A Short History

Winchester Players' History In April 1932, the Winchester Players began as the Winchester Unitarian Players at the Winchester Unitarian Society. Performing in the newly constructed Metcalf Hall (1929), the Players produced their first play "Mr. Pim Passes By". There followed ten more productions, ending in 1940 at the onset of World War II.

Lights were dimmed on stage until 1950 when the Reverend Robert Storer, at one time a professional actor, sought to recreate an active interest in theater within the Society. The Winchester Unitarian Players emerged anew and, under his aegis produced years of ambitious productions, very often enlisting Society members in on stage and off stage roles.

Over the years the community theater scene changed, and the Players dropped the word Unitarian from its title in order to be considered a local community group with no religious affiliation. In order to meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Association of Community Theaters to which the Players became associated, the Players created a Mission statement, revised their by-laws, and participated in many of the Association's activities.

Over almost eight decades the Players performed two major productions a year in Metcalf Hall, ranging from dramas involving serious issues, to riveting mysteries, to rollicking comedies. Frequently a mid-season, one weekend show was offered affording the opportunity to new-comers as well as polished performers a spot-lighted appearance on stage.

In 2012 while rehearsing a production of "Gaslight/Angel Street" disintegrating asbestos was discovered upstage and the stage was closed off for many months until the problem was resolved. The Players sought, and were graciously granted, approval from the First Congregational Church of Winchester to use their stage in Chidley Hall for this production.

In 2013, after the conclusion of the 2012/2013 season in Chidley Hall, the Players met with the administrators of the Unitarian Society and were told that Metcalf Hall would not be able to support the evolving scheduling needs of the Players. With affection and gratitude for the many years of association with the Winchester Unitarian Society, the Players decided to move their primary performance location to the First Congregational Church, where our needs could be met.

The Players are grateful to the First Congregational Church's administration and its membership for their warm welcome and support, and trust the association will be long and mutually rewarding.