Why Essex? Essex Community Players

Interview with Billie Hall & Adam Cunningham

I stopped by to visit the Essex Community Players on a chilly Sunday afternoon.  I thought that I would just be chatting and checking out some set building, but I was lucky enough to find myself in the midst of a dress rehearsal for the upcoming performance of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”  After watching the first half of this hilarious play, I was able to talk to some of the members and actors during the set break.

I first approached Adam Cunningham, the play director.  He had been an actor in New York City who moved to Vermont to help take care of his parents.  Participating in the Essex Players helped him to channel his creative outlet during a difficult time in his life.

Billie Hall also spoke of the Players helping her through difficult times.  She joined the Players a few months after her husband’s death and was able to find a strong sense of family and support in the other members.

In my short time visiting the Players, it was clear to me that many of the members had strong connections with one another.  The members fell into enthusiastic conversation, shared food, and had an easy camaraderie around the set that brought me back to my own high school musical days.  I was also impressed to see numerous cross generational friendships among the Players.  

Despite the friendships, everyone I spoke with emphasized the openness of the group to new people.  During my visit, everyone I approached was more than willing to have a conversation with me.  I also had quite a few people go out of their way to introduce themselves to me and make sure that I felt welcome on the set.

Billie emphasized that the Essex Players were looking for volunteers, and not just actors.  They are in need of directors, stage builders, fundraisers, lighting technicians, and more.  No matter what your skill is, there is probably a place for you in the Essex Players.   

The Players are currently performing the play “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”  This is a classic 1939 comedy of the clash that occurs when a pompous celebrity unexpectedly becomes an imperious houseguest of a small-town family after breaking his hip slipping on their icy doorstep.  The play will be performed seven times over the course of May 3-13.  The Players will be donating proceeds from refreshment sales during the show to Camp Ta Kum Ta.  If you would like to learn more or purchase tickets, please visit: http://essexplayers.com/.

Why Essex? “Essex is one of the few towns with a community theater.  Tickets are affordable, and the show is intimate.   Make sure to support your community theater!”