“At the New Castle Playhouse, we believe the theater should reflect the community it serves. With this in mind, we subscribe to a program of inclusive casting. We invite the community of New Castle and surrounding areas to become a part of our family no matter what race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability. We want you to use your life experiences to help us enrich the art that is the core of our mission. Backstage and on stage, we need you. Our auditions are open to all.”
In 1958, the New Castle Playhouse (NCP) was incorporated as a non-profit, 501(c) 3 organization. Since that time, we have been enriching the lives of our community through live theatrical performances, a goal that is clearly reflected in our mission statement:
The New Castle Playhouse exists to foster community pride, civic renewal, and cultural enlightenment, through quality theater arts experiences, produced by the community, for the community.
Being an asset, involves far more than our facilities; it requires fine programming and relationships. We work to improve and expand both.
NCP has worked diligently to improve its creative programming, offering a variety of theater for adults and children. We strive to provide quality productions to the people of Lawrence County, and also to provide those individuals with a desire to express their creativity through theater, a venue to do that.
The quality and complexity of the productions offered to our patrons continue to increase. Those who attend our shows have come to expect a high level of craftsmanship. We draw audiences and performers from as far away as the Pittsburgh area, Erie, and from eastern Ohio. We set new attendance records yearly as more and more people discover the magic of “Live” theater at NCP.
We continue to increase and improve our creative programming for children and youth through a variety of programs. Our Youth programs include a full-scale Children’s Theater production starring children for children, and the Rising Star summer workshops, which provide educational opportunity for local children between the ages of 8 and 16. Stars of Tomorrow, a one-day event, showcases talented young people of our community, and NCP Mini-Stars serve as the young, talent ambassadors of NCP who perform throughout the community. In the near future we hope to add a workshop for young people less interested in being on stage and more interested in being backstage and learning the technical aspects of productions.
We strive to provide entertainment for the community; sometimes we are blessed by experiences that sweeten the endeavor. There are numerous stories of lasting friendships being built at NCP, and people finding a place to express their creative side. Yet a recent incident stands out from other stories.
After a recent production ended, the director received a letter from the mother of one of the cast members. The letter took him by surprise, and serves as a wonderful example of what makes NCP so special. It seems the young cast member had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis within the past several years. The mother related that her daughter had become angry at the world for all of these setbacks. She had become moody and depressed, feeling that life would pass her by as health issues interrupted nearly everything she anticipated doing. Unaware of any of these issues, she was cast in a production, attended rehearsals, took direction and ultimately performed well in her role. The director remained unaware of the seriousness of her ailments, and thought the few times that she had missed rehearsal had merely been caused by influenza that works its way around schools every winter.
The letter contained the explanation of these circumstances and the highest thanks for the director and the organization for bringing the smiles back to her daughter’s life. She said her daughter became more positive throughout her involvement, and is now more optimistic about her future.
Simply stated, sometimes we change lives, and sometime we are changed ourselves by those circumstances.