Documentary about the history of the Community Players of Concord premieres

  • 800 vintage photographs from the Community Players archives were digitized and restored for the ConcordTV documentary, The Players – the 95-Year History of the Community Players of Concord NH. Pictured (left to right) Robert A. Stuart, Ruth Osborne and Harriet Strong. All were active in the Players’ heyday, the fifties. Courtesy

Published: 9/20/2022 2:54:19 PM
Modified: 9/20/2022 2:53:40 PM

The Walker Lecture Series presents the premiere of the documentary The Players: The 95-Year History of the Community Players of Concord NH. Produced by ConcordTV, the project was created over the last year with support from NH Humanities.

The Community Players provided ConcordTV full access to an extensive archive of stage photographs, vintage programs, theatre posters and documents dating back to their founding in 1927.

Additional photos from Concord Public Library, the Friends of the Concord City Auditorium and private collectors are featured, along with insights and memories from 24 members of the Community Players.

The theatre group was founded by a small group of stage-bound local thespians in the fall of 1927 to put on a comedy entitled “The Mollusc” by Hubert Henry Davies. In the midst of the Depression, the group hired a professional director for $75. Veroqua Sheldon Lovgren saw the potential of the fledgling amateurs and honed their skills, and polished their productions over the next decade to a semi-professional level. In their post-war heyday, the Community Players featured popular Broadway plays and partnered with Concord Music Club to present large scale musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein, such as “Oklahoma!” “Carousel” and “South Pacific.”

Harold Cheney, Ruth and Winslow Osborne, Arthur Bean, Harriet and Osmond Strong became familiar faces on the Concord stage in the 1930s and 1940s – soon joined by Robert Stuart, Frank Gardner and Betty Abbott in the 1950s. While consistently presenting a full season of plays, the Community Players turned their focus to finding a permanent home. Taking more than fifteen years of hard work to realize, the Players studio opened its doors in 1997, accommodating rehearsals, set-building, storage and the largest costume collection in the state.

Today, the Community Players continue to present plays large and small, serve as a resource to theatres throughout the region, and are home to the Children’s Theatre Project, now in its 26th year, providing creative opportunities for young performers in the Concord area.

The documentary was written by Jim Webber of ConcordTV, who first joined the Community Players in 1977, working mostly as a set designer and director.

The Walker Lecture Series premiere of The Player: the 95-Year History of the Community Players of Concord NH will include a talkback with members of the Community Players and filmmakers of ConcordTV, who produced the documentary. The film will subsequently be shown on ConcordTV’s public access channel.

The event will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at Concord City Auditorium. Admission is free. For event information, go to walkerlecture.org.




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