the British Community Council, Lisbon

The British Community Council, Lisbon

Umbrella entity for organisations
with links to the British Community
in and around Lisbon

BREAKING NEWS: Eviction process for The Lisbon Players to leave Estrela Hall

(Date posted: 2016-06-15 | Organizer: The Lisbon Players | Category: Member Reports)

JUNE 2016: News from The Lisbon Players.

The British Ambassador has issued a notification through a Lisbon court asking for Estrela Hall to be vacated by The Lisbon Players.

This is a necessary step in an eviction process.


  • We have received 24 proposals for productions for the season of 2016/7; overwhelming proof of the importance of the survival of this unique institution.
  • Our current production of ‘The Misanthrope’ features in this week’s issue of Time Out Lisboa (attached).
  • The site on which the theatre, Estrela Hall, stands, is under contract to be sold by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), represented in Lisbon by the British Ambassador, to a commercial buyer.
  • The Lisbon Players is an active and highly successful association, usually presenting 6 productions per year of English language theatre in Lisbon, with amateur and professional (but unpaid) actors.
  • The building is part of a site that was granted to foreign communities in Lisbon by the Portuguese Crown at the end of the 18th century.
  • The Estrela Site, with its other “stakeholders” includes the building of the British Hospital, unused since 2009, a large building constructed by the Royal British Club and currently occupied by the Portuguese Ordem dos Economistas and the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, a small and historic Jewish cemetery, and an 18th century parsonage owned by the Anglican Church.
  • Initially, the option was raised by Ambassador Sir John Holmes in 2000, that the theatre be detached from the sale and transferred to the Lisbon Players, and this was again presented by H.M.Ambassador John Buck in 2006.
  • More recently, the British Embassy and FCO continue to insist on selling the site of five properties as a single entity, while the deactivated British Hospital and the parsonage remain abandoned and deteriorating.

There is a moral issue involved here. The land was originally given to foreign communities resident in Lisbon by the Portuguese crown. The Lisbon Players Association is still fulfilling the mandate of the original gift of land for the benefit of foreign communities in Lisbon.

In Lisbon the Assembleia Municipal has unanimously voted (in February 2016) for a motion to seek ways to keep The Lisbon Players in Estrela Hall. The Lisbon Players has also been recognized as an entity of ‘Elevado interesse cultural’ by the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa.

We request that all who can influence the future of the Estrela Site, whether in Lisbon or closer to the FCO in London take interest in the unfolding of this matter.

Don’t let Estrela Hall be turned into another luxury condominium!

Sign our petition, and if you already have, please ask others to sign it, and keep alert to the future of the Estrela Site!

And you can read the contract, in English or Portuguese, at the Assembleia Municipal de Lisboa’s page on us here:,000075/index.htm

(The promissory contract is at the bottom of the page, ‘Contrato promessa’.)