Almost exactly eight months after the closure of their New York venue and improv training center, the Upright Citizens Brigade has announced the end of their Sunset Theater in Los Angeles. “We are posting to update you with some sad news,” the organization’s four founders, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Besser, and Matt Walsh, announced in a statement posted to Twitter Wednesday. “We have been forced to sell our theater on Sunset.”
“We have been unable to make mortgage payments during this extended shutdown,” the statement continues. “We know this theater was a home for so many, and so many people were responsible for helping it grow. We want to thank all of those people and the New York community who were also significantly impacted by recent closures.”
The coronavirus pandemic was in its relative infancy when UCB’s New York theater and improv training center were shut down in April; the organization had previously closed its Chelsea theater in 2017 when moving to the larger theater space in Hell’s Kitchen, and had shuttered UCB East in February 2019 due to “the long-term cost of rent, property taxes, and other expenses” that accompanied running the East Village theater.
“We are still working to maintain our Franklin space and look forward to being legally allowed to gather again,” UCB writes about their remaining L.A. theater, their last physical venue. “We are continuing the process of our theater and school becoming nonprofit.” The organization also says it will “conclude our search for a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant” in 2021 and work with Project Rethink, an initiative launched by veteran BIPOC performers over the summer to address systemic racism at Upright Citizens Brigade. In the meantime, prospective comedy students can continue to take classes and panels through UCB online.