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Richland Players: Live theater celebrates 75 years of performances in the Tri-Cities

The Richland Players are one of the longest, continuously running community theaters on the West Coast.
The Richland Players are one of the longest, continuously running community theaters on the West Coast. Courtesy Richland Players

It’s surprising how often people ask, We have live theater here in the Tri-Cities? Yes we do! The Richland Players are one of the longest, continuously running community theaters on the West Coast.

Even after 75 years, The Players continue both to make progress and to be progressive.

What started as the Richland Village Players in 1944 has become The Richland Players of today. We are committed to serving the Mid-Columbia by entertaining, inspiring, and educating audiences and artists through the shared experience of live theater. The Board of Directors of The Richland Players, along with our general manager and membership are working diligently to ensure we continue to provide live theater for all generations for years to come. This includes maintenance and building improvements; becoming more inclusive and opening up our facility to other community organizations, offering new and exciting plays and growing our volunteer base.

Our building was a movie house in the 1940s and so it requires constant repair. Players are working on a strategy for finding sponsors and grants to keep up with those repairs. Fundraisers are also being planned as we look at making physical improvements and artistic expansion as well. Some of the items on our wish list include refurbishing our marquee, repainting our auditorium, expanding our hospitality area, and upgrading our sound system.

Our organization is always looking for people interested in all forms of volunteerism. As the saying goes, many hands make light work. We encourage our community and local businesses to come see our theater and become inspired. It is important to note that the 2019-2020 Season will mark our 75th Season! Almost seven and a half decades of social interaction is what makes The Richland Players thrive.

The Players also have embarked on expanding our diversity and opening up our facility to the community and to other area organizations. We want represent not only Richland but also Kennewick and Pasco. We are proud to be part of the Painted Pianos Project. The Richland Players will be providing patriotic speeches every 4th of July in front of the theater. We are working to install a new movie screen with plans to bring back some of the older classic movies and possibly build a partnership with the Tri-Cities Film Club.

We have opened our doors to the Richland Farmers Market, allowing people to tour and appreciate our historic building. We have hosted Halloween in the Parkway. The Players invite high school drama clubs to volunteer during performances and we love having them. We are most looking forward to working alongside the other wonderful performing arts groups in our area: MCMT, Mid-Columbia Master Singers, Academy of Childrens Theatre, Mid-Columbia Ballet and the Rude Mechanicals.

The Richland Players are a community theater and therefore totally dependent on our volunteers. Our directors, producers, actors, crew, and front of house are all people from our community and it is what makes our theater family. We are always looking for volunteers to assist us in our productions. Without them, we would not be here.

I have been a Players volunteer since 2002. It has brought me a lot of joy, an abundance of friends, and a multitude of memories. There are many volunteer opportunities here at The Richland Players: set design and construction, props, lighting and sound design, costuming, make-up and hair stylists, set dressers, stage crew, plus ushers, and hospitality. If you don’t think you have the skills to volunteer, come by and we will teach you!

We have several committees that always welcome additional members: Facilities, Play Reading, Finance, Publicity, Producer/Director, Fundraising, Volunteer, Production, Scholarship, and Front of House. We celebrate and acknowledge our volunteers and their families with a barbecue every summer, and award those who are most outstanding. In actuality — all of our volunteers are outstanding!

Be sure to like us on Facebook and look up our website at Richlandplayer.org. You will find information about our history, photos and information about our productions, volunteer opportunities, and ticket purchasing. We pride ourselves with providing quality entertainment, bringing you new plays and old favorites. Thank you, Tri Cities, for your continued support!

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