Auditions for Parcel Players Summer Season at Towngate

Parcel Players at Towngate

School will soon be out, and it will once again be time for Parcel Players to take the stage. Towngate Theatre’s summer program, for ages 13 through college age, gives kids and young adults the opportunity to participate in a fabulous program with a long history.

The Origin of Parcel Players

Parcel Players began in 1967, two years before Towngate Theatre was founded. Players originally performed at the B&O Railroad parcel room (which is now WV Northern Community College), hence the name “Parcel Players.”  The program celebrates 50 years this year and is the longest running program at Towngate.

The Program Today

Today, Parcel Players continues to engage young performers and get them involved in theater during the summer months.

Oglebay Institute’s director of performing arts Tim Thompson said Parcels Players provides many positive benefits. For example, even those new to theater can get involved because you don’t need experience to participate.

“Many young actors, technicians and crew members have started their career doing Parcel Players. Even though the plays have experienced leadership, the entire productions are done by the students. They can perform in the play, help paint the sets, find costumes, run lights or sound, stage manage and even assistant direct. Those who do have experience can gain more and hone skills in all aspects of theater. Finally, they should get involved because it is FUN!”

Participants can expect hands-on learning. “These are not classes; they are productions. You learn how a play is produced from beginning to end by participating.”

How much time is required?

Time commitment varies for those involved in Parcel Players. Actors in the plays can expect 25-30 two-hour rehearsals and four performances. Performances take place Wednesday-Saturday while rehearsals are held Sunday-Thursday with occasional Saturdays if needed.

“Not everyone is needed at every rehearsal,” Tim said.  “We try our best to be flexible so kids can have free nights, vacations and simply a break. Crew and tech people meet with designers and tech director as needed and when available. So, if you have little time to commit this may be best way to participate. The acting takes the most time because of the need to be prepared for the performances and the teamwork that must be established with the cast.”

The 2017 Parcel Players Plays

The plays this summer are exciting and classic plays.

Based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island is adventurous and fun. swashbuckling pirates sword fight and search for treasure. Towngate veteran Daniel Loh directs the show. Loh has helped with theater camps and delighted students with his teaching and audiences with his acting.

“Daniel is very talented, and kids will love working with him,” Tim said.
“He is a student at West Liberty and has been a student in our classes when younger and a Parcel Player.”

The second show is Godspell, a rock-musical based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew. It requires 10-13 actors who love acting, singing and dancing, as each actor stays on stage the entire show. It has fabulous music and a plot that encourages fellowship and community.

Godspell is a play every actor should experience,” Tim said. “This is the first play I was in 41 years ago, and it made me want to be an actor. Everyone loves Godspell.”

Tim directs Godspell with Walt Warren as music director and Cheryl Pompeo as choreographer. Dave Henderson will design the set. A first-rate, top-notch team to lead this group of Parcel Players!

Audition and be a part of Parcel Players!

Auditions for Parcel Players summer season take place May 30 and 31 at 7PM at Towngate Theatre.

No preparation is needed for auditions. Those auditioning will be asked to read some scenes from a script and potentially do some improvisation. Those auditioning for Godspell will also be asked to sing and learn a few dance steps.

“If you want to bring a prepared song to sing, that is permitted but in no way required,” Tim said.

Kids can also participate in set construction, painting, properties, lights, sound, stage management, assistant directing and costumes.

Keeping the Community in Community Theater in Wheeling. . .

Towngate is a cornerstone of creative life in Wheeling and serves as an entertainment destination for residents of the Ohio Valley and beyond. People of all ages and backgrounds gather here to create and experience art onstage. Most of all, Towngate celebrates the essential power of theater to illuminate our common humanity.

In addition to community theater, Towngate also offers poetry and spoken word performances, children’s theater, ballet, improvisational comedy and live music.  Towngate is also a single screen cinema and is home to the Wheeling Film Society. Changing art exhibitions are featured in The Gallery at Towngate, and children and adults can enroll in theater classes and workshops.