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I’m so excited to share my latest SPOTLIGHT feature about the 2018-2019 Best Director Winner Devery Holmes who is also President of non profit Conejo Players Theatre, one of the best community theatres in the Ventura County producing favorites such as the 2018-2019 favorite West Side Story and showcasing such great talent as Dale Alpert who will be featured in the upcoming Sweet Charity and Dawn Michelle who is currently wowing audiences in Simi ARTS’ The Drowsy Chaperone.
A fun tidbit: my dad previously volunteered at Conejo Players taking photos of their productions in the late 1970s.
What qualifies CONEJO PLAYERS as a Non-profit?
The Conejo Players is a volunteer organization. No one gets paid. Everyone at CPT volunteers their time for the love of the theatre!
How does CONEJO PLAYERS give back to the community?
The Conejo Players Theatre gives back to our community by providing wonderful entertainment with plays, musicals and improv shows, youth shows that meets the needs and desires of our entire community.
We also provide wonderful volunteer opportunities – from building sets, being on the crew, ushering, being on the production team, learning crafts like lighting, costuming, sound, stage managing, as well as coordinating and creating props, set design and construction, to putting on fundraising events. Our two youth musical programs are completely free to our youth community.
And all of our shows are free to participants on-stage and behind the scenes.
What do you think inspires actors and creative artists to volunteer their time in community theatre?
Having been a member of CPT for almost three decades, it is because the wonderful people and community who become your friends for life. It’s because we all love the theatre and CPT offers so many ways to get our creative juices flowing with opportunities to get involved. You see your contribution help create something so special.
What are some of the most pressing needs CONEJO PLAYERS has for volunteers?
Right now I am producing Sweet Charity and we are looking for a spotlight operator and backstage crew. We have so many needs with building sets, costumes, props, set decorating, to ushering, running sound, lights, helping strike our sets, to getting involved in fundraising event, and even becoming a member of our board to help run and chart the future of our theatre.
Can you give a shout out to a couple of your most hard working volunteers?
There are so many!!! Building the sets is a 6 to 7 day[s] a week job and Shawn McCabe, Rick Steinberg, Alex Choate, Max Honigsberg, John Holroyd, Dick Johnson, Lee Marks put in tireless hours. Building and coordinating costumes like Beth Eslick does takes so much time and commitment. In addition, running the box office like Sarah Ely does, to our board of directors who do everything possible to keep CPT thriving for our community and its members requires, countless hours. These are just a few of the people to thank for their tireless dedication!
Can you tell us a little bit about the youth program at CONEJO PLAYERS?
We put on two full musicals for our youth every year.
There is no cost for our youth to participate in our shows and they learn every aspect of being on-stage and behind the scenes to put on a show. They learn about teamwork, dedication, follow-through and how to make lasting friendships while fine-tuning and growing their craft. Next year, we will offer an audition workshop for our youth as well.
What was your most rewarding experience on stage with CONEJO PLAYERS?
I have been in many productions at the Conejo Players and it has changed me forever. From getting to play Guinevere in my second production at CPT and having our director, Marj Berg trust me and become a lifelong friend, to finding my son’s godmother and my dear friend, Donna Holroyd at the theatre who produced for me for many years and was there for me always – to having the lead in a drama, the Baby Dance after miscarrying my baby. This show and my CPT family helped me grieve and grow and let my daily struggle finally subside. There are WAY too many other examples, but how lucky I have been to find the Conejo Players and my friends for life.
What was your most rewarding experience backstage with CONEJO PLAYERS?
There are so many, this is hard. But I will share that WEST SIDE STORY helped me really understood the trust CPT had in me to really do my homework and bring this magnificent theatrical masterpiece to life. It was our 60th Anniversary and West Side Story had just had their 60 anniversary of their Broadway debut. Many of the cast members were home for the summer and we had a group that formed into a very special family. My production team was a dream team, so talented and dedicated and we all pushed each other to make West Side Story something we would be forever proud [of]!
Our next show is Sweet Charity that I am producing with the incredible production team of Miriam Durrie-Kirsch – Director and Choreographer, John Gaston – Musical Director, Susie Laffer – Assistant Producer, Beth Eslick – Costume Designer, Rick Steinberg and Shawn McCabe – Set Designers, Jack Allaway – Lighting Designer, Erin Schmaier – Sound Designer, and John Eslick – Prop designer.
We open on August 16th and run through September 8th. Hope to see you there!
To learn about Conejo Players, please visit http://www.conejoplayers.org.
Exciting Susan Egan Update (June 2020):
Don’t miss your chance to take a musical theater workshop with legendary SUSAN EGAN for the bargain price of $10 (supporting Conejo Players during the Covid-19 shutdowns). See calendar listing.