Depot Players

Submitted / The Herald The crew of ‘A Storm Came Up’ poses for a photograph after it won Best in Show at the Alabama CommunityTheatre Festival earlier this month.

The Wetumpka Depot Players production of “A Storm Came Up” won Best in Show at the Alabama Community Theatre Festival earlier this month.

“A Storm Came Up” was created by Wetumpka Depot Players Artist Director Kristy Meanor and longtime Birmingham News sports writer Doug Segrest from a novel by Segrest.

“This has been the most rewarding two years of my life, from the moment Kristy reached out and said she wanted to turn my novel into a play,” Segrest said. “Every time I watch a performance, I get goosebumps. I attribute that to Kristy’s gifted direction and a cast that has turned mere thoughts on a page into living, breathing, identifiable characters on stage.”

Now the Depot Players will take the production to Kentucky to represent Alabama at the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) Region 4 Festival at the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) next year.

Joining the Wetumpka Depot Players production of Meanor and Segrest’s ‘A Storm Came Up’ in Lexington will be Theatre Tuscaloosa, which will travel their production of Michael Higgins’ Launch Day to SETC.  Both shows were among 12 finalists out of 200 submitted entries in AACT’s 2020 NewPlayFest contest. This is the first time that two NewPlayFest shows from the same cycle move forward to regionals.

“The Wetumpka Depot Players will stage their production along with community theatres from Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia in March,” Meanor said. “The experience of traveling a show to SETC is certainly a professional development opportunity for all involved. We always return a stronger company.”

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But the Depot Players did more than bring home best in show in Tuscaloosa. Meanor was named best director; Matthew Mitchell was awarded Best Actor; Charles Eddie Moncrief was presented with Best Scenic Design; Hannah Meherg accepted Best Lighting Design; and actors Tony Davison and Scott Rouse were named All Star Cast 

“When it comes to the Wetumpka Depot Players, who says lightning can’t strike twice when it comes to success at state, regional and even national theatre competitions? How thrilling that ‘A Storm Came Up,’ adapted by our own Kristy Meanor from an acclaimed novel by Alabama author Doug Segrest, has won the hearts and minds statewide of theatrical professionals at ACTFest,” Depot Players Board President Jeff Langham said. “I can’t wait to see the future of this play with its impeccable cast and exceptional production values as it moves on to the regional competition.

“We are truly blessed here in Wetumpka to have a community theatre that not only continues to thrive but once again gains well-deserved recognition and appreciation beyond the boundaries of our beloved town.”

The Wetumpka Depot Players have an award-winning history with state, regional and national festivals.  Previous state winning productions include ‘Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ and ‘The Glass Menagerie.’ Regional productions include ‘‘night, Mother’ and ‘The Fantasticks.’  The Depot advanced to national festivals with Second Samuel in 2011 and The Diviners in 2019, winning numerous awards along the way through state, regional and national competition. 

The Wetumpka Depot Players have entertained, educated, and impacted the community for 42 years.  In addition to full seasons of plays, musicals and new works, the group is committed to enriching the River Region with outreach programs that include The Penguin Project, Encore Players and youth camps and productions. The theatre is located at 300 S. Main St.in historic downtown Wetumpka.  Ticket and general information are available at wetumpkadepot.com