Central Park Players is a community theatre organization dedicated to providing high quality theatre at affordable prices to Grand Haven and the Tri-Cities area since 1959.
Even at over 50 years old, Central Park Players is the new kid on the block when it comes to local community theatre. We’re built on a foundation laid in 1862. That’s when local thespians began entertaining Civil War soldiers at the Ottawa County Courthouse.
In 1870, local and traveling troupes began performing in the Music Hall. Next came the Grand Haven Dramatic Club, which performed at the Music Hall from 1878 to 1936.
Community theatre was dormant until 1949 when Summer Stock Org began performing at The Women’s Club. Participants included Central Michigan College (CMC) staff and students as well as local performers. Not long after, CMC began offering credit to students working with The Lake Michigan Playhouse (LMP).
LMP’s reorganization into Grand Haven Civic Theatre (GHCT) in 1959 marks the birth of what would become Central Park Players. For the next seven years, GHCT performed at a variety of locations, but with completion of the Grand Haven Community Center in 1966, GHCT had a new home and a new name. The Center’s location across from Central Park prompted the name change to Central Park Players, and in 1986, CPP became a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
In 1995, CPP introduced Family Theatre to provide greater opportunities for younger actors to work with experienced actors. The introduction of Family Theatre Too in 2006 expanded those opportunities to very young actors.
With the temporary closing of the Community Center for renovation, CPP moved to the Grand Haven Area Arts Council building in 2006.
2008 also brought other significant changes. CPP returned to the Community Center in 2008 and leased its own facilities at 1433 Fulton, Grand Haven.
In spring of 2011, CPP partnered with Grand Haven Public Schools and moved to Lakeshore Middle School. Central Park Players has a new home stage at Lakeshore Middle School, as well as offices and a scene shop all under the same roof.
Vibrant, compelling, engaging theatre and community outreach are all part of CPP’s plans for the future. Central Park Players is proud to be an important Tri-Cities asset and continues to build on that solid foundation laid nearly 150 years ago.