The Village Players History
In 1966, a group of the Fort Thomas Woman's Club met to form a community theatre known as The Village Players of Fort Thomas. They, their families, and others renovated and rebuilt the theater in the lower level of the Fort Thomas Woman's Club. It is located at 8 North Fort Thomas Avenue, Fort Thomas, Kentucky. The original seats were obtained from a renovated bowling alley.
The first season opened with a production of The Solid Gold Cadillac in May 1967. The production was well received by the community. As a chapter of the Woman's Club, Village Players (VP) grants automatic membership in the Fort Thomas Woman's Club - women with full membership and men with associate membership (no voting privileges). Junior members of Village Players do not pay dues. Village Players season runs June 1 through May 31 of the following year. In its second season (1967 - 1968), VP presented three productions - one each in November, February and May. VP also became an active member of the Association of Community Theatres of Greater Cincinnati (ACT) and the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA), excerpting a scene from Guest in the House. Later the group also became a member of the Kentucky Theatre Association (KTA). In 1979, a new addition was built at the rear of the theater, known as "Bustle & Boards." It was a storage and workshop area for set construction and costume storage. This provided additional room in the lobby. In 1980, the lobby and restrooms were renovated. In 1981, the dressing room was renovated and a new computerized lighting panel was installed. When the Palace Theatre in Cincinnati was scheduled for demolition in 1983, Village Players was given permission to retrieve the seats from the upper balcony. A hearty crew of volunteers rose to the task of disassembling the seats, hauling them down three flights of steps, transporting, reassembling, and installing them at the Village Players theater. In 1985, air conditioning was installed in the theater, thereby permitting the group to present year-round productions. In 1986, the playing area was enlarged by 4 feet. That season opened with VP's first musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. During the 1990-1991 season, a children's production, My Friend, the Fox, was added. It proved to be highly successful, with sold-out houses, and Village Players has mounted a children's show every December since. In 1995, a second floor addition was completed above the "Bustle & Boards." The first floor space was now for available exclusively as a workshop for set construction, leaving the second floor addition for costume, prop, and dÃ©cor storage.
In 1999, the theater, lobby, and dressing room were renovated. New seats were installed in the theater. A state-of-the-art computerized lighting system was installed. A modern sound system was added. Handicapped access to the theatre was added. In 2008, a complete rewiring of the stage lighting system was accomplished.
Currently the facility consists of the main theater with tiered seating for 102; a thrust stage; lighting and sound rooms; lobby; ticket booth; dressing room; check room; refreshment counter; restrooms; workshop; and costume/prop storage room.
The proceeds from the spring shows were originally donated to "Camp Sunshine," a camp for underprivileged children of Campbell County. By 2003, over $95,000 had been contributed. After "Camp Sunshine" closed, the group continued its tradition of giving, choosing a new charity by membership nomination and vote every year. In addition, Village Players provides up to two scholarships per year to high school seniors majoring in the arts.
Village Players has received numerous awards from the Association of Community Theatres (ACT) and the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA) over the years, competing at the regional and state levels of OCTA and the Kentucky Theatre Association (KTA). A number of Village Players members have been honored with the Art Rouse, Mario Pitocco, and Roger Grooms award, given annually by the ACT.