Olney Theatre Center, National Players
Celebrating 65 years as a touring company, National Players is a unique ensemble bringing innovative productions to communities across the United States. Based out of Olney Theater Center in Olney, Maryland, it is a model for artistic collaboration and national education outreach. National Players was founded in 1949 by Father Gilbert V. Hartke as a program of The Catholic University of America’s drama department. His mission was to stimulate young peoples’ higher thinking skills and imaginations by presenting classic plays in surprisingly accessible ways. At Olney Theatre Center, the educational pedagogy is based on two pillars: to unleash one’s creative potential and to build self-reliance. National Players exemplifies these goals by presenting self-supported theatrical productions of Shakespeare and literary classics to learners of all ages. Through performances and integrated educational activities, National Players empowers these learners to harness their own creative potential. The company has performed in 40 states; for American military in Europe, Asia, and the Arctic Circle; and in the East Wing of the White House five times. Committed to artistic excellence and community engagement, National Players has brought literature to life for more than 2.8 million people.
For Shakespeare in American Communities, Olney Theatre Center’s National Players will tour Macbeth (September 2013 to May 2014) directed by Casey Kaleba and The Comedy of Errors directed by Jason King Jones. The company will provide related educational activities, including workshops, masterclasses, seminars, and a study guide. They anticipate reaching 50 schools throughout Maryland.