Plays, performances and more


The older I get, the more I realize how little I know. Sometimes it’s worrisome to discover I am so far out of the loop, and sometimes it comes as a delightful surprise. It was the latter when I discovered The Reader’s Theater Unlimited. This came about when Judy Kiehart, local author of the award-winning book Calico Lane, invited me to a rehearsal of the group’s upcoming plays.

It was ‘plays,’ plural, because the plays are short oneacts, lasting about fifteen minutes, with the exception of A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES by Dylan Thomas, which lasts about thirty minutes.

A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES boasts the largest cast and includes Christmas carols sung with great gusto. It is a fun and lyrical production about a grandfather’s journey back to his own boyhood Christmases in a small Welsh village, bringing the days of the past back to life.  This play is directed by Jake Lehman.

The one-act production of A CUP OF CHRISTMAS TEA was written by Tom Hegg.  In this dramatic poem, Amy visits her Great Aunt Mary, played by Elizabeth Raybould, and finds a renewed belief in the spirit of Christmas. It is directed by Rita Niesen, who also plays Amy.

Rita informed me this was her first foray into directing and from my view she was doing a great job.

The third production was written and directed by Judy Kiehart and is entitled Leon. This play introduces us to three sisters, one of whom is a playful spirit. A few days before Christmas, the three sisters reminisce about a Christmas present they gifted their mother when they were children during the 1950s.

Jane, the eldest sister in spirit form, joins her two younger siblings adding to the memories. Humorous anecdotes show how a simple knick-knack kept a family connected.

Cathy Russell was one of the first members of The Readers Theater I was introduced to, and she immediately asked if I wanted her autograph. Clearly, she was the perfect choice for the ‘spirit’ sister, Jane. Cathie is joined by Anne Balch who plays Tina and Donna Doyle, who plays Beth.

Each play has a facilitator, played by Nanette Wichman, who introduces the setting and characters.

The name of this group, The Readers Theater Unlimited, is appropriate because the actors do not memorize their lines – they read them aloud while performing. The beauty of this form of theater is that anyone, even those who profess to have memory issues, can participate.

All members of the cast, crew, and directors must meet only one requirement – they must be seniors. No other experience is required.

“Established in 2004, we have been bringing the magic of live theater to our audiences for nearly 20 years”, explained Nanette Wichman, Facilitator/RTE Chair.

“We are interested in all aspects of theater from writing to vital off-stage activities.  The more we participate, the more we appreciate the magic.  Join us on stage or behind the scenes.   No memorization!  You need not act.”

The group meets at the Olympia Senior Center.  Rehearsals are usually Tuesdays beginning at noon.  Script readings are usually the 2nd and 4th Mondays at 1:00.  Guests are welcome.

December 2023 plays.  Public Performances at the Olympia and Lacey Senior Centers.

  • Olympia Senior Center Tuesday, December 12 at 1:00
  • 222 Columbia Street NW, Olympia.
  • Virgil Clarkson Lacey Senior Center Thursday, December 14 at 12:30 
  • 6757 Pacific Avenue SE, Lacey.
  • All performances are free of charge and at the senior centers, open to the public. This group also performs for senior residences, libraries and other groups.
  • The RTE board members are as follows:
  • Nanette Wichman - Facilitator/Chair
  • Elizabeth Raybould - Recording Secretary
  • Judy Oliver - Corresponding Secretary
  • Jake Lehman - Treasurer
  • Jim Niesen - Gig Coordinator

If this group sounds like something you might enjoy being involved with you can contact Nanette Wichman by email at

The Readers Theater Unlimited Cast Members of A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES
The Readers Theater Unlimited Cast Members of A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES

A Different Type of Rehearsal

Recently about seven of my family members attended a dress rehearsal of A Christmas Carol, at the Harlequin Theater downtown. This was a fundraiser for the PARC Foundation.

The PARC Foundation of Thurston County is dedicated to preserving the vital green spaces of our natural surroundings, expanding, and supporting works of art and artists in our community.

The audience was invited to offer suggestions to the cast after their performance, but none were needed. If you want a holiday theater experience for the family don’t miss out on this one. For dates, times and ticket information click on this link

The First Annual Olympia Funk Festival - Funk OFF!
The First Annual Olympia Funk Festival - Funk OFF!

PARC upcoming events in the new year

The First Annual Olympia Funk Festival - Funk OFF!

The PARC Foundation is excited to announce our first annual Olympia Funk Festival - Funk OFF!, taking place February 2 - 4, 2024, 2:00 at the Capitol Theater and Olympia Ballroom. For information about PARC Foundation, how to get involved, or purchase tickets for The Olympia FUNK OFF event, click here.  


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