Celebrate 40 years of entertainment at Olympic Theatre Arts at OTA’s 40-year birthday bash Saturday, Feb. 1. (Olympic Theatre Arts)

Celebrate 40 years of entertainment at Olympic Theatre Arts at OTA’s 40-year birthday bash Saturday, Feb. 1. (Olympic Theatre Arts)

Olympic Theatre Arts celebrates 40 years with birthday bash

Event slated for Saturday in Sequim

SEQUIM — It all started at the Old Dungeness Schoolhouse back in 1980 with “Krapp’s Last Tape,” a one-man show starring Richard Waites based on the one-act play by Samuel Beckett.

At the end of the performance Waites asked anyone interested in starting a community theatre in Sequim to stay behind.

Among those interested was actress-director Olivia Shea, who stayed involved with the development and success of volunteer Olympic Theatre Arts organization from its inception.

Four decades later, the theatre remains a constant on the local arts scene. To mark the anniversary, OTA, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is hosting a special open house from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Olympic Theatre Arts Center, 414 N. Sequim Ave.

OTA members plan to showcase memorabilia from the past with plenty of nostalgic photos, posters, playbills and newspaper articles served alongside celebratory cake and bubbly.

The organizers are planning an ‘over the top’ experience for all guests and the public is invited.

“It’s going to be a whimsically chic affair, tastefully eclectic — a real red-carpet ride,” said Rosie von Engel, one of the planners.

The theatre has grown and evolved through the years, first moving to a second-floor space on Washington Street named for one of its significant benefactors, the Howard Wood Memorial Theatre.

When OTA outgrew the space, a movement led by Elaine and Bob Caldwell rallied community support to buy and renovate the building now occupied on North Sequim Avenue, dubbed the Olympic Theatre Arts Center.

The open house is a kind of double anniversary, as the new center staged its premier production of “Cabaret” 10 years ago this year.

Olympic Theatre Arts is encouraging the public, those involved and those who have never walked through the doors, to come and celebrate these two milestone anniversaries.

“Community theatre provides a very important element for our society,” OTA executive director Carol Willis said.

“It is an artistic forum for public expression and collaboration, so important for building and maintaining a vibrant community.”

For more about Olympic Theatre Arts, see www.olympictheatrearts.org or call 360-683-7326.

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