HISTORY OF FOUNTAIN SQUARE PLAYERS
THE BEGINNING : ALLEY PLAYHOUSE
When the lights came up for the Alley Playhouse's first production, "Bell, Book and Candle" on November 14, 1964, it was the culmination of a dream. The Alley Playhouse was located in Morris Alley behind the old Chamber of Commerce building. The building was converted from a warehouse into a 125 seat theatre-in-the-round, which was still in an experimental period and not widely used across the country. The traditional proscenium stage was the most popular. The Alley Players were the successors the Bowling Green Community Players. The original Alley organizers were Dr. Russell Miller, the producing director, L.O. Underwood, Asa Raymond, Doug Robertson, Dr. Jim Burt, John Burt and Autumn Carol.
The Alley produced five plays the 1st season. The most popular being the children's production, Cinderella, and the musical The Fantasticks, which were always sold out.
FOUNTAIN SQUARE PLAYERS
In the summer of 1977, a group of determined, star -struck individuals, aided and abetted by Whit Combs and Bill Leonard of the WKU Department of Theatre, set out to bring the defunct Alley Players back to life as the Warren County Community Theater. WKU provided direction, funding, and space; the community responded with actors and enthusiasm; and a Thurber Carnival was presented in June with great flourish.. A second play, Spoon River Anthology, followed in late July. So successful were these efforts that two more plays were produced in collaboration with WKU the next summer. In 1978, the name was changed to Fountain Square Players; Articles of Incorporation were filed; and the first "season", 1978-1979, came to pass.
One of the first hurdles faced by the fledgling group was "Where shall we have the play?" During the first three full seasons, plays were produced in theatres at WKU (Russell Miller, Snell Hall, Gordon Wilson, and Van Meter); in the Warren County Courthouse; In State Street United Methodist Church; in two different stores in the vacant Bowling Green Mall' and in a motel (the Holidome.) But in April of 1981, The Capitol Arts Center allowed us to present Little Mary Sunshine in the (almost) renovated Capitol Theatre building. And the 1981-1982 season saw us ensconced in the Capitol, opening with Our Town.
Next, FSP began to feel the pinch in the area of set construction. Board members' garages were quickly outgrown, and borrowed space developed a habit of being needed by others. So, after a very successful production of Annie left us a bit more affluent, a major investment was made: our scene shop and a studio at 313 State Street. Several members, in a leap of faith, signed the note and held their collective breath until the mortgage was burned in the summer of 1989.
In August of 1993, Public Theatre of Kentucky allowed us to use their Phoenix Theatre, the old Alley Playhouse, to produce Cemetery Club. FSP has since presented several other plays at the Phoenix.
FSP has been fortunate to have had great directors, dedicated Board members, a supportive community, and enthusiastic casts and crews for twenty-plus years. We send kudos to all of these and to all who may become involved in our future productions. FSP cannot exist without you.
What do you do with two dozen 4 foot by 12 foot flats, plastic columns, chairs, and cut-outs of automobiles after the play is over? For the first seven years of our existence, Fountain Square Players borrowed space...and moved, borrowed space...and move!
We were quite a stimulus to previously inactive real estate. The Daily News let us use two of their buildings. The first was torn down for WKCT's satellite dish and antenna tower; the second to provide more parking after their expansion.
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley let us store, hammer, saw, and paint in the old Gulf station next to the post office, but their new offices were then built there.
The folks of Capitol Aluminum hadn't used the State Street school gym for sometime, and graciously let us have it until Junior Achievement became its tenant.
We thought the Medical Center would never have another use for the old hospital when they let us use a wing on reservoir hill, but once we moved in, it spurred a very active remodeling program, and the fire cinched it.
The summer of 1985 provided us with our own (OWNED) scene shop at 313 State Street. An auction of that property was anxiously attended by enough members of FSP to encourage the auctioneer to believe he had lots of bidders, but really very few others were interested in the office and warehouse at the time.
Since then, Fountain Square Players have gradually painted, patched and roofed. The 3000 square foot warehouse into our SCENESHOP. Any Saturday leading up to a production you can find from 1-15 persons building or painting something to embellish the plays we present.
If you would like to drop by and give us an hour or more of your time, we'd love to have you! And you might love to join FSP.