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SCP closes out 30th season celebration with 'Nunsense 2'

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Shelby County Players will finish out the two-weekend run of “Nunsense 2” with 7:30 p.m. performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday.
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Willandra Macklin-Malone, performing as Rev. Mother Mary Regina, introduces the nuns during a rehearsal last week.

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

What started as an idea among a group of friends has grown into a well-respected operation within the local theatre community.

Shelby County Players is finishing up its 30th season celebration with the second weekend run of “Nunsense 2,” starting Thursday, after having built a reputation for providing quality local entertainment over the years.

The first time Shelby County Players took the stage, the group performed at Fiddlers Three.

In 1988, under the leadership of B.J. Fairchild-Newman, who at the time was an English teacher, SCP opened with one-act plays “The Zoo Story” and “Rise and Shine.”

“We knew what we hoped it would be,” said Laura Stieneker-Taylor, who is serving as choreographer for the current show and was a member of the original cast 30 years ago, before a dress rehearsal last week. “We knew what we hoped it would be. And this is what we hoped it would be.”

She was referring to the growth of SCP, which moved to the Strand Theatre in 2010 after it had been remodeled.

Fairchild-Newman led auditions but she had worked with some of those actors at the high school so she had an idea of what their talents were, Stieneker-Taylor said.

When the two plays opened at Fiddlers Three, SCP performed it as both a dinner show and as a standalone show.

At the beginning, SCP did not have anyone assigned to figure out costumes, so cast members were expected to find their own.

And because the first performance was given in a restaurant, they couldn’t have a scenery set up, so Stieneker-Taylor’s dad created tombstones for the second show. They also used a park bench for both shows.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “We didn’t have community theatre so it was something new.”

In both 1989 and 1990, SCP produced one show each year, but by 1991, organizers were ready to start expanding. SCP produced two shows that year and grew to three the following year.

Nowadays, the group can be counted on to produce five shows each season.

One of the biggest differences between SCP back then versus now – aside from the change in venue – was the respect level elsewhere, Stieneker-Taylor said.

After performing in “Rise and Shine,” she moved to Fort Wayne and later lived in Indianapolis before returning to Shelbyville two years ago. People outside Shelbyville know about SCP, she said.

When she came back to Shelbyville and rejoined SCP, she reached out to friends in Fort Wayne who lended costumes, she said.

“It has a reputation, and that’s good,” she said.

The 30th season has served as a celebration for current and former cast and crew members.

“It’s been wonderful to reflect on what we’ve done in the past and what people did prior to when I started with SCP,” Director Cindy Leahy said. “Meeting people who were the core people who started this, a lot of them, they said, ‘We couldn’t have imagined where we are today’ based on where they started.”

“Nunsense 2” returns to the Strand Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and continues at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday before closing out its run at 2 p.m. Sunday.