North Platte Community Playhouse
The North Platte Community Playhouse at the Neville Center for the Performing Arts
The mission of the North Platte Community Playhouse is to provide quality entertainment and a beautiful venue for community events in the historically important building, the Neville Center for the Performing Arts.
President - John Hales
Vice President - Sara Morris
Treasurer - Carolyn Trujillo
Secretary - Carolyn Clark
Corresponding Secretary - Rajean Shepherd
Members at Large
Lou Cox Fornander
The North Platte Community Playhouse was organized in 1955 at the home of Charlie and Rose Craig, who served bean sandwiches to members of the fledgling group.
"Harvey," the first show produced by the newly-organized thespians, was presented 'in the round' in the Crystal Ballroom of the Pawnee Hotel in February, 1956.
At that time, Charley Craig was president of the Board of Directors. Others who served on the board during 1956 were Paul Muchlinski, June Alexander, Betty Heidbreder, Katy Varicak, Rose Craig, Virginia Robertson, Betty McConahay, Donald Swaim and Leo Anderson.
In a program note, the playhouse board welcomed the audience with the wish that "Harvey" would be the first of many successful productions. The note also stated that the Playhouse's future was in the hands of the people of the community, because actors, musicians, directors, stage helpers, and financial support were needed.
Since that first play, the North Platte Community Playhouse has presented almost 200 shows to thousands of people. For a time, the productions were staged in hotels, schools, and clubs.
In 1968, the Playhouse Auxiliary was organized to give support and to organize money-making projects. In 1969, the old State Theater was purchased and subsequently renovated. It was used until the Neville sisters donated the Fox Theatre to the Playhouse in 1980.
A fund-raising campaign brought in more than $250,000, which was used to restore the theater to its former grandeur. Now all plays are presented in this beautiful and historic venue. Thanks to the generosity of the Peter Kiewit Foundation, the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, businesses, and individuals, the Neville Center is now air-conditioned and new rest room facilities have been added.
The dreams of the founders have come true. Thanks to the support and participation of citizens of North Platte and the surrounding area, the North Platte Community Playhouse has thrived and has enriched the cultural life of the community. Members of the present North Platte Community Playhouse Board of Directors hope that many years from now the Playhouse will still be producing plays that will entertain and delight local audiences.