St. Clair Shores Players Group History

As written by Les Wilson - Longest continuous member of the St. Clair Shores Players


In the spring of 1959, Jackie Duemling, a young mother of four, started a discussion about Community Theater with Don Moenart and Kenny Revoir, two citizens of the city of St. Clair Shores. Each of these three were members of the Warren Theater Guild, then the nearest community theater group to the city of St. Clair Shores. This discussion lead each of these three to ask the question, "Why doesn't St. Clair Shores have its own community theater group?" Admittedly, St. Clair Shores had only become a city less than 10 years earlier (incorporated January 15, 1951), but this was certainly no barrier. Seeing no real reason not to form a group, the three decided to do just that. They advertised the formation of the new group in the local newspaper and at the first meeting of the group, 51 enthusiastic citizens turned out and paid their dues to become charter member of the St. Clair Shores Community Players (this name was later changed to the St. Clair Shores Players). Since membership dues were only $1.00, the new group found itself with $51.00 in the bank. This same $51.00 would need to be used to cover all the expenses for their first production. With funding at a minimum, the group's first show would need to be a low budget affair with little in the way of costumes, scenery, or, for that matter, stage and theater. The play that was selected was a courtroom drama; Ayn Rand's "The Night Of January 16th." Seeing the possibility of a low budget theater, the group approached the St. Clair Shores city council and requested to use the newly completed Council Chambers as their stage and theater for this first production. After some consideration, the Council granted its permission. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when Tom Welch, then the Mayor of St. Clair Shores, agreed to play the part of the Judge in the production. In the end, the play was performed on two nights to capacity crowds. The audiences were delighted. Better still, once the bills had been paid, it was discovered that the original $51.00 in the bank had blossomed to over $400.00! The group was well on its way.

Since these humble beginnings, the group has performed well over 100 shows. The group's home theater has moved several times throughout the years. They have performed at the Chippewa Jr. High School, South Lake High School, and since 1979, the group has been performing at the Italian American Cultural Center.

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