In the Beginning
In the spring of 1974 John and Nancy Keller suggested to the PTO that it sponsor a musical comedy featuring Thurston Elementary School parents and teachers. The Kellers agreed to produce and direct the production and that summer the original script and musical scores were written, the dances choreographed, and the sets were designed. The Kellers enthusiasm caught on and others joined the project. In March 1975, "The Great Cat-B" played to capacity crowds at Clague School Auditorium.
Elated by this first success, the PTO agree to continue sponsorship of this project in 1976 and 1977. As this annual production became a tradition, those involved decided to organize and become the Thurston Community Players.
The Thurston play became an annual fundraiser, and over time, other adults, including Thurston teachers and neighbors who did not have children at the school, joined the fun. In 1997, Thurston students were included in the cast, and as those children grew up, middle school, high school, and even college students began participating in the plays, making this a truly multi-generational group. A typical cast for a show runs to well over 100 actors ranging in age from 5 to past 75; many more people work backstage and in other production areas.
Each year a group of volunteers comes up with the plot for a play, and a script is written. The Lyrics Committee selects songs and writes lyrics, and the choreographers create dance numbers. Auditions are low-stress; everyone who auditions gets a part as long as they are willing to work hard, be team players, and have fun. From January to March we rehearse in the Clague Middle School Auditorium three nights a week, and performances are typically held the last weekend in March.
Why We Do It
Through the years the objective has been to provide an opportunity for Thurston parents and teachers to become acquainted with each other in a fun social atmosphere. The results have been in the form of tangible support for the PTO with additional funds, as well as intangible. These plays have brought the community together and has formed bonds of friendship and cooperation with those in our community. It is an annual tradition that cannot be missed.