Executive Director Carol Willis cuts the ribbon for Olympic Theatre Arts’ new sign on Feb. 1 as part of an open house with theatre supporters and members of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Executive Director Carol Willis cuts the ribbon for Olympic Theatre Arts’ new sign on Feb. 1 as part of an open house with theatre supporters and members of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Olympic Theatre Arts front and center 40 years later

Theatre celebrates new sign, multiple milestones

Forty years as a theater group, 10 years in its bigger venue and a brand new sign were all part of the celebration on Saturday at Olympic Theatre Arts.

Community members joined in on Feb. 1 at the theater, 414 N. Sequim Ave., to enjoy memorabilia, video footage of past shows, conversation with actors and directors, and to hear about what’s next during a three-hour party.

The event opened with a ribbon cutting outside sponsored by the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce for OTA’s new sign. Executive director Carol Willis said fundraising for it began in November 2018 with a “raise the paddle” fundraiser and again in 2019 for about $16,000 total after more donations were needed.

“They were so gracious,” Willis said of supporters.

A new sign was a necessity, she said, because the old one blocked the entrance and what OTA entailed wasn’t clear.

“Now, the sign has ‘community theatre’ written on it,” Willis said. “All are welcome here.”

As part of the celebration, actors Miles Carignan, Sean Peck-Collier and Danny Willis reprised their roles from 2015’s performance of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” to perform its final scene in the Gathering Hall for a full room.

Miles Carignan, Sean Peck-Collier and Danny Willis reprise their roles from Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” for one scene to celebrate Olympic Theatre Arts’ 40th anniversary. The show ran in summer 2015. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Miles Carignan, Sean Peck-Collier and Danny Willis reprise their roles from Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” for one scene to celebrate Olympic Theatre Arts’ 40th anniversary. The show ran in summer 2015. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Organizers said OTA started with Richard Waites’ one-man show “Krapp’s Last Tape” in 1980 in the OldDungeness Schoolhouse and grew from him asking audience members about starting a community theatre. It developed into the volunteer Olympic Theatre Arts and is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

The group eventually moved to the second floor space of the now Calvary Chapel Sequim building and named the space the Howard Wood Memorial Theatre after the benefactor.

Elaine and Bob Caldwell later helped rally community support to buy and renovate its current space on North Sequim Avenue.

The open house also celebrated the center stage’s premiere production of “Cabaret” 10 years ago this year, organizers said.

The event’s decorations and outfits were designed by planner Rosie von Engel, and the new sign was made with work and donations from Davis Masonry, Allform Welding, Electric America, The Quarry and Rodocker Woodworks.

For more about Olympic Theatre Arts, visit olympic theatrearts.org or call 360-683-7326.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

Community members enjoyed videos, food and memorabilia on Feb. 1 for Olympic Theatre Arts’ 40th anniversary open house. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Community members enjoyed videos, food and memorabilia on Feb. 1 for Olympic Theatre Arts’ 40th anniversary open house. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

OTA board members gather during the theatre’s 40th anniversary to commemorate being honored as the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Month in February. Pictured from left, are, Sara Nicholls, Steve Rodeman, Sandy Altman, Elaine Caldwell, Mary Powell, Phil Mortensen, Mike Carpenter and executive director Carol Willis. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

OTA board members gather during the theatre’s 40th anniversary to commemorate being honored as the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Month in February. Pictured from left, are, Sara Nicholls, Steve Rodeman, Sandy Altman, Elaine Caldwell, Mary Powell, Phil Mortensen, Mike Carpenter and executive director Carol Willis. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

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