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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 


A HISTORY OF

NATIONAL PLAYERS


Currently a program of Olney Theatre Center, National Players has earned a unique name

and place in American theater.  After 58 consecutive seasons of touring, this remarkable

acting company has given approximately 6,600 performances and workshops on plays by

Shakespeare, O'Neill, Moliere, Shaw, Kafka, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Tom

Stoppard and Peter Shaffer (Play History).  National Players has performed for the public in

35 states and 10 foreign countries, reaching young audiences in areas that are isolated

geographically or economically -- audiences that would otherwise never see quality live

performances of classic plays.  (Click here for National Player FUN FACTS)

 

National Players was founded through the efforts of one man, Father Gilbert V.

Hartke, the founder and long-time chair of the Speech and Drama department

of Catholic University of America.  Father Hartke's vision led to the founding of

Players, Incorporated in 1949.  Since 1949, a single twin-bill truck-and-station-

wagon company, traveling under the banner of "Players, Incorporated,"

"University Players, " "Players," and finally "National Players," has continued to

bring classic productions across the country from September to May. 

 

Richard Bauer and Halo WinesAfter an extensive nationwide search, the directors choose from among the

most talented graduates of the country's top college and university

theater programs to become members of the touring company. Continuing

in the tradition of traveling players, the youthful troupe is totally involved in

every aspect of the plays they perform.  They arrive a few hours before

their scheduled performance to prepare each stage: raise the set, hang

and focus the lights, check sound equipment and props, arrange dressing

rooms, and perhaps run a brush-up rehearsal before donning costumes

and make-up.  When the final curtain falls, they do everything in reverse. 

Like the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the Old Vic in London, National Players companies

function smoothly as a team.  (Click here for audition information)

 

Chris Saranden and ?The National Players have a history of excellence and have received

accolades not only from their audiences, but from such luminaries as

Walter Kerr, drama critic emeritus of the New York Times; Patrick Hayes,

founder and managing director of the Washington Performing Arts Society;

and the late Helen Hayes, first lady of the American theater.  Players' alumni

prominent on Broadway, television and in films include such names as John

Heard, Lawrence Luckinbill, Gino Conforti, Daniel Hugh-Kelly, Stan

Wojewodski (former Dean of the Yale School of Drama) and David Richards

(head drama critic for the New York Times).  Most recently, National Players

received special recognition from The Shakespeare Guild, presenter of The Golden Quill,

the Sir John Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts. (Click here for a complete list

of Players verterans)

 

Jon Cohn and Cary Gillett (Duschl)While National Players has a proven track record for

developing young theatrical talent (an astonishing 70% of

National Players veterans are working in the theater or related

fields), it is also committed to the development of young

theater audiences.  Through its production of plays and

workshops with dramatic integrity and value, the company

seeks to instill in its audiences an appreciation for the

experience of theatergoing.  This interaction between the

company of actors and its audiences bears witness to the

potency of the idea of young actors engaging young audiences.  These audiences

discover the power and delight of some of the world's most enduring literature brought

to life specifically for their appreciation.  This is education at its best: direct, powerful

and enlightening.

 

[PLAY HISTORY]  [FUN FACTS] [PLAYERS VERTERANS]

 

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National Players is an educational outreach program of

Click here for OTC Web site!

 

Send mail to bgillett@nationalplayers.org with questions or comments about this web site.
2006 Olney Theatre Center (T/A National Players)
Last modified: 03/23/06