“The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation.”
The Marco Players has been the driving force behind presenting “truth” for the last 20 plus years—frequently through the use of humor. And if you want to know the impact they have had on the community, do the math. Start by reflecting on the myriad of audiences who have been served over the course of that time frame by the dedication of the organization itself and those who opt to participate in whatever capacity meets their needs.
Let’s start with the most common perception of the word “audience” as it relates to theatre—butts in seats. People come to theatre primarily to be entertained—except, perhaps, those who are dragged kicking and screaming by theatre-loving mates. Even then, everyone usually comes away with something satisfying that they hadn’t expected. Entertainment generates happiness—a sense of well-being, provokes new thought and relieves the “ho-hum” of daily life. With an 83-seat capacity, you can crunch the numbers on how many theatre-goers have been inspired, stimulated or had their troubles disappear for a couple of hours. Thousands!
Ticket-buyers are not the only ones whose well-being is enhanced at The Marco Players. This organization has provided an opportunity for countless experienced and wannabe thespians to tread the boards. Ages, backgrounds, genders, ethnicities—all have been welcomed with open arms and given the opportunity to ply their skills, learn new ones, or rejuvenate, hone and enhance old ones. Technical aspects aside, every actor will tell you that a pseudo “family” is born with every production, leading to new friendships, new interpersonal experiences and the satisfaction of conquering a challenge, be it as simple as learning the lines or overcoming the heebie-jeebies of stage fright. In the 2021/2022 Season, six fully-staged productions will provide the opportunity for 39 actors to pray their audiences will applaud when the curtain comes down. And that’s not including the Readers’ Theatre presentations that provide opportunities for actors who do not have the time, inclination or ability to learn lines. (My personal opinion is that Readers’ Theatre is a more difficult challenge for an actor because there are none of the other trappings of costumes, props and sets to fall back on to create a character. But I digress...)
And then there are the directors. While many of the local community and professional theatres in SWFL demand experienced directors, The Marco Players lays out a red carpet to both experienced and new directors. We are fortunate here in our area to have a cadre of old pros who are willing to serve as mentors to the up-and-coming, including Marco’s Artistic Director Beverly Dahlstrom. (Forget the “old” when it comes to Dahlstrom!). Over the lifetime of The Marco Players more than 100 directors—give or take—have been able to keep their hand in, try new genres, or learn the ropes without fear of failure.
“World Premiere” is not a new thing to The Marco Players and to a playwright, it is pure gold. What most people don’t know is that the most respected play publishing companies will not consider a work that has not been produced and reviewed. Most of the other community and professional theatres in our area will not touch unpublished or non-established work. Those of us who ply the pen are privileged to work with an organization that is willing to take the risk with untested works. Between the 2020 and 2022 Seasons, at least four original works have been presented as World Premieres. Kudos to The Marco Players for being square one for a future Tony!
And for every production, every performance, there is a cadre of support personnel—set designers, set construction personnel, costumer designers, and props coordinators, crews to move the set pieces and place the props, dressers, ushers, ticket takers, reception hosts. For all, it’s a chance to be part of a larger effort, to get out of the house, to use their brains, to meet new people — all those things that contribute to a greater good and to making one’s own life better into the bargain.
While primarily The Marco Players is a volunteer organization, it couldn’t operate without it’s paid staff. At the end of the day, these are the unsung heroes who believe in the power of theatre and who go the extra mile for each and every production. When other organizations were forced to close their doors during the COVID pandemic, The Marco Players kept on keeping on, finding unique ways to connect with its community both locally and in parts north. That connection meant the world to people whose lives were turned upside down by a new reality.
And finally, The Marco Players in non-pandemic times attracts approximately 8,500 visitors to Marco Island every year. The local restaurants and shops all benefit from its presence.
If you want to know the value of non-profits in our world, do the math, and look no further than The Marco Players as a shining example.
My first summer volunteering with The Marco Players was approaching local businesses to sell advertising space in the production playbills for the 2013-14 season. Small business owners have a great impression of the theater; many of them shared fond stories of a family member or friend who have acted, volunteered or attended performances.
With committed board members, a visionary leader, and a strong community following from advertisers, sponsors, donors, and patrons, this little theater is truly a gem filled with good people who get an "A" for effort and professionalism.
Working with The Marco Players is a wonderful experience. Whether performing on stage or helping out backstage you find yourself working beside capable, friendly people. The quality of their shows are excellent. It may be small but it's DYNAMITE It truly is The Greatest Little Theater in Southwest Florida
As a retired educator of English, speech and drama for Minneapolis Public Schools in Minnesota, I was a director of high school plays and musical productions. Since 1998, when I came to Marco, my favorite cultural activity has been to attend all of the Marco Player productions.
I presently am a member of their Play Reading Committee to select plays for the upcoming season. My husband and I are Angels for the theatre. I hold season tickets annually, for their four plays, 4 Lunch Box Series, and the two Children's productions.
The commitment of volunteers in putting together superb productions is exemplary. Under the leadership of a skilled, compatible President/Artistic Director, who with her board, crew and casts, send audiences away after shows on Marco, anticipating the joy of the next production in the Marco Players Theatre.
I saw "Last Chance for Love Last Season" it was wonderful and far exceeded my expectations. The acting and opera was right on perfectly professional. The stage set was interesting, inventive and professional. The sound was excellent. The entire presentation was excellent. I have seen many Marco Players shows and each was consistently good. Phyllis Pransky Artist
The Greatest Little Theatre in Southwest Florida. It has the Greatest sets too.
I am a board member & volunteer at The Marco Players Theater. I have a great opportunity to be creative & always learn new techniques of "illusion" and stage presence. Everyday is a challenge with so many triumphs. My only hope is that others will find the fun & joy of our little theater. Please join us .
During my winter stay on Marco Island I attend every play put on by The Marco Players. Not only have they built a small professional quality theatre but you can also choose and book your seats on line. Their productions are well chosen and superbly cast and I look forward to every new show. I visit from Jersey in the Channel Islands (Google it), where I am a similar admirer of the JADC (Jersey Amateur Dramatic Society) an equally dedicated bunch of volunteers. Keep up the good work. Charles
I had the honor and privilege of acting with five other veteran actors and many other volunteers in the November, 2012 production of "Plaza Suite." The staff was always professional, especially the Stage Carpenter, Jim Swanker, who recreated the suite at New York's Plaza Hotel with an exquisite attention to detail. All crew, lighting, sound, ushers, stage managers contributed many hours of their time to allow this production to be personally rewarding and successful.
The Marco Players' tradition of having the actors interact outside on the sidewalk after the show was also a rewarding touch and allowed me to thank the patrons who were delighted to be entertained. This venue is a precious gem on Marco Island and deserves much praise with Artistic Director, Beverly Dahlstrom at the helm.
Many theater organizations are extremely cliquey and difficult to "penetrate" because of this phenomenon- The Marco Players is NOT one of them, I am pleased to say.
Each season when we visit Marco Island I try to get to a production of The Marco Players - at least one show or more. The shows I've seen have all been great for a small theatre group. Friendly people from the box office to the players themselves. Seats are comfortable and I always enjoy the complimentary drinks/snacks served at intermission. If you're visiting Marco Island be sure to catch one of their shows - if you go once you will want to return.