WHO WE ARE… Our story
Circle Theatre Company’s story began in the hearts of two moms, Becky Saunders and Jeanne Richardson. Two moms who desired to see nine little thespians continue to grow in their creative gifts, two moms who were following their hearts, two moms who had just enough courage to step out of their comfort zones, two moms who began following a shared dream. A dream that started the incredible journey known as Circle Theatre Company.
During the summer of 2004 we were introduced to Allen McCoy, Tracy McCoy, and Morgan Russell. Three talented artists, teachers, and directors. Tracy McCoy joined us as our first teacher/director. The nine thespians grew to thirty. Mrs. McCoy’s passion for theatre, her enthusiasm, and her desire for excellence was infectious to the creative team. Circle Theatre produced its first fully mounted musical, Oklahoma! to the awe of the students, the parents, and the community.
In the fall of 2005, Circle Theatre offered one semester classes in Movement, Voice Articulation, Improv, Character Development, Musical Theatre, and Shakespeare. Allen McCoy and Amy Michelle Smith joined our team. Rejoice, a show written by the cast and based on their favorite memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas, was produced. The season ended with our highly acclaimed production of Hello, Dolly! at The Orlando Repertory Universal Theatre.
The dream had become a reality as our 2006-2007 season began our commitment to arts education with the development of our core theatre classes: Drama I, Drama II, Drama III, and Drama IV; and the addition of Circle Theatre Kids, production classes for kindergarten through fifth graders. Christi Griffith joined us as our musical director for Annie Get Your Gun performed in the Edyth Bush Theatre of The Orlando Repertory Theatre.
During our 2007-2008 season, Anna Fisher, Nathanael Fisher, and Christi Griffith joined Tracy McCoy and Circle Theatre Company grew from producing two shows to five shows in a single season. Circle Studio Players was birthed as a first semester, introductory production class for sixth through twelfth graders. Our first school wide production, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was directed by Tracy McCoy as Studio Players were joined by our Munchkin Players (K-2) and First Stage Players (3-5). Company members had the opportunity to perform our first tragedy, The Women of Troy and our first Shakespearean comedy, The Taming of the Shrew under the direction of Christi Griffith. The spring of 2008 found us returning to the Edyth Bush Theatre for the amusing and absurd musical, Once Upon A Mattress.
We started our 2008-2009 season with the largest enrollment in our history and the largest enrollment of boys — 15 boys in Company! Morgan Russell joined us in the fall to direct Company members in A Midsummer Night’s Dream while Cathy Cox and Nathanael Fisher directed Studio Players in the somewhat true Canterbury Tales. Christi Griffith directed our spring musical of Guys and Dolls with Lee Monroe as our musical director.
In 2009-2010, the dream grew bigger with Circle Theatre Company launching the Family Series in addition to our regular season of shows. Allen McCoy joined us as our Artistic Director and Tracy McCoy returned as our Company director. The Family Series provided four additional productions for Company members to continue to grow in their craft while providing family friendly entertainment to the Central Florida community. Our season ended with not just one, but two sold-out performances during our run of Bye Bye Birdie under the direction Tracy McCoy, musical direction of Lee Monroe, and choreography by Mary Cole.
We found ourseleves with the largest group of students for the 2010-2011 season and producing the largest musical in our history. For the first time ever, Studio Players had the opportunity to perform their fall production at the Orlando Repertory Theatre. Company continued the fall tradition of performing in the Orlando Repertory Black Box Theatre. In January of 2011, Joe and Janette Obermueller, joined our creative team as directors, along with Susan Eissele, Musical Director, and Circle Theatre Alumni/Choreographer Olivia Richardson for our spring musical, The Music Man. With a cast of 52, a crew of 30, an orchestra of 10, and numerous parent volunteers, The Music Man became our most attended show in our history! What a way to end our 10th season!
