Avon Players: Over 70 Years of Community Theatre

Photo source: Facebook "Avon Players Theatre"

By ALEXANDRA LOYD

If you’re from the Rochester area, you’ve surely heard of Avon Players. A local theatre group founded in 1947 by enthusiasts who share a common love for the thrill of drama and performing live, Avon Players is a nonprofit community theatre group located in the Historic District of Rochester Hills, only two miles from the heart of downtown Rochester.

A typical season for the Avon Players includes five full-scale productions, made possible by the troupe’s volunteers and annually elected e-board committee. From Titanic, A Christmas Story, Boeing Boeing, and Dial M for Murder, Avon Players has done it all, covering a multitude of different ranges of genres and audience tastes.

Currently, the group is running the adaption of the wildly popular novel, The Bridges of Madison County.

“Although it’s the book that made the story famous, what audiences should be most excited for is the brilliant score by composer Jason Robert Brown and the amazingly talented singers in our cast who will just wow you!” says John Deierlein, current president of the organization.

Since its founding, Avon Players’ seasons have included award-winning dramas, British farces, Broadway musicals, and more, and for sometimes less than half the price of one ticket for the same show at a “downtown venue.”

“What many folks can’t believe after seeing a show at Avon Players is that the entire cast and production team is made up of community members,” says Deierlein. “The level of talent in the greater Rochester area just blows my mind and it is evident every night on stage at Avon! We have heard comments time after time from patrons who were used to paying top dollar seeing theatre productions at larger venues and can’t believe they are just as entertained by our local talent for a fraction of the cost.”

Avon Players continually supports and gives back to our community. Aside from offering high-quality, professional, theatrical entertainment for a very affordable price while offering community members an outlet to show off their talents, the group also hosts a smaller sixth production each season, made up of local youth in grades six through 12, where youngsters gain experience and training in the performing arts through youth theatre workshops and a summer camp.

A lot of the main productions need child actors, and those children are chosen from the talented group of kids in the youth theatre programs. A lot of Avon’s students have gone on the appear in local commercials, and some have even moved to New York City to pursue their acting dreams that were born at Avon.

“As a kid, I was a part of the youth theatre program at Avon, appearing on stage in several kids’ shows, and have been an adult member of the group for almost 30 years,” explains Deierlein.

Aside from acting, the students also get to learn how to build scenery, make costumes, work the lights and sound, and even direct shows.

To learn more, visit Avonplayers.org, and be sure to catch their upcoming performances at the Avon Playhouse, located at 1185 Washington Rd.