Peace Players is a nonprofit, amateur theatre group that supports the arts in Peace River.
Built in 1938, Athabasca Hall is a cultural centre in Peace River. Peace Players productions are held upstairs on the Don Weaver Stage, where there is fixed seating for 250 and a lounge and bar area for intermissions.
From the 1920 to '40s, drama in Peace River was performed mainly by the schools with some isolated adult productions.
During the 1950s, Hal Sisson and Bill Seaman organized an open-air 12 Foot Davis Night, with Hal and Bill and occasionally Cliff Green providing the entertainment. From 1961 to '66, the Peace River High School, under the direction of Don Weaver, won six drama festivals. This set the scene for the first PRHS Musical, L’il Abner, which also included adults from the community.
In 1965, Marlene Olson, Jim Weaver, Hal Sisson and Don Weaver attempted to form an adult theatrical club; however, the community did not respond to the challenge.
In the fall of 1966, after the success of L’il Abner, Don, Jim, Hal and Marlene spearheaded the formation of Peace Players, using the musical Guys and Dolls as the springboard. The rest is history!
Over the years, Peace Players has produced up to four local productions per season and, in conjunction with Alberta Culture, has arranged to bring in professional theatre to Peace River.
Touring professional theatrical groups from Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver have presented productions ranging from drama to musical comedy.
In addition to dramatic presentations, Peace Players has also brought in the Alberta Ballet and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO).
In the fall of 1967, Peace Players mounted the first of twenty consecutive productions of Sorry 'Bout That – a burlesque revue. Hal Sisson (and his famous shoulder holster) gathered the material from Vegas, New York, L.A., and London from the best burlesque shows around. With Hal as producer and Don Weaver as director, the show became the financial backbone of Peace Players.
The name Sorry ‘Bout That was coined by Hal’s partner, Dwayne Rowe. Over the years, Hal provided all the material and produced most of the shows, while Don directed fourteen of the twenty productions.
Sorry 'Bout That was one of the longest continually running shows in Western Canada and played up to three weekends to capacity crowds from Northern Alberta.