Raising the Stage



[from left] Hoover Sophomore Emma Schenck, GlenOak freshman Zach May, and NCMS seventh grader Elle Tamulewicz rehearse “The Addams Family.”

The North Canton Playhouse Center has brought superb entertainment to North Canton for many years. The playhouse strives to provide amusement and enjoyment for the community, while staying a non profit organization. Currently, the goal is to raise money to help fund the theater for expenses such as set pieces and costumes. Additionally, the theater was renovated from the money raised in the fundraiser.

Students who contribute to the North Canton Playhouse were interviewed regarding their favorite and most memorable parts of being involved in the program. Junior, Pacey Wood, talks about her experience and what the playhouse means to her.

“My favorite part of being at the Playhouse is just doing what I love,” Wood said. “Being on stage has opened so many opportunities for me and has helped me get out of my shell. I have made so many friends and am so grateful that the North Canton playhouse can continue to put on shows.”
Senior Molly Mead discusses the family atmosphere of the playhouse. She speaks highly of advisors Lisa Paynter and Mindy Whitesmith. Mead claims the organization has something to offer to anyone interested.

“My favorite part of being in the Playhouse is the feeling of family,” Mead said. “There are people who have been involved for years and some that have just recently been in their first show and to everyone, it is all the same. You become so close with the cast when working on a show and the directors here are so amazing. Lisa Paynter and Mindy Whitesmith truly care about each individual person. The Playhouse is such an inclusive place and it truly doesn’t matter if you have never done a show in the past. There is always something for everyone at the Playhouse even if you have never stepped foot on a stage in your life.”

Not only do the students enjoy the playhouse, but advisor’s find the experience lively as well. One of the advisors, Lisa Paynter, describes her dedication, how much the playhouse means to her, and how long she has been involved in the playhouse.

“I am the Executive Director and basically manage and coordinate the different programs at the Playhouse, as well as work with our wonderful directors, customers, technical crew to create a smooth running program,” Paynter said. “I have been at the NCP since I was 14 years old, as my parents, Mary & Mac McManaway started the NCP in 1976. We are privileged to be in our 47th year.”

Paynter takes great pride in her leadership role. She speaks highly of the students involved in the program.

“My favorite part is the camaraderie that takes place while working to pull productions and projects together, and in particular working with the awesome youth.” Paynter said.

Mead speaks on the goals for the playhouse and the foreseeable future of the program. The playhouse hopes to see some younger faces this summer and gain new members.

“The goals for the North Canton Playhouse in the future are to continue to put on intricate productions throughout the year and to grow the Playhouse family,” Mead said. “They put on workshops in the summer for younger age groups so that more people are able to get involved at a younger age and they have also recently been putting on adult plays. They put on workshops in the summer for younger age groups so that more people are able to get involved at a younger age and they have also recently been putting on adult plays. All of these shows are put on in hopes of getting more people involved at the Playhouse because it really is like a family.”

In order to achieve these goals, the playhouse does fundraisers to help  raise money and strengthen the program. Paytner and Whitesmith keep the fundraisers local, and continue to involve the community.

“Some of the ways we raise money are by having local businesses and people around the community donate to the North Canton Playhouse website, even buying a ticket helps,” Wood said, “Raffle baskets are also donated and drawings take place.”

Mead talks more about the fundraisers and the steps taken by the playhouse to raise money. The program attempts to make the fundraisers engaging and a fun time.

“Each family involved in the show must raise money by selling ads to local businesses around North Canton, donating a raffle basket for the raffle available at the shows, and a gift card for the fundraising games,” Mead said. “There are games available to play both before and after the show to raise money like balloon pop to win a special prize, picking a gift card off a tree, and many more.”

The North Canton Playhouse has never failed to build the community as a whole and give people an opportunity to experience a strong bond over theater arts.

“The NCP offers people a chance to experience the Arts, whether it be on stage, backstage, volunteering or being an audience member and coming to enjoy all of the Arts performances we offer,” Paynter said.