Sand Lake Center for the Arts
CTP History
It all began in 1979 with Chancel Drama, put on by members of the Church of the Covenant and directed by Bert McNary, retired drama coach from Averill Park High School. This led to an invitation from the Good Cheer Class (the then Seniors group) to perform at their Thanksgiving party. Bert came up with a one-act play, Take It Easy, Priscilla, with the following cast: JoAnn Smith (now Lionarons), Audrey Trupia, Joe Trupia, Shirley Clouser, Don Edmans, Carolyn Smith (now Chenot), Edwina Randall, Allan Randall, David Booth, Carol Rifenburg (now Miller) and Brad Waldorf.

We had a lot of fun with that play and started thinking bigger - a three-act play for the public as a fundraiser. Bert agreed to direct it and came up with The Night of January 16, presented in March of 1981. We named our group Circle Theatre Players because of the round building. Try-outs were held and the cast was as follows: Tom Coffey (Bert's nephew), David Booth, Allan Randall, Joe Trupia, Nancy Davis, Audrey Trupia, Ann Waldorf, Edwina Randall, Tom Theilmann, JoAnn Smith, Shirley Clouser, Don Edmans, Fred Erickson, and Carolyn Smith. All except Tom Coffey were members of the church. The play was a success and we were off and running.

The next play was The Hollow, and we were in rehearsal at the time Bert died in October. Our pastor, Jim Clouser, knew that Joan Fuess had been involved in plays previously and asked her to fill in so the play could go on as planned in November of 1981. After the performance we formally asked Joan to be our new director - a position she still holds.

Eventually, in order to get grant money, our group had to become a community theater and not be sponsored by a church.

Our early group did everything itself - built sets, costumes, props, programs, publicity, refreshments, lights, etc. We did some pretty fantastic things with a small stage, enlarging it in every way possible. We had a lot of fun - still do.

And now we have our own space - an old church, a former town hall - now Sand Lake Center for the Arts!