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Boston’s Colonial Theatre to reopen following deal with London drama group

Will it revive Theater District?

Interior of the Colonial

Emerson College has struck a deal with the Ambassador Theatre Group of London to operate the Colonial Theatre in Boston’s Theater District. The move is expected to lead to a reopening of the 116-year-old landmark in January 2018.

It has been closed for more than a year. Not only that, but Emerson had at one point mulled turning the Colonial into a student activity center dominated by a dining hall.

A great cry arose from students, alumni, and others that changed the school’s mind in early 2016. Emerson, which has owned the theater since 2006, instead opted to redevelop other property in the activity center.

Aside from leading to the Colonial’s reopening, the Ambassador deal is also “sure to put competitive pressure on the city’s other commercial theater providers, including Broadway in Boston and the Boch Center, both of which regularly present touring performances,” according to the Globe’s Malcolm Gay.

Said competition might also answer the question of whether Boston needs—or has—a theater district anymore, really. In other words, will Ambassador be able to fill the seats?

Stay tuned.