Driftwood Players, began in the late 1950’s by a few cast members of the Civic Choir production of Pajama Game. The origin of the name came from the Westport area by the ocean where some melodramas were produced.
Following its formation in November 1959, Driftwood Theatre also provided summer theatre in more remote locations targeting the summer tourist that went to these locations in droves. Because travel was different back then, it was decided to take the theater on the road, so to speak. The first summer theater was held at Cohasset Beach near Grayland in 1960. The theater pictured was originally built around 1910 as a carriage house for the Essex Hotel, located across the highway. In 1934, the barn was converted into a house. In 1960, Mrs. Hogan, the current owner allowed the Players to use it as a Playhouse.
The first play was The Drunkard. The next summer they did Lily the Felon’s Daughter. These comedy melodramas were a big hit to the audiences and many people came again and again to see them.
On February 24, 1960, the curtain went up on See How They Run, the first Driftwood production at the old playhouse in Cosmopolis. That first theatre was an old remodeled store building on the main street in Cosmopolis. It was a small theatre with a very small offstage area backstage. In fact during the first production actor Dick Lane actually had to exit out of the building change his costume outside and enter from the other side. Driftwood stayed in that building for seven years before it was demolished and they moved into the old Swedish-Finn Temperance Hall on B Street in Hoquiam. This was Driftwood’s home for the next 15 years. It had a “thrust stage” which means that the audience sat on three sides of the stage. It really put the audience “in” the play sometimes when actors missed their entrance and ended up in someone’s lap.
In 1981, the Christian Science Society in Aberdeen decided to move to a smaller building. Driftwood found that it was a perfect site and with some major internal remodeling, turned it into one of the Northwest’s finest community theatres. The Aberdeen Rotary Club assisted by raising the needed funds. The theatre remodeling was undertaken by the Aberdeen Lions Club under the direction of Will Foster and Gene Fogde. It was completed on September 17, 1982. The first play was Auntie Mame, a very ambitious play with 29 actors for 39 roles and a production crew of 19 people. This began the long string of successful plays in the fabulous theatre we now call “home”.
The opening of the 2020-2021 season will mark our 61st anniversary of service to the community. With the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season, Driftwood performed 292 plays. The members of Driftwood past and present would like to thank everyone for their support, and know that we will continue to provide great entertainment for Grays Harbor and the surrounding communities.