Today’s organization has been a big part of my life in the last couple months. In early September, my daughter auditioned for a play and she convinced me to also audition too. We both got parts, she is a playing card and I am a duck. This past weekend was our first set of shows!
The Prior Lake Players started as an idea inspired by a play at a local community festival. Thirteen couples, including Nick and Patti Sotis, came together in 1972 at a cocktail party and decided to put together a theatre organization. They held their first meeting that year. One of the couples had been involved in a local theatre organization in another Minneapolis suburb, so they were able to quickly develop bylaws and become registered as a nonprofit.
Their first show was “Don’t Drink the Water” in the Spring of 1973 and have done a play each spring and fall since including “The Wizard of Oz”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, and “My Fair Lady”, just to name a few. Their current production is “Alice in Wonderland”.
The Prior Lake Players is a non-profit, performing arts educational group formed for the purpose of producing and performing live theatrical entertainments, including both established and original scripts, and of providing training and experience to its members in the various artistic and technical aspects of live theatre.
In 1976, Nick and Patti’s daughter, Karen Welch was in her first play, The Music Man. She was in the chorus. It was her most memorable play because her brother and parents were also in the cast and it was fun to be in a play together as a family. In Alice in Wonderland, the family tradition continues with Karen playing the caterpillar and her daughter Caitlin Welch playing the Gryphon.
The theme of family involvement doesn’t end with them. Kay Dunning worked on the wonderful costumes for Alice in Wonderland and her daughter Ryanne Dunning was in the play as the Dodo bird and Tweedledee. In 1993, Kay did set design, costume design, directed and acted in The Music Man.
The organization also has a scholarship program for high school seniors who were either in their productions or attend the local school district. Up to $1,000 is given out each year. You can learn more about the Nick Sotis Memorial Scholarship program by contacting the Prior Lake Players.
How can you help?
- You can sign up for their e-mail list by e-mailing email@example.com to keep up to date with upcoming shows and events.
- You can sign up to be a member to receive discounts and other benefits.
- Tax deductible donations can be made through GiveMN.org.
- Before each play can come to stage, they need many volunteers including actors, set construction, prop building, costume sewing, publicity, and more! During the productions they also need volunteers to sell tickets prior to the show and serve refreshments during intermission. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about specific volunteer opportunities.
- The organization does also do things between productions such as walk in parades and attend other local events. If you are interested in offering your time or talents in other ways, you can contact them at email@example.com.
No play is successful without an audience, so consider taking an evening or afternoon to enjoy the show! You can connect with the Prior Lake Players on their website, www.plplayers.org. You can also sign up for their e-mail list and like them on Facebook. If you don’t live near Prior Lake, Minnesota, there is likely a small theatre organization near you and they likely have many of the same volunteer opportunities as the Prior Lake Players.