Charles Playhouse Closed Because of $200,000 Debt

The directors of the Charles Playhouse, the only resident professional theatre in Boston, announced in a press conference yesterday that the theatre has been forced to close down because of "worsening financial burdens."

The directors of the theatre attributed the financial crisis to "increasing costs in the face of a declining audience" and said they would launch a massive fund drive to pay for the $200,000 operating deficit by the end of this month.

"Unless the community that we serve can rise to our support, with a charitable assist from the media and all those concerned for the city's cultural welfare, there is no hope of continuing," R. T. Metcalf, chairman of the theatre's board of directors, said yesterday.

Metcalf admitted that if it had not been for the unexpected success of the Playhouse's current production of "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris," the Playhouse would not have been able to open at all this season.

Samuel Hirsch, drama critic of the Herald-Traveler, asked why the playhouse had started the season with a new play instead of "playing it safe" with something established.

The directors said that they had made an "error of judgment" by opening the season with In Three Zones, a new play by Wilford Leach. They said that they hoped the "excitement of newness " would produce a stronger opening.

The directors said that there is little chance the theatre will reopen this season. "Despite Brel's expected capacity to earn its way, the prospects for the Warrenton Street playhouse are bleak," they said.