In 1998, Auburn-based Placer School for Adults advertised their class offerings would include an adult musical theater production, Annie Get Your Gun, to be directed and choreographed by longtime powerhouse Placer High School Theater team, Glenda Gonzales and Pamela Harrold. Dozens of people showed up to audition, were cast in, and performed in the show. That production was soon followed by Damn Yankees, Anything Goes, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and a few musical reviews, in the following few years. But in 2003, it was announced the class could no longer be offered due to financial constraints. The regular players had formed deep and long-lasting friendships they did not want to end. What could these friends do to keep working together? Why, form their own theater company, of course!
In the fall of 2003, Placer Community Theater was born. At the first meeting, each attendee contributed dues of $20; that became the seed money with which the first scripts were purchased. Our first show, a low-budget comedy play called Oh, Fudge, was directed by Pamela Harrold, and was presented at her business, Pamelot School of Dance, in Auburn. We didn’t have a stage, so the players built a low platform. We wanted to provide refreshments, so the players baked cookies and other desserts that established our tradition of a “dessert theater” format. In fact, with few volunteers in those days, it was common for the actors to run out of the green room during intermission to serve the audience before performers would run backstage to resume the second half of the show! We had no curtains, no theatrical lighting of our own, and no way to sell tickets except in person. But as the song in Damn Yankees goes, “You Gotta Have Heart,” and this group of friends sure did. By 2004, they had achieved nonprofit organization status and commenced to produce 2-3 shows each year.
Now almost 19 years later, Placer Community Theater has produced over 40 plays, musicals, and other live shows. We remain an all-volunteer organization. Hundreds of local actors, singers, and dancers have participated in PCT productions over the years. PCT members have raised money for the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund, contributed to the landmark State Theater renovation efforts, supported Auburn Union School District fundraising efforts, and provided over $10,000 in educational scholarships to Auburn area students pursuing their college educations in performing arts. Notably, Placer Community Theater PCT has had no permanent home during its history; we have used about ten different venues around Auburn for our various performances since 2003. Therefore, necessary expenses for us include rental of facilities for auditions, rehearsals, performances, workshops, and special events, as well as storage space for our sets, props, and technical equipment year-round. This is a unique community theater model, to be sure, but one that has become part of our identity.
We invite you, friends, to come to join us in sharing our love of theater together, and in keeping community theater alive and well in Auburn and surrounding communities.
Placer Community Theater (PCT)