The Olean Theatre Workshop was founded in the summer of 1983 after a production of Annie to raise money to replace the worn out curtains on the Olean High School stage. It began with a class of 15 students of various ages on the second floor of the old Bradner Store on Saturdays. We then moved to the second floor of the Palace Theater and included several multi age classes.
In response to the success of the Annie production, Peter Pan was presented to raise money to repair and finish the grand piano at the Olean High School Auditorium.
In 1989, we became an official not-for-profit organization and received our IRS nonprofit certification.
In August 1991, we purchased a church on the corner of Sixth and Washington Streets, which was converted to become The Washington Street Theater. For the past 35 years, it has served as a place to provide classes and performances for children and adults in the Olean area. The 70 seat theater was formerly a church located in Oaklawn Cemetery which is now Oak Hill Park. The building was moved to its present location in 1905. Since then, there have been over 80 community productions and an additional 35 student productions. Over 30,000 people have attended productions at the now Washington Street Theatre.
The Olean Theatre started sponsoring the Houghton String Festival in 2004 and continue to provide support to this activity. Over one hundred children students ranging from sixth through twelfth grade participate in this festival. Three ensembles, including an Elementary String Orchestra, a Junior High String Orchestra, and a Senior High String Orchestra, prepare and perform varied repertoire for this annual event.
In 2004, with the support of many businesses, The Olean Theatre Workshop built a permitted stage in Oak Hill Park to present “Shakespeare in the Park”. These productions are free and open to the public.
This year we would have presented our 11th Shakespeare production but with Covid-19 we had to cancel. This coming year we are planning to improve the stage in Oak Hill Park by placing a cover over the stage and adding storage space through DRI and the City of Olean.
We anticipate a brighter look for 2021 and look forward to working with our "theater kids" and presenting community shows again. We miss all of you---hope to see you soon.
A Safe New Year!!!
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT OTW
There are opportunities other than acting at OTW. We are always looking for people to "do house." This entails being at the door, taking money for tickets that are purchased at door, or tracking names of people who are season ticket holders or call-ins for the production. It is a very important chance to support the Workshop and there is a need in this particular area. Please express your interest via email or use the link at the top of this page. Thank you.