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Emerson College's Colonial Theatre Will Not Become a Dining Hall

Shuttered venue's fate still uncertain, though

Back in October, the Globe broke the news that Emerson College was considering redeveloping its recently shuttered Colonial Theatre into a student activity center that a dining hall would dominate.

That set off an epic round of tut-tutting among alumni, residents, and artists. An online petition drew more than 6,000 signatures (and counting), including those of composer Stephen Sondheim and ex-New York Times theater critic Frank Rich.

The school has heard their pleas: Emerson announced Thursday it was scrapping plans to convert the 1,700-seat Colonial into an activity center-slash-dining hall. Instead, Emerson said it would renovate buildings it owns on Boylston Street into such a center, with a fall 2017 completion date scheduled (more college construction in Boston!).

As for the 115-year-old Colonial, which predates all Broadway theaters in New York and which Emerson has owned since 2006, its fate remains uncertain. The school is still studying its options. "One thing is certain," Emerson President Lee Pelton told the Globe. "It will remain a theater and venue for the performing arts. That’s the bottom line."