Americaâ€™s Longest Running Touring Company, National Players, is celebrating its 60th anniversary season, having earned a distinctive place in American theatre by bringing innovative and accessible productions to audiences across the country.
Performed with high-voltage energy, clarity, and wit, National Players introduces audiences to great works of dramatic literature that are rich in exciting stories and characters, and profound in language and themes. Our productions touch hearts and minds, inspire imagination and wonder, spark curiosity about the self, the world, and the creative process, and celebrate what it means to be human.
National Players was founded in 1949 by Father Gilbert V. Hartke, O.P., a prominent arts educator and then head of the drama department at Catholic University of America. His mission â€“ to stimulate young peoplesâ€™ higher thinking skills and imaginations by presenting classical plays in surprisingly accessible ways â€“ is as urgent and vital today as it was 60 years ago.
Olney Theatre Center is proud to be the artistic home of National Players and continues Father Hartkeâ€™s vision and commitment to provide young theatre artists with their first professional opportunities. Players alumni include actors, directors, and designers working on dozens of stages across America, and in film and television.
National Players has performed in the East Wing of the White House, in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East for American military, and throughout 40 states. Known for its talent and commitment to excellence, National Players has brought literature to life for more than 2.5 million audience members.
National Players takes Much Ado About Nothing into the deep South during the age of Dixieland Jazz. This sparkling comedy highlights the dancing wit of the â€śmerry warâ€ť between the sexes and the endearing spectacle of intellectual self-importance outdone by the desire to love and be loved in return.