Acting and pilates classes come to reborn Avalon Theatre

By Joey Walsh

The Glebe’s Avalon Theatre, steeped in history and memories, has a new lease on artistic life as it welcomes the arrival of the new Ottawa Acting Studio and The Mat Lab by Glebe Pilates.

The Avalon was built in 1928 for live theatre, then evolved into the Glebe Theatre to show movies. It sat at the corner of Second Avenue and Bank, but it is barely recognizable as an old theatre now because of the businesses that took over at street level. The new occupants will move in upstairs, over Feleena’s and Home Hardware.


Acting classes aren’t just for actors!

John Muggleton, acting director of the Ottawa Acting Studio, is excited about the new location.

“There’s an undeniable magic in this historic space that has inspired generations of actors,” he said. “We can’t wait to ignite the imaginations of our students here.”

Muggleton has been an actor, director and acting instructor for over 30 years. He is also an award-winning playwright, whose plays have been produced worldwide. Two years ago, he opened the Kanata Acting Studio and after it proved successful, he decided to expand with a second location in the Glebe, a neighbourhood where he is no stranger. For the past five years, Muggleton has been GNAG’s manager of adult programming. Though he’s stepping down from that role, he and his team will be working closely with GNAG to offer new programming for all ages.

Ottawa Acting Studio will offer after-school, evening and weekend acting classes for young children, youth, teens and adults, including the very popular afternoon classes for those 55 and over. You don’t need to be an aspiring actor to sign up.

“People take acting classes for many reasons, not just to train as actors,” Muggleton explains. “Taking an acting class is a sure-fire way to become more self-aware, more confident, more spontaneous and even more fun. These classes are also a great way to meet people. At the very least, you’ll kill at your next office social!”

The studio officially opens October 30, but registration is open now for the exciting line-up of acting classes for November and December. For more information, please visit


Wellness takes centre stage


The Mat Lab by Glebe Pilates opened on October 2.

Next door, on the other side of the second floor of the old Avalon, another venture has taken shape where wellness takes centre stage. Opened on October 2, The Mat Lab by Glebe Pilates is making the most of the historic theatre’s architectural charm for yoga and mat pilates classes. With super high ceilings and exposed brick walls reminiscent of New York loft-style buildings, this space is a haven of tranquility and wellness.

Amy Kowalik, the heart behind the studio, describes their new home as “the perfect hangout – a cozy retreat nestled in the heart of the Glebe. When you step inside, the collective reaction is just ‘wow.’ It’s that perfect mix of charm and character, creating an atmosphere where everyone feels a genuine sense of belonging. It truly is the dream space.”

Offerings are carefully curated to cater to a diverse spectrum of fitness levels and wellness goals. In the pilates classes, you’ll discover a fusion of strength-building exercises emphasizing core stability and body alignment. From beginner-friendly mat workouts to advanced sessions, the certified instructors guide you through a pilates experience tailored to your abilities.

On the yoga front, the studio provides a sanctuary for both seasoned practitioners and beginners alike. Immerse yourself in the art of yoga with their skilled instructors who lead classes ranging from dynamic Vinyasa flows to restorative Yin sessions. Here, you can explore mindfulness, enhance your flexibility and find inner peace amidst the tranquil ambiance.

They will be introducing an eclectic variety of workshops in the new year. Stay tuned.

Visit for more info.


A Shared entranceway, a journey through time

The shared entranceway of the new businesses has received a tasteful revamp, preserving the nostalgia of the theatre’s glory days. Art deco tiles have been added, and the walls are adorned with vintage posters that hark back to the golden age of the cinema.


Joey Walsh is an actor, writer and stand-up comedian who can be seen regularly at comedy clubs across Ottawa.




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