One of Hamilton’s most cherished and iconic arts venues has announced that it will be closing its doors.
The Staircase Theatre – a 25-year staple of Dundurn Street North known mainly as an incubator for independent arts from music to theatre to comedy and beyond – had faced the frightening possibility of closure in late 2020 after its owners announced their plans to shutter the venue amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.
It's always a blow when a favourite #HamOnt spot closes, but it's all the more heartbreaking now. @TheStaircase has shared their closure (https://t.co/aMTWyikj5v). The new team worked so hard and did an incredible job saving the space. I'm so thankful I visited in October. pic.twitter.com/5sVoXzdCdx
— I Heart Hamilton (@ihearthamilton) January 7, 2022
However, a trio of small business owners – Staicha Kidd of The Hearty Hooligan, Marc Nascimento of 1Up Games, and Alistair Hill of Democracy – swept in to take over, saving The Staircase by preserving its identity as an indie arts space while turning the large front café space into a pub serving up vegan comfort dishes.
Now called People Under the Staircase, the venue was in operation for just over a year, even getting to host some movie screenings and live performance events during more optimistic times of the pandemic.
However, with yet another devastating small business blow as the Ontario government has reinstated numerous restrictions in the face of the Omicron variant, The Staircase is heartbreakingly saying goodbye for a second time.
“Well Hamilton, I feel like we’ve gone 30 rounds with this pandemic and this last one just delivered a knockout punch,” reads their announcement on social media.
“This closure came with no government support at a time of year when live shows and an open theatre are so necessary to keep the doors open. In all honesty I’m a little too emotionally exhausted to write the long and heartfelt post you deserve, so I’ll just say thank you so much for all of your support.”
The announcement was met with a flood of responses from hundreds of Hamiltonians and Staircase lovers; a testament to what this important venue has meant to so many in our city and well beyond.
It’s hard to say what will ultimately happen to The Staircase going forward; but here’s hoping that, in brighter days, the venue can once again become the vibrant arts hub it’s known as.
Read the full post on The Staircase’s social media.
Lead image courtesy of @thestaircase