The Richland Players looks forward to another exciting year of great productions and events in our historic building. We continue to work toward our mission of “Entertainment, Inspiration, and Education — Committed to serving the Mid-Columbia region by entertaining, inspiring, and educating audiences and artists through the shared experience of live theatre.” With that mission in mind, The Richland Players is continually seeking input and ideas from our community.
The vision that created the Richland Players in 1944 — to bring live performing art to the community with opportunities for local citizens to directly participate — continues today. However, it’s not without challenges.
In 2012, Washington had a higher than national average volunteer rate (34.4 percent). But in the past 4 years, that number has declined to a 10-year low. We hear from our nonprofit partners across the Tri-Cities that volunteering levels are at an all-time low. At The Richland Players, we are exploring new ways to seek out and retain volunteers. Our newly formed Volunteer Committee is already finding unique and creative ways to involve people in our passion for the arts.
Each season, The Richland Players puts on 40 performances, attended by more than 8,300 patrons.
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As with any historic building, our 70-plus-year-old home is in need of repair. We are continuously faced with the challenge of repairing leaking roofs, heating/cooling systems, and landscaping and maintenance. During the last year, we replaced our HVAC system in the lobby, fixed multiple toilets (theater is very glamorous), and patched a leaking roof multiple times. As a board of directors, we are committed in the next year to explore new community partnerships and sponsorships to help with capital improvement projects.
We will be seeking out ways to preserve this theater, and the piece of history we claim in downtown Richland. We are excited to find ways to partner with the new outdoor stage at the John Dam Plaza. From end-to-end of The Parkway and “Stage-to-Stage” of performance venues, we think we can bring people down to The Parkway in Richland, and watch it become a lively entertainment and dining district for people in the Tri-Cities. Partnerships with businesses like The Paper Street Brewery Co., providing a place to gather before and after shows, is just one example of how we’re striving to reach out to new people.
Each season, The Richland Players puts on 40 performances, attended by more than 8,300 patrons. We have two exciting shows to finish this season.
100 Lunches, a great gourmet comedy, premieres in March. To end our season in May, we are producing Frost / Nixon, a fictionalization of the famous interviews that David Frost conducted with ex-president Richard Nixon in 1977, as a part of Nixon’s efforts to improve his image. What a great way to emphasize an exciting presidential election year. Next year’s season is just as thrilling with newer shows and classic favorites. We’ll kick off the 2016-17 season in September with Cyrano De Bergerac, followed by a Christmastime “who-dunnit” thriller, Ken Ludwig’s The Games Afoot. We’ll continue to bring out the laughs and drama well into 2017, with Our Lady of The Tortilla, Calendar Girls, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Great shows like these all have one thing in common — volunteers. The board’s reorganizational effort is in full swing. We have a new website, and soon you can purchase tickets from Facebook in addition to our regular methods. We want to find ways to continue to serve our community and our patrons. We are looking at bringing additional events to the theater, such as radio-shows, one-weekend-only productions, and maybe some music and open mic opportunities.
We want to make everyone’s experience with The Richland Players a positive one; whether you’re performing on stage, taking tickets at the door, or finding new funding sources, volunteering should be a fun and rewarding experience. We are in need of volunteers, so consider how you can get involved, and come join us in giving back to the Tri-Cities community.
As the president of the board, I hope to hear from the community that we serve. Whether it’s suggestions on how we can improve things, information on sponsorships or partnering opportunities, or plays you’d like to see, I’m reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past year we have also hired our first ever general manager to help run the business of our theater. Michael Wutzke brings with him decades of theater and performing arts experience, as well as the business management skills needed to help our theater continue to thrive. Our board meetings are open to everyone. For more information, go to our website at www.richlandplayers.org, find us on Facebook/Twitter, or visit the theater at 608 The Parkway in Richland.
We look forward to seeing you at the theater.