South Jersey Players had its first season in the summer of 2017. The community theater was conceived by Marlene May, a veteran actress from New York City who has a second residence in Ventnor.
The mission of the South Jersey Players is to give local actors a performance venue in the Downbeach community. Ventnor Coffee, at 108 N. Dorset Ave., opened the doors to the idea and the new theater took off.
In the summer of 2018, Kathy Steel, SJP company member, directed a New Plays Festival using material by local playwrights from the Players and Playwrights by the Jersey Shore. With the positive audience response, it was evident that offering local playwrights a full-production opportunity using local actors was unique and welcomed in South Jersey.
"Four Original One-Acts" by Sondra Mandel, Tom Chin, Heidi Mae and Ed Shakespeare, directed by Marlene May and Heidi Mae, will be on this year’s program. Rehearsals take place at the Ventnor library, the Margate library and the directors' residences. Open auditions were held in early May for the June production season.
After the weekend run at Ventnor Coffee, which takes place 7 p.m. June 28, 29 and 30, the troupe will perform at the Jersey Fringe festival in Hammonton from Aug. 2 through 4 at the Hammonton Arts Gallery. Tickets are $15. For reservations, call Marlene May at 347-920-6399.