Drama group folds but keeps on giving

Ruth Griffiths

Since 1959, Prince Albert Community Players has been a source of theatrical expression and entertainment. It was one of the first amateur dramatic clubs in the province but has made the decision to “exit stage left.” The club may be gone, but it won’t be forgotten.
I chatted with Marnie Anderson, a former president and director of the club. She said the club membership was aging and the hiatus created by the Covid-19 pandemic was the fatal blow.
So this year the club is taking applications so as to distribute the club’s assets, hoping to support drama in local schools and community groups.
“Everything will eventually end,” she said. “You can go out knowing that you’re valued and appreciated.”
When I arrived in Prince Albert in 1969, Prince Albert Community Players was a welcoming place in which my husband and I found friends easily. We travelled to many provincial drama festivals organized by Theatre Saskatchewan. The provincial organization held workshops in which we could learn new skills. The local club supported us when we attempted to use that training at the local level. Unbelievably, in retrospect, I was allowed at age 24 to direct a full-length play for the club. People three times my age treated me like an equal and encouraged me … despite my naivety. Community Players was a great place to learn, laugh and grow.
For many years the club presented a short play in the fall and a full-length play in the spring, often winning prizes at the provincial level. Dinner-theatre productions were always popular. Club members not only built the sets, acted in the plays, did the lighting and sound, they also prepared and served the meal, often working 18-hours on a production day.
Marnie said that for her the greatest legacy of the club are the many relationships formed through the years.
On the occasion of its 60th anniversary, Prince Albert Community Players was inducted into the Prince Albert Hall of Fame. Here is an excerpt from the award presentation: “One of our most notable accomplishments was in the spring of 2003 when we were the first drama club to preform on the E.A. Rawlinson (Centre for the Arts) stage with Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. We hosted Theatre Saskatchewan’s full-length drama festival that year, bringing seven different plays from seven different Saskatchewan communities over a seven-day period to the Prince Albert
“For many years we built our sets, rehearsed plays and housed our plethora of costumes, set and scripts in the Octagonal Building on the Prince Albert Exhibition grounds. Over the decades, hundreds of actors, directors and backstage personnel have helped bring productions to P.A.”
Throughout its history Prince Albert Community Players’ goal has been to give to the community. Now, as it takes its final curtain call, it continues to contribute to local theatre. Bravo!