In 1957, two members of the St Pius parish church in Southgate set out to present a minstrel show; Cotton Pickin’ Paradise. After that initial show, plans were made to continue this new-found tradition. They elected officers and instituted a constitution and from those humble beginnings, the St Pius Players were born. Initially original scripts were written by members and in the opening years twice they presented For This I was Born; the Passion of the Lord. It was the first show of its kind in the downriver area and just the start of continued acclaim of what would later become known as the Southgate Community Players.
The fall of 1963 brought with it a new constitution forming the St Pius Southgate Community Players and our first large cast royalty musical, Oklahoma. The following year we joined the Community Theatre Association of Michigan and expanded the season to include two shows. In the years that followed, we expanded to a three show season, opening and closing with a musical and a straight show in the middle. We also established season tickets which now boasts over 800 per season. In 1968, the Young Peoples’ Theatre was started as a means to teach the youth all about theatre and give them an opportunity to perform as well.
In 1971, we broke off our ties with St Pius so that we could continue to grow and we officially became the Southgate Community Players. As the years continued, what was once an “idea” had now become the premier community theatre in the area often being the first group to take a difficult or elaborate production. Some of those “firsts” included A Chorus Line, Jesus Christ Superstar, Something’s Afoot & City of Angels to name a few.
In 1981, the players purchased their first building when they moved into a small building that was big enough for board meetings and sometimes rehearsals. It also had a garage for storage. It took 15 years, until 1996, before we moved to our current residence which is over four times the size of our first space. We held a contest to name it, and it officially The Corner Playhouse. It is large enough to rehearse in and as a means of supporting it, we also present shows in the summer there.
Again we have presented some “firsts” there as well including A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody, The Taffettas, Twilight of the Golds and the world premiere of Brunch;The Musical. We are continually expanding and growing, working hard not to sacrifice quality entertainment. Currently we present our main stage season of two musicals and a straight show, two summer shows at the Corner Playhouse, our youth productions, interactive shows and we are also the organizers of the official Oscar party in the Detroit area, Oscar Night America.