Remembering the Town Hall Players


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Photo by Penny Brown Napoli Brenda Watts (left) and John Voakes of the Town Hall Players performing in the play “Butterflies are Free” in January 1991 at Groveport Town Hall.
Photo by Penny Brown Napoli
Brenda Watts (left) and John Voakes of the Town Hall Players performing in the play “Butterflies are Free” in January 1991 at Groveport Town Hall.

Did you know there was a community theatre group that once thrived in Groveport?

The Town Hall Players performed a variety of plays on the stage in the second floor auditorium of Groveport Town Hall from 1982-85 and from 1986-92.

Groveport resident Brenda Watts was a member of the Town Hall Players and said Groveport Madison High School theatre teacher Carmen Buckalew started the group in 1982 primarily with student actors from the high school as well as a few recent high school graduates.

“Carmen recognized we were wanting more theatrical experience beyond acting in school plays,” said Watts. “We wanted to do more shows and continue to enjoy the experience.”
Watts said the first incarnation of Town Hall Players had about 15 core members.

“Our first show at Groveport Town Hall was ‘Dirty Work at the Crossroads,’” Watts said. “We had a board that managed the group and chose the plays we’d perform. We only did summer shows at first, about two or three a year.”

Watts said the acting troupe broke up briefly in 1985, but area resident Myron Boetticher spearheaded the effort to bring it back to life in 1986 with an initial performance of “Our Town” in the summer of 1987.

“The actors in the second incarnation of Town Hall Players were mostly adults, about 30 of us,” said Watts. “Because we were adults we were able to do more shows year round. We did about five or six a year. At our height our performances drew audiences of 115 to 120 people to the Town Hall auditorium.”

Watts said performing in the 19th century era Groveport Town Hall auditorium presented some challenges for the acting troupe.

“Well, the pole in the middle of the floor presented a problem,” said Watts. “We had to arrange audience seats so the pole wouldn’t block sight lines. But we also used the pole. When we did ‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,’ we built Snoopy’s house around the pole and made it a theatre-in-the-round for that performance.”

Watts said for the performance of “Once Upon a Mattress” the group turned the pole into a tree with tissue paper leaves.

She said the group also adapted to their surroundings by temporarily expanding the small Town Hall stage by extending its apron at the front and sides. The stage steps and the space in front of the stage were also incorporated into some shows.

Watts said the Town Hall Players theatre troupe was a complete group effort.

“We operated on a lean budget,” she said. “The members did a little bit of everything – acting, directing, writing, handling props, lighting, stage crew, selling ads, and selling concessions.. It was a dedicated group of people. A true group effort. As actors we did it all – comedy, drama, danced, and sang.”

For several years in public relations efforts, Watts said the Town Hall Players walked in the Groveport Fourth of July parade in full costume to promote the theatre troupe.

“One year I walked the parade route as Snoopy,” she said.

Watts said she no longer acts, but added she does miss it.

“Acting instills confidence in a person,” said Watts. “Town Hall Players had a positive impact on me. I enjoyed working with a group of immensely talented people who wore many hats and put on wonderful performances for the community. It was so much fun and also a lot of work. We did some really great shows, had great actors, and had great camaraderie. We became very close friends and many of us are still in contact with each other. On any given night you can find us on Facebook lamenting how we all miss the theatre.”

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  1. My entire family was involved with Town Hall Players in the later years. Thanks for bringing back some very special memories.


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