On Thursday evening, the Old Academy Players were deep in rehearsals for the first two productions of their upcoming season. While Director Carla Childs supervised a rehearsal on the main stage, Director Jane Jennings supervised a table reading on the second floor.
The Old Academy building dates back to 1819 and is one of the oldest buildings in East Falls. Originally housing a school, from which it takes its name, it has since at various times served as a meeting hall, library, and church.
What is now known as the Old Academy Players took possession of the building in 1932. Actors and actresses rehearse in the main theater, on the second floor, where the building’s original stage is located, or at the Carfax building next door (named after Count Dracula’s castle), which dates to 1850 and is also maintained by the Players.
The cast and crew of the Players have a deep appreciation for the company’s long association with its community. For the members of the Old Academy Players, theater is necessarily a community-based enterprise.
Carla Childs, director of “The Lion in Winter,” explains that “Community theater is true community. We help each other. It’s truly a collaborative effort.”
Helga Krauss, producer of “As it is in Heaven,” underlined this point, stating that “Old Academy is our second family. We are very fond of each other. We enjoy each other, and we respect each other’s talents and gifts.”
This firm belief in the true camaraderie of the troupe of players was on display at the rehearsals Thursday, with each member of the company present assisting the directors and producers in deciding how best to bring the particular world of a play to the stage.
“The Lion in Winter,” written by James Goldman and directed by Carla Childs, opens on Sept. 12 and runs through the Sept. 28.
“As it is in Heaven,” written by Arlene Hutton and directed by Jane Jennings, opens on Nov. 7 and runs through the Nov. 23. “
Visit the Old Academy Players website for a look at the remainder of their season.