has mentioned that the Colonial has remained empty most days of the year. So Emerson’s failure to book artists and productions simply stands as a passage to turn the venue into something else? Why are we allowing leaders to not lead and simply take the easy way out? I think Emerson College’s faculty realized that same fact this week and showed it in their vote against the current Colonial Plans.
I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the status of The Colonial Theatre in Boston and Emerson College’s decision regarding it. We’ll be bringing you more updates as they evolve and continued news on the battle to save Boston’s most historic playhouse. We continue to seek a resolution where the Colonial Theatre benefits Emerson College but also remains true to its historic heritage and honors it’s true purpose, a gathering and performing space for theatre and the arts. Read our original statement to Emerson College here. Stay tuned Luner on Theatre for more updates on our fight to save Boston’s Colonial Theatre. And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!