Renovated from the foundation of Pullman’s history, the Regional Theatre of the Palouse now stands as a playhouse for locals to enjoy live theater.
Located in downtown Pullman, the RTOP gathers community members to put on four shows with performances in the summer, winter, fall and spring.
A semi-professional theater, RTOP utilizes the skills of union performers, professional vocalists and even students from Washington State University and University of Idaho audition for shows like"Hello, Dolly!" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
There are training programs for those who want to brush up on their acting skills or for those who want to learn about stage direction and crew work.
"We want to do interesting works," RTOP Director John Rich said. "But we also do a lot of standards."
Many stage directors would agree that it is hard to get a good audience to come to shows that aren’t well-known.
RTOP welcomes volunteers for set construction and costume and set designs. The theater often works with WSU’s Center for Civic Engagement group, who assist them with cleaning, set building, ushering, and costumes.
The theater holds semiannual auditions, which are always open to the public.
"Our philosophy is the best person gets the role," Rich said. "We really try and get an even, professional cast. Some think they should be privileged, but that’s not our philosophy."
He said not many people from the West Side realize that there are talented people here.
In August, RTOP put on "Sound of Music." Dora McDougall, an actress who has done four main stage shows for RTOP, enjoyed her chance to perform in the show this summer.
"It got difficult at times, but other times it was a piece of cake," she said.
The actors have to utilize a small amount of space for the entire show, even if the scene requires the space of a grand ballroom. Still, they remain enthusiastic.
"Last summer I auditioned and was cast in"Oliver"as Nancy," said Katie McDougall, another actress who has also done four shows. "I have been in three shows since then and am looking forward to the next one. Sound of Music was so memorable it makes me sad to think it’s over."
For their next show, RTOP will put on the old classic "Grease." RTOP is holding auditions for the
November show on Sept. 12, from 6:30-9 p.m. They also offer a season pass for those who come simply to watch the shows.
For more information on what RTOP offers, visit www.rtoptheatre.org.