UCB Announces Closure of NYC Theater and Training Center

The decision followed layoffs last month

UCB Theater
The UCB Theater in New York.
Ajay Suresh/Creative Commons

In 2016, a profile in The New Yorker explored the origins and seeming success story of Upright Citizens Brigade — an organization founded by high-profile comedians which had helped launch the career of several more. At the time, it was hard to look at a list of the artists associated with UCB and not be impressed — Amy Poehler and Matt Walsh are among its founders, for one thing.

The history of UCB has hit a rough spot, however, and today, it announced that its New York theater and training center would close. Writing at Vulture, Megh Wright puts this in context:

The closures will mean the end of an official UCB space in New York following the closure of the Chelsea theater in 2017 and the East Village theater last year.

In an email, the organization’s founders write that “[t]erminating the New York leases is not a cure-all for the financial health of the organization, but one of many changes we will need to make as we restructure our organization moving forward.” They also note that UCB will maintain a presence in New York City, renting facilities for classes as needed.

The coronavirus hit UCB at a difficult time; last month, the organization laid off a considerable number of staff in both New York and Los Angeles. As Wright notes in the Vulture article, the email from the UCB founders addressed the layoffs and the ensuing response: “The UCB4 has heard your feedback asking for better communication, and we are committed to doing a better job moving forward.”

As for what the future of UCB might look like, as with many things in the entertainment world, that remains to be seen.

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