2011-2012 kicked off the inaugural year of Circle School of the Arts. Circle Theatre Company became an audition only group of talented students wishing to pursue theatre while in high school. Rehearsals began for our most challenging show to date, Singin’ In The Rain. The orchestra pit was opened for the first time with Susan Eissele returning as Musical Director. The production included the film projection of both silent and talkies on a 15 ft x 12 ft screen. But the most loved technical feature of the entire production was the rain! The audiences went wild with applause at seeing it rain on stage! An incredible production and opportunity for our students made possible by a team of creative and highly dedicated individuals.
Our 2012-13 season brought several more “firsts.” The first time a full-length musical was performed in the fall (Kilroy Was HereI, under the direction of Katie Land); Circle Studio Players performed their first Christmas show, A Christmas Carol Radio Play; our first Arts Night was another night celebrating the arts with our students showcasing their incredible talents. Our season ended with the sleeper hit Me and My Girl.
Our 2013-14 Season brought the Family Series back with a twist. All three Family Series shows were directed and stage managed by students under the CSA Advisors mentorship. In December of 2013, Circle Theatre Company was name Best Theatre Group by the Orlando A-List and in February Arts Night 2014 brought our first Theatre Awards. Students were recognized for their talents and leadership in our Family Series and Jackie Summers was awarded the 2013-14 Excellence in Theatre Award. In the spring, we found many of seniors receiving college scholarships and the first CTC grad to be accepted into NYU Steinhardt Musical Theatre program. Circle Studio Players performed The Wizard of Oz under the direction of Rob West while Circle Theatre Kids performed The Jungle Book under the direction of Dawn Flood. Our K-3 group, ARTrageous, had their first night time performance, complete with set and costumes, entertained the crowd with E-I-E-I Oops! under the direction of Jocelyn Bartle. To mark the 50th anniversary of Hello Dolly and to celebrate Circle Theatre Company’s 50th production, Hello Dolly, returned to the Circle stage. During Hello Dolly tech rehearsals, Circle Theatre Company was interviewed and filmed for an upcoming PBS episode of Artisodes.
A long dream of incorporating parents and students on stage together was realized during our 2014-15 season. I’m Just Wild About Harry had Circle Theatre parents (Matt Clark, David Theriault, and Erin Theriault) sharing the stage with their sons (Bailey Clark and Sam Theriault) in our season opener student directed by Allie Novell. We were once again named by the Orlando A-List as BEST THEATRE GROUP for the second year in a row. Our fourteenth season ended with the musical, Calamity Jane, performed at the Orlando Repertory Edyth Bush Theatre under the direction and choreography of Linda Mementowski and musical direction of Susan Eissele.
Our 15th season brought yet more firsts for Circle Theatre Company as we had Circle Theatre alumni direct two of our Family Series shows. Our season opener, The Marvelous Wonderettes Caps & Gowns ’58 was directed by Circle alumnus Sam Stewart (CSA ’15). Christmas time brought the comedy The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate’s Townswomen’s Guild’s Dramatic Society’s Production of A Christmas Carol directed by Jake Theriault (CCS ’12). Circle Theatre Company was once again thrilled to premiere a new work, Sasquatched! The Musical, in the Black Box for their fall show. Sasquatched! was honored to receive 13 Applause Awards nominations, and one student – Paige Norberg – went on to be named “Outstanding Lead Performer” at the 2016 Dr. Phillips Center Applause Awards for her portrayal of Pat the Park Ranger. 2017 brought a beautifully moving production of Little Women and the always crowd-pleasing Winnie the Pooh Kids, performed by Circle Theatre Kids and First Stage Players. Our fifteenth season wrapped up with She Loves Me, once again performed at the Orlando Repertory Theatre under Linda Novak’s expert direction along with the musical direction of Susan Eissele.
Circle Theatre Company can’t wait to bring it’s 16th season to the Central Florida community. Sharing our love and passion of theatre with you.
Circle Theatre Company is committed to educating the next generation of young artists and enriching their lives and our community by providing the very best in family friendly entertainment. All as a result of two moms whose greatest desire was to provide a place where children could experience the beauty of theatre, to discover their God-given talents, and to develop relationships with other like-minded artists.
Two moms. One dream. One journey.