Rotary Tours Bay City Players
April 22, 2014
By: Stephen Kent
BC Players Theater on Columbus Ave.
Rotary was hosted Tuesday by the Bay City Players at their theater located at 1214 Columbus Ave in Bay City. The Players benefited from a $25,000 "Major Projects" grant from the Rotary Club in 2009. Those funds went toward "phase 3" of the Player's on-going renovation of the facility. Planned for sometime in 2011, the work is finally becoming reality with new flooring to improve the sight line, new seats, improvement the orchestra pit and other features.
Debuting on March 19, 1917 as the Bay City Art Club, the Players are proud to be Michigan's oldest continuously operating community theater. In 1931 the Art Club became the Bay City Players and in 1955 they purchased the present building.
Tracy Teich, the Players business manger and treasurer made the initial introductions. She was followed by 30 year volunteer Kurt Miller who outlined briefly the Players age and pedigree. Kurt then introduced 60 year volunteer Leeds Bird, who gave a more detailed history of the organization and the evolution of the building and property.
Leeds Bird, Well Known Local Thespian
Bird, a well know figure in Bay City, gave an entertaining talk about the early days when the building was a typical theater known then as the Pines, which was its second incarnation.
The early theater was a typical neighborhood theater, that is "a rectangle on the corner. It has a box office, a lobby, a candy counter, and two toilets; one for boys and one for girls." Inside was a relatively flat floor and a movie screen.
The Pines was barely adequate. Unlike some larger theaters, this one had no stage and that became one of the first projects. Next they build a dressing room for women, one for men, and a makeup room "and I use the term room loosely", said Bird.
As the years rolled on, the Players evolved the property. They bought a house behind the theater as a dressing and makeup area. The house was great, but players has to cross an open drive between the two buildings. "This was fine in the summer, but in Michigan we do plays in the winter. Whey you came across the driveway you could change your appearance considerably."
Recent projects have continued the evolution. Neighboring properties has been purchased, storage areas were added, a new addition was wrapped around the front of the building, practice areas added, new freight entrances and doors are not on the back. The building became a true theater.
The third phase of renovation will finish the interior. New seating, in a new configuration will drop the number of seats from over 300 to just under 300. This will give a more intimate performance and also qualify the theater for the definition of an "off Broadway" venue.
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CLUB NEWS and ANNOUNCEMENTS
The members were reminded that the District Conference is this coming weekend in Saginaw.
President Lee reminded members of the challenge with the Morning Club to see which group can generate the largest, club-wide, average gift to the Rotary Foundation between April 8 and June 30. Make your contributions through Gena Gates, or directly to the foundation, which can be done at Rotary.org.
The Centennial Committee has set the goal of EVERY MEMBER achieving Paul Harris Fellow
status during the Centennial Year. There are matching points available that allow a member to receive their first Paul Harris level at a fraction of the normal $1,000 contribution.
Rotary Club of Bay City
View Centennial Year Celebrations Schedule
July 2014-June 2015
DATES TO REMEMBER
Rotary Golf Outing
- Monday, June 16, 2014
- Bay City Country Club.
International Night 2014
- October 23, 2014
- 5:30 to 9
- Bay City Country Club
(See the official schedule at
April 29, 2014: S.O.S. - Save Our Shoreline
Save our Shoreline is a non-profit, grass roots organization of property owners and others committed to the preservation of riparian rights along Michigan's 3288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. Ernie Krygier, president of S.O.S., will provide a history.
May 6, 2014: Rotary Youth Exchange 2013-2014 student.
Beto Dominguez, our current Youth Exchange student, will make a presentation to the club.
May 13, 2014: Bay City Public Schools/China Exchange
Judy Cox, principal of Western High School, and Amy Bailey, principal of Western Middle School, will be accompanied by 4 teachers and 5 students from China. They will discuss the BCPS exchange program with China in partnership with SVSU.
June 6, 2014: OFF-SITE MEETING at BAY CITY COUNTRY CLUB
Program to be announced.
Aug 19, 2014: Field Neurosciences Institute
Thomas Cline will review the FNI as well as highlight its largest annual fundraiser, a concert that typically features Saginaw native Brian D'Arcy James.
Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH
newsletters are available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below.
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