First City Players (FCP) is the Ketchikan area’s community theatre organization. FCP was organized by a dedicated group of volunteers in 1964 and has been an active theatre for 51 years. FCP incorporated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization in August 1966.
For many years FCP produced plays in many different venues in Ketchikan, including the Kayhi Auditorium, Schoenbar Middle School, the Sons of Norway, the Fireside Restaurant to name a few. The group produced musicals, contemporary and classical plays, drama and comedy, as well as children’s productions. IN the past FCP participated regional drama festivals and was always noted for their excellent productions.
In 1983 FCP took over management of what was to become the Main Street Theatre. In 1985 the theatre received a capital grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts to begin renovations. With this grant, community fundraising and the work of many dedicated volunteers, the Main Street Theatre opened its doors in the spring of 1986 with the play Painting Churches by Tina Howe, directed by Carol Cairnes Shaffer. With the opening of the theatre it became necessary for FCP to hire an artistic director to manage the facility and to administer and direct a regular season of plays.
Since 1988 FCP has produced regular seasons of plays and workshops. The theatre began to sell season subscriptions for the 1989-1990 season. The FCP production schedule has grown from one winter show and a summer production of Ketchikan’s original musical melodrama, The Fish Pirate’s Daughter, to a full year-round schedule of theatrical events.
In the past eighteen years FCP has expanded its youth programming. Beginning in the summer of 1997 FCP began offering children’s theatre classes. The first summer involved over 20 children in three different classes learning improvisation, storytelling and movement skills. In the summer of 1998 FCP joined with the KAAHC to start ArtsCool a summer fine and performing arts camp. FCP now enrolls up to 60 children ages 8 – 17 in classes that culminate in a fully staged musical production.
In the winter of 1999 FCP began a second children’s program, ActOut winter children’s theatre classes. These classes were for students from Kindergarten through 12th grades. These classes gave students opportunities to learn a number of different theatrical skills, Classes included Creative Dramatics, Improvisation, and Acting. Two years ago we changed the name of ActOut to StarPath Academy and are working to create year-round educational opportunities for adult and youth actors as well as workshops to teach technical theatre.
In the winter of 2002 FCP lost the lease with the longtime landlords at the Main Street Theatre. The office moved to 716 Totem Way in May of 2002 and staged the majority of productions on the Kayhi stage. In April 2007 FCP moved upstairs in the Plaza Mall and a number of productions were presented at the Plaza. In September of 2012 FCP moved into our new permanent office in the lower level of the future Ketchikan Performing Arts Center building.