A Profile of the Concord Players, Inc.
The Concord Players trace their history to 1856 and the Concord Dramatic Union, which Louisa May Alcott helped to found. In 1872, the Union became the Concord Dramatic Club, and, ultimately, in 1919, the Concord Players. In 1921, the Players added the stage with fly space, scene dock, storage facilities, and Green Room to the town-owned building at 51 Walden Street, then used also as an armory.
In 1972, the Players joined with the Concord Orchestra and the Concord Band to form the Friends of the Performing Arts in Concord (FOPAC), and the town of Concord agreed to allow this organization to refurbish 51 Walden as a performing arts center. In addition to a music stage for the band and orchestra, a ballet studio was built to house day and evening classes for both children and adults. In 1975, 51 Walden was designated as a "Permanent Bicentennial Memorial."
Since then, FOPAC and particularly the Concord Players have continued to upgrade the facility. Among the Players' many contributions are the following:
The Players are proud of their continuous record of presenting quality theatre to the citizens of Concord and the surrounding communities. Three major productions are mounted each season. In addition, one-acts, such as the annual entry into the Eastern Mass Assn of Community Theatres (EMACT) Spring Festival, are frequently presented. Workshops in acting, directing, and technical theatre are also offered to the membership. New scripts are occasionally produced, and the Little Women script commissioned for the 1992 production is an excellent example.
The Concord Players' membership is approximately 400. The subscription fluctuates from 600- 800. A constant effort is made to increase new membership and to widen our audience. Four social events throughout the year, plus trips to other theatres via "The Showbus," encourage member participation. Subscribers have been treated to "extras" such as free performances of one-act plays or new scripts.
In addition, the Players also have hosted other theatrical groups such as the summer Thurvil Theatre for high school and college students, the children's Dance Theatre of Concord, and NETC and EMACT workshops.
Ever conscious of the historic and literary heritage of their town, the Players have performed such significant plays as Lawrence and Lee's The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, which had its New England premeier at 51 Walden in 1971, and A Flurry of Birds in 1975, a new prize-winning play by David Fielding Smith (author of the new Little Women script) commissioned for the bicentennial of the Revolution.
An adaptation of Little Women, Concord's most famous novel, has been produced every ten years since 1932 when the town celebrated Louisa May Alcott's 100th birthday. In 1985, Concord celebrated its own 350th birthday, and the Players presented the citizens with a gift -- free tickets to a performance of Thornton Wilder's Our Town.
The Players make every effort to reach out to a broad following. Tryouts for Concord Players' shows are widely publicized and open to all. With a variety of abilities and tastes in mind, a Play/Director Selection Committee works a year ahead of each season to choose a balanced slate of plays. The Committee matches the best directors available to these plays.
To train and to encourage the participation of people with an interest in technical theatre, as well as in performing, are also important goals. The Players are noted for their strong technical support system, which has certainly contributed to their success. As 3-time winners of the coveted NETC Moss Hart Award and 5-time winners of the EMACT Festival at Brandeis University, the Concord Players are proud of their standing as a longtime cultural asset to the greater Concord community.