Peninsula Players Executive Board Members
President: Anna Lorenz
Treasurer: Chantelle Schieven
Secretary: Yulia Ekeltchik
Webmaster: Haley Doehnel
Past President: Marketa Mellows
The History of The Peninsula Players
On November 24, 1952, a meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Hall in Sidney for “all persons interested in participating in the formation of the Sidney and North Saanich Community Theatre Group”. Given the unwieldiness of the title this group re-named itself as ‘The Peninsular Players’…..well, some of them did. Others felt the name was ‘The Peninsula Players’, and eventually after a brief period of confusion this became the agreed name of the group.
However, this wasn’t truly the start of community theatre in the area. Prior to the meeting in 1952 there had existed the ‘North Saanich Little Theatre Association’, which in turn had risen from the ashes of the ‘Deep Cove Drama Society’. No dates are known for the lifetime of either group, though the Deep Cove group is known to have been in existence in 1933, possibly for many years prior. Despite the changes of name a common thread of membership ran through the three groups. Membership in the Players cost $2.00 at the time of inception.
The Peninsular Players presented their first show on March 7, 1953, for one performance only at the North Saanich High School. The evening started with a performance of ‘The Pie and the Tart’ by students from Sidney School, followed by ‘High Tension’ and ‘Elmer Cleans Up’ by the Players. By June the name had changed, and The Peninsula Players presented two performances of an evening of one-act plays, ‘Heaven on Earth’, ‘In Black and White’ and ‘Fit as a Fiddle’. Whether or not the name change had confused the Press is hard to say, but several news items list these performances as the launch of the Players.
The first full-length production occurred on November 6 and 7,1953, ‘Laburnum Grove’ again at North Saanich High School, and all productions continued in that venue until 1957 when they re-located to Sidney Elementary School. However, one-act plays continued to be very popular and the Players presented nine such presentations in the first seven years of their existence. Oddly, none have been presented since 1959.
• The first Christmas show was presented in 1955. This was ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and was not presented as a traditional pantomime;
• The first musical production was ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’, done with an in-house band in 1977, and presented again in 1985;
• The first panto was ‘Dick Whittington’ in 1968 and this seems to have been the only foray into this genre until ‘Aladdin’ forty years later, though ‘Dingalingy Dragons’ came close in 1978;
• For the first twenty years or so shows were presented for two performances only; this increased gradually to four, then six and by the early 90’s shows were presented for eight performances;
• At least four shows have been done jointly with other groups, either as a split Bill or as a shared production;
• The Players first entered the BC Drama Festival in 1955 and have participated many times since then, winning many awards along the way.