Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Dinehart.
Karen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I went to Emerson College and graduated with a degree in Theater Arts (Acting with a minor in directing). I had intentions of going to New York and pounding the pavement but decided to start a family was more important. I got a day job, got married and had kids, but all along continued to act and direct in community theater. I discovered that performing in my community brought me a lot of joy, and I made bringing quality theater to Metrowest my mission.
In 2012 I became the president and artistic director of Washington Street Players. I produce many of our shows, but also enjoy directing and acting in some of them too. Every show that we have done since 2012 has been successful and well received.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Volunteer organizations have to rely on just that, volunteers. Therefore, one of the challenges in community theater is keeping people motivated to work, not only on the shows themselves but working as board members and making decisions that help the group grow. The other challenge we have is not owning our own space. We have to rely on town buildings and other people’s schedules ect…hopefully someday we can have our own space to perform and store all of our props and set pieces.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Washington Street Players – what should we know?
I am proud of the quality of our productions. We can’t compete with groups with their own space and huge budgets, and we don’t try to. I think the key to our success is we don’t take on shows that are above our capabilities in terms of technical challenges, talent, or venue. It has been my job for the past 5 years to pick the 2 shows that we do every year and make sure that we are doing a variety of shows and not doing the same thing every year. We have done dinner theater, dramas, comedies, musicals, Farces and even a fairy tale show. Some of our shows have been nominated for awards through the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theaters. Our actors, props, and sets have all been nominated. Some of my personal favorites were Middlesex Murder, Moon Over Buffalo, The Fantasticks, and Proof.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
This group has had several important leaders over the years that motivated me to keep it going. Lorri Alexander, Debby Gray Bloom, Roberta Weiner, and Lynna Henderson are all inspirations to me. I work with an incredible, talented team of people that keep things going. Rich Greaves and Ed Council are our technical directors and do everything from lights, sound, equipment maintenance, and sets. Alecia Thomas is my VP and co-artistic director. She is an incredible performer and director herself who has a degree from NYU. Her first love is musical theater, so I rely on her for any musicals that we do.
Some of the jobs that usually get lost in community theater are publicity and community relations, and I have a team of people to help with this. Julie Murphy, Sue Ann Czotter, Paul Gillespie. Sue Ann also pounds the pavement to get Ads from the community to fill our programs and talks to everyone she knows (and strangers) about our group. Our Treasurer, Larry Wise has been with the group since the beginning and handles all of our finances and is the liaison with our venues. We have two incredible website gurus, Nate Callahan and Krystyanna Greaves. Krystyanna has also started doing all of our graphic designs and program layouts. I could not do my job without them.
- Website: wsplayers.net
- Phone: 508-306-1442
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: @washingtonstreetplayers