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  • Kurt Fedewa

The Portland Civic Players

The Portland Civic Players were started up in 1955 by local enthusiasts and they have been enchanting audiences ever since.

The players purchased the Sun Theater in 1971 and then made improvements to it to accommodate live performances. The players produce a play every spring and a musical every fall. Mary Teachout is currently serving as president of the players’ board of directors.

“I’ve been involved with the Civic Players since I was ten years of age,” said Mary. “My mother served as the theater manager for many years and my Aunt Anne directed many productions. My father helped build stage sets. It’s truly been a family affair for me.”

Mary described why theater is important.

“It teaches many skills,” she said. “And it’s like being part of a second family. Kids who have trouble fitting-in elsewhere find a home in the theater. Theater teaches teamwork as well as other social skills because it requires a great deal of cooperation to put on a production.”

Mary said that local theater is an affordable way for people to enjoy a play.

“Not everyone can afford to purchase tickets for a play in New York City or at Wharton or at De Vos,” she said. “Our plays are budget-friendly.”

The Civic Players provide a summer theater program for children who are in the fourth through twelfth grades. This program has been in existence for forty-five years. The kids perform three different plays at the end of July.

“The kids love doing this and they learn a lot of useful skills from their involvement in the theater,” said Mary. “Some of the kids grow up to become theater professionals and they enjoy a career in this field.”

The Civic Players are currently raising funds in order to purchase a new marquee for the building.

“We’re in serious need of a new marquee,” said Mary. “The old marquee has bad wiring and its weight is creating unacceptable stress on the building. The old marquee is just plain worn out and it needs to be replaced before it does more damage to the structure.”

The Civic Players are applying for grants to finance the new marquee and they are starting a Go Fund Me campaign as well. They are also accepting donations from community members to help pay the bill.

“We currently have $40,000 in the fund,” said Mary. “We need $100,000.”

Community members are encouraged by the players to become involved in the theater as a creative outlet for themselves as well as for a source of fellowship and fun.

Individuals who wish to join the Civic Players or who wish to make donations to help finance the new marquee may contact Mary at (517) 526-3257 or at

The Portland Civic Players

231 Maple Street

Portland, MI 48875

To make donations, please use the “Contact Us” button on the internet site.

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