BEAVERCREEK — At the 2015 West Region Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA) festival in Beavercreek, Sock & Buskin Players, of Sidney, received the 2015 Spirit of Community Theatre award.
Christi Thomas accepted the award on behalf of the group from OCTA Past President John Falkenbach.
This award is presented annually by OCTA to recognize an individual or theater who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the pursuit of community theater.
Sock & Buskin Players was formed in April 1974, when a small group of people produced the play, “The Fantasticks.” Little did they know that community theater in Sidney would catch on.
The name, Sock & Buskin, comes from the Greek stage. The sock was a light shoe worn in Greek comedies, while the buskin was a laced boot worn in Greek tragedies.
Although they started their productions at the local YMCA, through the years the group performed in various venues indoors and outdoors, including Central Elementary, Bridgeview Middle School, Sidney High School, First United Methodist Church, Shelby County Fairgrounds, Hickory Hills (long before Country Concert was one of the biggest outdoor productions in Shelby County), Shelby County Children’s Home, Sidney Elks Lodge, Cameo Theatre, Sidney Holiday Inn, Presbyterian Church, the Fairington Restaurant, and now the Historic Sidney Theatre.
When the group was evicted from the Childrens’ Home building so it could be torn down, they moved their props and furniture to an apartment downtown and major set pieces to a barn while performing at the small Cameo Theatre in the old Armory building.
Moving the shows to St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in 2003, they presented an excerpt of “All In The Timing” at the Northwest Regional festival in 2007, earning many awards and an invitation to showcase at the state conference in Beachwood.
In August of that year, the cast of “Grease” performed to sold-out audiences at the Historic Sidney Theatre, inspiring the group to continue summer musicals. At that time, they also moved costumes and props to a vacant apartment in the theater building.
Celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2014, the group applauded members old and new for their more than 115 productions in and around Sidney. Regardless of the changing venues and now dwindling membership, the group is synonymous with theater in Shelby County.
The nomination read, “We believe this group truly personifies the spirit of community theater.”