The English Comedy Club was formed in 1909 as an amateur society dedicated to performing English language theatre for the expatriate community in Brussels. It is the oldest established English language theatre company on mainland Europe. It has since been joined by several other companies including the American Theatre Company (ATC), the Irish Theatre Group (ITG), the Brussels Shakespeare Society (BSS) and the Brussels Light Opera Company (BLOC), to provide a thriving English Language Theatre community in the Capital of Europe.
The club is based in "The Warehouse", a complex of buildings in the Schaerbeek area of the city which it co-owns with the ATC and ITG. The buildings include rehearsal rooms, a set building workshop, store rooms containing our extensive collection of props, furniture, costumes and set building materials, and a small but well equipped Studio Theatre with a capacity of 65.
The club performs a number of full length theatrical productions each year as well as many other events detailed below. The membership currently stands at a little over a hundred people from all walks of life, and indeed of all nationalities, and with a variety of interests from the actors and actresses to the set designers and builders, lighting and sound engineers, right through those who perform the less lauded but equally vital roles such as staffing the bar or organising ticket sales.
Full Length Theatre Productions
The number of full length productions differs from year to year, but is usually between four and six. These are split about evenly between Studio productions, performed in the Warehouse Studio Theatre, and Mainstage productions, performed in larger theatres in and around Brussels.
For each production, the play and director are chosen by the committee of the club. A producer is appointed who will assemble a production team (Stage Manager, Lighting and Sound Engineers, Backstage Crew, Props, Make-up, Costumes, Ticket Sales Staff, Publicity Team, Front of House Staff, Bar Staff and countless other jobs), while the director will assemble the cast. All of these positions are open to any club member (or non-member provided you agree to join). The cast are chosen by audition, dates and times of which are announced on this web site (see news page), in the ECCO (see ECCO page), and in "The Bulletin".
The club holds monthly play readings on the first Wednesday of each month (see News and ECCO pages). This acts both as a way of introducing new plays to the members, of providing a club activity for members not currently actively involved in a production, and also as a social event for club members. The evenings are held at members houses, and the only requirement to take part is to turn up with enthusiasm (and a small contribution to the refreshments).
FEATS is a yearly English Language theatre festival held in various cities all over the continent. English Language Theatre Companies from various European cities come together over a long weekend to present short plays in competition. This has become a prestigeous event, which now has so many entries that not every company can compete every year, however the ECC try to be involved as often as possible. This year FEATS 2004 will take place in Antwerp hosted by BATSand the ECC are entering The Cagebirds by David Campton. The event is an enjoyable weekend for all lovers of theatre.
The club also holds occasional special events which are open to all members.
The club also participates in the organisation of workshops on acting and all technical aspects of theatre craft with other Brussels groups