Founded in 1984, Center Stage Productions has a long history founded on introducing and proliferating theater and arts performance and education in the local community.
Initially established as a youth-focused group, several teachers in the Chichester area banded together to produce a one-off production of Grease with their arts and music students who all had a limited outlet for their artistic interests with one school-year production. Performing as “Chichester Community Youth Theatre” and on the stage of the local Middle School, this single late-summer production lead to a second, and a third, and so on each summer for several years. Wanting to expand membership, the group wrote by-laws, appointed a Board of Directors, and established itself with non-profit status re-branding as “Center Stage Productions.” It was at this time they also made the move to the Neumann stage. All these changes thereby opened involvement to all ages in the community with an “all-hands-on deck” welcome and recruited anyone who could sing, dance, play music, swing a hammer, sew a button, or brandish a paint brush to join the family.
Throughout the years since, the “CSP” repertoire expanded to include a Shakespeare Festival for area schools; a successful, on-going children’s Summer Theatre Workshop camp with classes for pre-school through high school and curriculum written and supervised by education professionals (many of which are alumni of the program); annual large Mainstage musicals; straight plays; original works written by members; children’s participatory plays; a joint production with the Delaware County Symphony; the occasional venture into area retirement homes and other venues offering entertainment; expanding into off-season special productions; and most recently a resoundingly successful evening of dining and song with their Annual Cabaret Night “Friendraiser” now in its 12th year.
Today Center Stage Productions is still supervised by a group of community members who spent their own youth in the CSP programs and summers on the stage. Many in our membership have gone on to professional performing and education careers. Others have had their own children move up on through the group as student, performer, and now staff. Many continue to perform and produce as hobby out of their love for the arts. The resounding belief from these talented individuals is that nothing compares to the vast and irreplaceable experience of learning in the Center Stage working theatre program. The CSP family always gives back to the community some of the enrichment and thrill of performing and creating, reminding all that the love of theatre has a home in each of us.