The Richland Players’ board of directors looks toward the future of the theater and the historical building that it resides in, under the mission statement “Entertainment, Inspiration, Education — The Richland Players Theatre is 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 are continually seeking input and action from our community, financially and with volunteer hours.
According to local history, on March 3, 1944, a meeting was held in the Richland Grange Hall with about 30 people. They adopted a constitution, elected a board of directors and officially created The Richland Players. Seventy-plus years later, The Richland Players is the longest continuous-running community theater in Washington. 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.
Like every nonprofit organization, there are many challenges in running our theater. Our 70-year-old building is in need of repairs. This past year alone saw three roof leaks, electrical problems, sound system improvements, new windows and many other facility-related issues. We are committed in the next year to exploring new community partnerships and sponsorships to help with capital improvement projects. We will be seeking out ways to preserve this piece of history we claim in downtown Richland.
Each season, The Richland Players puts on 40 performances that are attended by more than 8,300 patrons. We’ll finish this season with another classic, Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon, opening May 1.
Next year’s season is just as exciting with newer shows and classic favorites. We’ll kick off that season Sept. 11 with the comedy Same Time Next Year, followed by a play of the Oscar-winning film Ordinary People, opening Nov. 6. January 2016 will bring the classic Dial M for Murder. We’ll bring the laughs out for an amazing comedy, 100 Lunches, opening March 11, and finish off our 71st season with Frost/Nixon, opening May 13. With 2016 being an election year, it will be a great time to enjoy this portrayal of the David Frost interviews of Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal.
Shows like these all have one thing in common — volunteers. The board of directors is starting a bold reorganizational effort to concentrate on how best to serve our community and the theater. 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-City community.
As the president of the board, I hope to hear from you, 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 email@example.com. Our board meetings are typically the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at the theater, and open to everyone. For more information, go to www.richlandplayers.org. We look forward to seeing you at the theater.