Theatre Talent to Hit Local Stage

By Chloe Steffenhagen

Days are getting shorter and some trees are showing glints of gold and coral. There is an unmistakable coolness in the air after sundown.  Autumn is coming and right around the corner is … you guessed it … show time! And you don’t have to travel out of the area to satisfy your theatrical sweet tooth. You will be pleasantly surprised at what is in our own backyard.

Olean, the largest city in the county, has two community theatres. Olean Community Theatre, Inc., (www.OCTnow.com) uses the Cutco Theatre at the Olean Campus of Jamestown Community College, as well as local high school auditoriums for its performances. It has an equipment and costume rental program and is one of New York State’s most award-winning theatre groups, offering live entertainment since 1979.

The Olean Theatre Workshop (www.oleanworkshop.org) offers quality on-stage and behind-the-scenes experiences to encourage interest in the dramatic arts, from the stage of a lovely old renovated church at 702 Washington St. to the grassy lawn of a park right across the street.

In nearby Bradford, Pa., the Bradford Creative & Performing Arts Center (BCPAC) — pronounced “backpack” — uses the Bromeley Family Theatre in Blaisdell Hall at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, as well as the Bradford Area High School auditorium for their performances. In addition, there is the Bradford Little Theatre (BLT), which dubbed their 18th season “Eighteen and Eclectic” and are working to secure a more permanent performance space.

Across the New York border in Salamanca, the Ray Evans Seneca Theatre seems back in business after a four-year hiatus. The old theatre was recently renovated and transformed by the Cattaraugus County Center for the Performing Arts and reopened in November 2013. The theatre just finished its second production, “Rent,” which director Todd Wagner, and the surrounding community, deemed a success.

Continuing north past Ellicottville, the village of Springville presents another theatrical gem, housed in the historic Baptist Church of Springville. Originally called the Springville Players, the Springville Center for the Arts (www.springvillearts.org) has a year-round program, with the summer, for the most part, dedicated to the kids. A multi-arts center, they just announced their season’s offerings beginning on Sept. 19. In addition to their musical offerings and art exhibits, he says they typically offer one drama, one comedy and a musical per season. They have just completed casting for their upcoming comedy production due Nov. 13.

In addition to these non-profit, volunteer community theatres, many high schools in the county pull out all the stops, a little later in the year, to bring you their version of some of the best plays from Broadway. We’ll do our best to keep up with their programming schedules.

As Mr. Shakespeare has told us, “The play’s the thing,” so tune in next week to read about the delicious play offerings this autumn. They are sure to whet your appetite.



Olean Community Theatre

“A Walk in the Woods”

Oct. 24, 25, 26

Olean Theatre Workshop 

“Anne of Green Gables”

Oct. 23, 24, 25, 26

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told… and Then Some!”

Dec. 4, 5,6, 7

Bromeley Family Theater

New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Allen Toussaint

Oct. 16

“Smokey Joe’s Café: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller”

Nov. 3

Empire Brass Christmas Celebration

Dec. 11

Bradford Little Theatre

“Jesus Christ Superstar”

Oct. 10, 11, 12

Springville Center for the Arts

Honey Spine

Sept. 19

Acoustic Autumn: Tim Farrell

Oct. 4

Acoustic Autumn: Richard Gilewitz

Oct. 17

Acoustic Autumn: Kinloch Nelson

Nov. 1