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From History to Mainstream: The Story of the Lamoille County Players

By Elisha Neubauer

In 1952, the minister of a local Lamoille County church looked out from his window to the empty hall across the road, turned to his congregation and bellowed out, "Let's put on a show." The rest, as they say, was history.

The Church had been looking for a way to raise money for a new furnace and the empty Hyde Park Opera House seemed to be the perfect answer. The Church's production of The Mikado consisted of a cast and crew of over 70 locals and opened to an immense success.

So much success, in fact, that it laid the groundwork for the community theater group.

The play was hosted in September of 1952. It did its job and the church received a new furnace. However, the people involved in putting on the show decided it wasn't enough. They wanted more.

In April of 1953 a group calling itself the County Dramatic Group held its first meeting with the sole purpose of presenting a new production. While this was the birth of the company, it did not keep its name and shortly after announcing the second show to grace the Hyde Park Opera House's stage, the official name of the Lamoille County Players was put into place?along with bylaws and elected officers.

In the 40 years of the Players' history, the group has seen measurable success as a theater group. They have gone on to attract talent and audiences from all over the county, state, and even from around the country and have made drastic improvements to the ancient playhouse.

"There is nothing quite like live theater and a performance at the Hyde Park Opera House is imbued with a special energy shared between the performers and the audience," Perry Burnell, president, said. "Beyond coming to see a show I would strongly encourage anyone moving to the area to consider participating in the group."

The theater currently seats 300 and boasts a sloped auditorium floor and small balcony. The group aims to produce a minimum of four productions per year, two being musicals and two being straight plays.

"The casts and crews of these productions are all volunteers from the surrounding communities who come together to put on high quality, affordable shows for their friends, neighbors and area visitors," Burnell said.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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