East Falls: Old Academy Players Reach Milestone

East Falls: Old Academy Players Reach Milestone
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The building was originally built in 1819 as a community center for East Falls.

The structure was originally built in 1819 as a community center for East Falls.

The Old Academy Players have been situated on Indian Queen Lane for 91 years as of this year, and have put on performances from lesser-known playwrights to the Bard himself.  They are getting ready to put on their 500th full –length play.

The structure itself was built in 1819, when it was originally used as a community center, and eventually a school, and finally a library.  The Provost of the University of Pennsylvania

Bob Freed, now the Vice President, started with the Old Academy as an actor.

Bob Freed, now the Vice President, started with the Old Academy as an actor.

donated the land. The Old Academy Players moved from their original space in a church to the house during the Depression, and have been there ever since.

“We’re strictly volunteer,” Bob Freed, Vice President in charge of production and former

actor, said.  “So it’s always the issue of trying to meet the budget.”

Despite the financial problems over the years, the group has still managed to thrive in East

The stage was set for their next production, "Boeing Boeing."

The stage was set for their next production, “Boeing Boeing.”

Falls.

A few notable figures in the acting community spent time with the Old Academy, such as Grace Kelly and Robert Prosky.

Their next show will be a comedy called Boeing Boeing, which runs from April 25 to May 11.

Through perseverance and teamwork through the 20th century, the Old Academy Players have thrived in East

Falls, and have planned to put on their 500th performance within a year and a half.

– Text and images by Brendan Menapace 

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