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Fort Peck Theatre celebrates 50th anniversary

Posted at 3:49 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 17:54:21-04

The Fort Peck Theatre was originally built as a temporary structure in 1934 for dam workers and served as a silent theatre.

Despite the temporary plans, the theatre remained and was later converted into a live playhouse, which it is today.

This season, the Fort Peck Theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary and in June, they held a celebration event.

Theatre staff contacted everyone who was involved with the theatre over the past 50 years, including board members, actors and employees. Around 300 people registered for the event.

The Fort Peck Theatre Reunion Coordinator Christen Etchart said, “It was a really good turnout for a tiny town in Montana, to have that many people back.”

The celebration weekend included a semi-formal gala, tours of the theatre, a barbecue, and a review show.

The review show featured some of the original cast from when the theatre originally opened.

The Fort Peck Theatre runs shows from the weekend after Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend, a total of five different plays and 42 shows. Each play typically runs for three weekends.

Fort Peck Fine Arts Council Executive Director Jennifer Fewer said they draw a lot of people from Canada, North Dakota and, of course, the eastern part of the state.

She said that 2018’s total attendance was around 15,000 people.

The theatre hires professional actors, but community members also perform.

They typically have one community show per year that calls for a younger audience. This year’s community show is Peter Pan, which has its opening shows this weekend.

The final play of the season is ‘On Golden Pond,’ which starts on August 16 and runs for three weeks during the weekend.

Etchart, who grew up acting at the Fort Peck Theatre and later majored in theatre, is excited to see what the future will bring.

She said, “We anticipate given the success of the past 50 years and the growth, we expect the next 50 years will be even better. The theatre has been a better place than it’s been, ever and especially all the recognition from people far and wide for our 50th.”

Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News