Orange Community Players opening theater site to community

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Orange Community Players are opening up their under-construction facility for tours, learning and, hopefully, a bit of community service.

The community is welcome to come by 3330 Bowling Lane in Orange from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Lunch donated by Chick-fil-A is available from noon to 12:45 p.m., and organizers will have water on site donated by DuGood Federal Credit Union.

Renovations of the old movie theater on Bowling Lane are ongoing. Orange Community Players have been working to raise $1.5 million to renovate the 50-year-old location into a venue dubbed “Jeff Hattman Center for Performing Arts.”

“We know there are members of the community excited to get a peak of the work completed thus far,” a release from the troupe said. “We encourage members of the community 12 years of age and older to come out and participate. Our theater is an active work zone, liability waivers will need to be completed for all participants.

“Participants under 18 years of age will need to have a parent or guardian to complete the waiver. This event is an excellent opportunity for community service, OCP can provide letters of service to anyone and/or youth needing them.”

Those interested are asked to reach out to for more information or to request a letter of service. If you plan to volunteer, email the same address.

Orange Community Players president Paul Burch said volunteers were able to focus on one side of the old movie theater for renovation, which he describes as 80 percent done in April.

A black box theater, the work’s current focus, does not have traditional seating with stadium-style layout. Instead, it features moveable stages that allow productions to center a stage in the middle of the seating if that is what is required.

“We’re able to move the seats and the stage to accommodate whatever show we are doing,” Burch said. “Beaumont’s community players did that, and we kind of copycatted them. It was such a success there, and we have used their black box theater in bringing our shows to Beaumont. It worked great. So us being in the situation we are in and with this theater having dual sides, we decided immediately how successful that was for them and knew it would be for us, as well.”