Washington Street Players Celebrates 25th Anniversary

J.D. O’Gara
Issue Date: 
March, 2020
Article Body: 

A great theatre production in your own back yard? Check out the Washington Street Players, this spring celebrating 25 years since their first production. Nowadays, the community theatre group, which draws talent from experienced thespians from the area, puts on at least two plays a year as well as a scholarship fundraiser every other year. Next month, they’ll present Charlie Cox Runs with Scissors, from April 17-25, a black comedy about a protagonist facing a terminal illness with a handful of quarky characters around him.
Karen Dinehart encourages the Holliston community, if they haven’t yet, to check out the talent demonstrated in the group. She’s its President and Artistic Director, who chooses plays, picks directors and puts the season together.
“In terms of the quality of the sets and things like that, it’s not going to be on par with Broadway, but the acting is just as good as anything you’re going to see in Boston, and, we’ve got some really great directors, a great tech crew and some of us, including myself, went to school for acting and directing.”
Some productions are costlier than others, says Dinehart.
“I try to pick plays that don’t necessarily have to have a big set all the time,” says Dinehart, who explains lead director Rich Greaves also helps with a lot of sets and the lighting. Dinehart says she likes to balance plays that require bigger sets, like Washington Street Players’ most recent production of Arsenic and Old Lace, with smaller ones.
The theatre group doesn’t get any outside funding, so the group stretches funds creatively.
“We use the money that we make from the last show to put on the next,” says Dinehart. In fact, she says, sometimes musicals, such a recent show the group did, can be expensive. “You’ve got to pay the orchestra and musical director and director, and the royalties are a lot more,” says Dinehart.
The artistic director also encourages people to join in producing plays.
“I would love to see more people from Holliston come and try out,” says Dinehart, who advertises upcoming auditions on their own website (www.wspplayers.net or www.washingtonstreetplayers.org ), their Facebook page, and a local community theatre website (www.yourtheater411.com), and puts up flyers around town. “About a quarter of our cast is from Holliston and more come from surrounding towns, sometimes from an hour away, sometimes people from Medway, Millis, Framingham and Milford. Way back when, when Washington Street Players first started, it was made up pretty much from people from Holliston, but I would just love more people in town to know about it and feel they could come and try out. And of course, there’s always backstage people, too. That’s a great way to get involved, if someone just wanted to do the props on the show, they can just come and do props.”
The experience of putting on a play is a lot of fun, Dinehart says. “It’s a great social thing to do, a great outlet for creative, artistic kinds of people. You create bonds with the people you’re in a show with. You’ll have experiences you’ll share forever, and inside jokes, and all of that kind of stuff.”