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"Mom's Gift," photo from left, Sharon Hartley, Ann Collman, Dan Rohr, and Michael Johnson. Photo by Sarah Rudlang

Pequot Lakes Community Theater celebrates 30 years

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Attention, all ye thespians! Pequot Lakes Community Theater is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

In 1983, what began as a group of friends putting on a variety show blossomed into what is now Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts (GLAPA). The three founders were Judy Larsen, Sandy Johnson and Joelle Burns. Volunteer groups of community members and community education personnel also helped create GLAPA.

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A year later, PLCT was born and fell under the GLAPA umbrella.

"Back when we began the group, it was a nice, brand new theater at the time. Seldom was it used for anything, and it provided a local venue to be used for shows," Johnson said of the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium/theater.

"Our first show was 'Bits of Broadway,' which was a variety show to raise feed money in order to do more shows. It all worked well with that beautiful facility. Sandy did the music, Joelle choreographed the dancing, and I did the directing," said Larsen, former GLAPA board chair for 20 years. "It is a wonderful resource for our community, and I am hoping it will continue on for another 30 years or more."

GLAPA has been providing entertainment for the lakes area through seasonal performances. Initially,GLAPA began doing annual performances, but grew to provide three shows a year. Throughout that time, more than 1,000 people have had the opportunity to volunteer their services both onstage and off.

The current PLCT play, "Mom's Gift," which opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 10, marks the 65th production over the 30-year period. Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, July 10-12, and Tuesday-Thursday, July 15-17, in the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium.

"This theater is physically the best theater in the area. The GLAPA board works hard to keep it as current as possible. We have always strived for quality shows, whether it is a concert series or our community theater performances. Quality, high quality, is always expected," said Nancy Waller, director of "Mom's Gift" and former GLAPA board chair. "It is amazing to think that through the years we have had so many talented directors. The first one that I met was Judy Larsen. She directed several shows that I was in, and the community enjoyed and came to expect the quality that she instilled in our theater."

GLAPA is responsible for setting the seasonal performances, soliciting ticket sales and raising funds to underwrite programs. GLAPA has an active membership of more than 120 season ticket holders who are able to enjoy theater and arts sessions of visiting performers, touring shows, guest artists, as well as PLCT productions.

GLAPA is a nonprofit organization that welcomes and appreciates donations. Mail donations to GLAPA/Pequot Lakes Community Education, 30805 Olson St., Pequot Lakes, MN 56472.

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