Tellico Community Players History
The Tellico Village Players was formed in 1990 by the late John Sullivan and his sister-in-law, Barb Wozniak. The first production was “Dirty Work Afoot,” a melodrama that was staged at the Tellico Village Yacht Club in the fall of 1990.
In 1991 talented and theater-interested villagers officially formed the Tellico Village Players, which later became know as the Tellico Community Players (TCP). They elected officers, wrote a charter and received their non-profit status. Local villagers like Carl Burke, Paula Carrico, Gene Wozniak, Bill Peterson, Inge Boyce, Bev Sullivan, Betty Cowley, Jean and Jack Reich and Helen Nicholson got the organization going. Also among the significant founders were Pat Provart, Doris and Bill Ryan, and Karla and Dean Winkler.
An off shoot of TCP called Readers Theater was developed in 2010 by Debbie Mayberry. This was established to give those people who find memorization too difficult the thrill of acting but in a different way. They can read their parts and use props and costumes to entertain their audiences with delightful stories.
In 2011 Debbie Mayberry once again organized another extension of the TCP Readers Theater, calling themselves The Prime Time Players. Their initial project was to take readers' theater programs into the area schools. This project, known as the School Tour Program, has grown and now annually reaches over 4200 elementary school children in our neighboring communities. Subsequently, they began developing an after-school program that involves working with students on their own readers' theater productions.
Venues for performing the plays by TCP had to move around to a variety of places. In 2013 the Board pursued the possibility of having their own theater. In July 2014 the Board began to create the theater. Due to the generosity of the community, $100,000.00 was raised to deconstruct the former T.V. Library and construct the new theater. Donna Akey, owner of the building, was gracious in allowing TCP to have the space with an affordable lease. TCP became debt-free in February of 2015, once again due to the support of the community. The theater opened in October 2014 with the play “Red Velvet Cake War.”
In 2015 the theater auditorium was named Patricia Smith Theater, through the generous sponsorship by Jim Smith in honor of his late wife. That same year, TCP went to on-line ticket sales and in 2016 started offering season tickets for the coming years.
Since the opening of the 136-seat theater, the productions have filled the theater to capacity. With the talented and hard-working, all volunteer casts and crews, and the technical enhancements with sound and lighting, TCP has accomplished a new level of professionalism. AND it only gets better and better.
Betty Ann Sterner, Historian