|A Brief History
Stage Coach Players Past Productions
Stage Coach Players Award Winners
In 1947 a group of young people gave a performance of "Pure as the Driven Snow" at the Old Masonic Temple on Locust Street in DeKalb (now a part of the parking lot of the National City Bank). Ann Eddy Gray was the director. The group, which included Charles Bradt, had so much fun that they prevailed upon Ann to form a theater group. They all met at The Gray residence on North 7th Street and formed an organization, and they planned a season of plays for that summer. They needed a theater space, and Ann went to John Ellwood and persuaded him to let the group use the loft of his big barn on the Ilehamwood Farm on North First Street. John's mother, Mrs. E. Perry Ellwood, gave the group the use of a stage coach, which became the box office for the players and which gave them a name, the Stage Coach Players.
During the summer of 1947, the Stage Coach Players presented "Arsenic and Old Lace," "Claudia," "Berkeley Square," and "On Borrowed Time" in the Barn. They remained at the Barn for 3 summers (through 1949). Then Ellwood needed the barn for farming purposes, and at the same time Mrs. Ellwood sold the stage coach to a museum in Minden, Nebraska.
For three summers the Players presented their plays in the auditorium of the DeKalb High School and in the all-purpose rooms of the DeKalb grade schools. For one play "The Trial of Mary Dugan," the resourceful Ann Eddy Gray used a court room of the DeKalb County Court House.
In 1953 the Stage Coach Players moved into their theatre on Love's Road, a modular metal building. The land was acquired from the DeKalb County Board; it was part of the County Farm. The first play in this new building was Bernard Shaw's "Androcles and the Lion," directed by Ann Eddy Gray.
At first the theatre was the only building out on the edge of town. The theatre was without water until 1961, when a well was dug. As the seasons went by, more conveniences were added: an addition with dressing rooms, rest rooms, and storage space. Meanwhile residences and businesses grew up all around the theatre, and finally the members decided that they needed a better space with heating and air conditioning and protection from the elements, and so in 2001, a new building was acquired at 126 S. 5th Street, which had been the Moose Hall and for the last 30 years the Church of Christ in DeKalb.
In 2001, the Stage Coach Players presented "Plaza Suite" and "The Fantasticks" in their old theatre on Barber-Greene Road, and after a fitting farewell ceremony, they moved into their new theater with productions "Gypsy" and "The Importance of Being Earnest."
Stage Coach Players has presented a large variety of shows with many different directors and many different presidents. Thanks to Bob and Kathy Cain and Bill Kator here is a list of all the shows and their directors since Stage Coach's founding.