Thursday, October 6, 2016

History of Playmakers

Pulling together the history of Playmakers is relatively easy. There are a lot of documents (playbills, ticket stubs, programs), verbal narratives (tall stories, short stories, gossip), and a variety of miscellaneous ways to fill in the authentic historical details (newspaper articles, magazine articles, and personal memoirs written down through the years.)

My newspaper article written to tell Playmakers story is below. It was written in 1973 from many of the aforementioned sources, mainly though just through friends of mine who like to share their involvements with the area's premiere little theater effort. 

Click on the images to make them larger.

Page One

Page Two

In 1978, the following press release was sent out by Playmakers, Inc.

Playmakers Inc. was chartered in 1955 as an all-amateur, non-profit community theater serving the Covington area. In the past 28 years, it has grown to include members from all over the southern half of Louisiana, but has never operated for profit or maintained a hired staff, making Playmakers perhaps the oldest continuously operating all amateur theater in the United States.

The original old Barn

It has been traditional for Playmakers to produce four plays during the year, one of which is a musical. In July of 1976, while in rehearsal for Guys and Dolls, a fire destroyed the Playmakers theater, a 75 year old dairy barn near Covington. 

The loss was complete, and since the fire Playmakers productions have all been held in the auditorium at St. Joseph's Abbey. For storage and shop work, the group has rented a building in Covington.

On June 2, 1978, Playmakers will pour the slab for a new theater on the same site as the old "barn." The new building, designed by architect Arthur Middleton, will retain the rustic atmosphere of the "barn," and yet will be a thoroughly modern theater with seating for 175 playgoers. Due to the thrust design of the stage, no one in the audience will be seated more than 30 feet from the stage, creating a truly intimate setting for the group's plays.

The cost of the new theater will be approximately $125,000. To raise this much, Playmakers is continuing its fundraising drive and is launching its membership campaign for the 1978-1979 season. The cost of membership is as follows: Sustaining membership, $15/year; Student membership, $8/year; Active membership, $12/year; Patron membership (two tickets), $50/year; Lifetime Patron, (two tickets for life), $500.

Playmakers would like to thank the following groups and individuals for their unsolicited donations of materials and labor, which are making the dream of a new theater in Sans Souci Forest a reality:

  • Construction Materials Inc. of Baton Rouge
  • Atlas Steel and Wire Co. of Harahan
  • Core Contracting Co. of Covington
  • Prestressed Concrete Products Co. of Mandeville
  • Patterson and Yeary Steel Co., of Mt. Hermon, LA
  • Parish Concrete of Covington
  • Louisiana National Guard
  • Malcolm Maginnis Jr.
  • Terry Goodger
  • Arthur Middleton, III

A happy group of Alvin Award winners, mid-1970's




See also:

Playmakers Inc. Origins

Playmakers Awards

Playmakers Fire Brought Community Together

You Can't Take It With You 1975

The Barn Red Playmakers Barn

Playmakers Backstage

7th Annual Alvin Awards - Playmakers 1972

Oklahoma Comes To Covington

Pat Clanton

Ronnie Pogue

A Dog's Obituary