HLT History

In Hanover, at the time of organizing of the Recreation association, one of the groups included persons interested in drama. Several short one-act plays were given at the VA building, but it soon became apparent that a separate organization would be more practical. And so the Hanover Players was incorporated. Membership required only an interest in theatre.

In the spring of 1949, the first major production, THE LATE CHRISTOPHER BEAN was given at the Eichelberger High School auditorium. Rehearsals were held in a large room on the top floor of the First National Bank building on the square and scenery was stored in the barn on the property rented by the Red Cross, which was then on York Street. Sets were built on the stage the weekend preceding the performances and the shows were presented on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Two shows were given the next year and then a three-show season became the practice. Also, benefit performances were given for various groups. Only one children’s show was presented at that time in the high school auditorium which was ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

In 1954 the Hanover Community Players moved to the Hanover Junior High School. The stage presented a real challenge and scheduling became more difficult to meet the school’s requirement.

In 1957 the Players moved again. This time to St. Joseph’s school. The stage was larger, but technical problems still remained.

In 1958 the Players performed at the Lyric Auditorium on the band platform with a specially built stage to increase the acting area.

Several shows were toured from time to time to neighboring communities for one or more performances, including Mont Alto and the South Mountain Fair.

It became increasingly apparent that a theatre of their own was essential. In 1957 the Players enlisted the support of the banks and businesses in Hanover and were able to buy the two-room schoolhouse on the Blooming Grove Road, which they have occupied since. A minimum of alterations added a box office, lobby, and rest rooms at one end, a stage at the other, and a parking lot in the rear of the property.

The first production given at the Playhouse was THE POTTING SHED in 1959. The second production was THE TENDER TRAP which was the official Grand Opening. The show ran to ten Sold Out performances. The season now included four plays of diversified interest including THE IMPORTANCE OF

BEING EARNEST and HEDDA GABLER, adding classics and drama to the repertoire.

In 1963 a summer activity of high school graduates and college students was initiated. At the beginning it was under the direction of the Players, but later they produced their own shows. As a result, an interest in musical productions was developed. Since then a large variety of summer musicals have been presented, including YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN, OKLAHOMA, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, BYE BYE BIRDIE, and the Players own original production entitled PATCHWORK, just to name a few.

During the 1970’s, the Players maintained their four-show season, including their first regular season musical H.M.S. PINAFORE. Also, during the past few years, the Players have presented Children’s Theatre during the summer, including productions of ONCE UPON A CLOTHESLINE and WINNIE THE POOH. Two of the Players’ musical productions, MAN OF LA MANCHA and SWEET CHARITY played before audiences in Off-Broadway Theatre in New York City. Other projects have been performing dinner theatre in cooperation with the Hanover Elks and the Jefferson Fire Co.

Not to forget the Playhouse, we have constructed a large garage/storage building next to the playhouse to be used for storage and set construction. We have built a light and sound room onto the back of the auditorium where we now operate all lighting and sound effects cues for the shows we do. We have auditorium seats, an air conditioning system and new carpet along the side and back aisles of the theatre.

As we continue to improve our facilities and services, we will continue to do their best to fulfill their obligation as set forth in our by-laws, “to bring live theatre to Hanover and the surrounding communities”.

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