Tysons-Based Traveling Players Offers Free Performances

Tysons-Based Traveling Players Offers Free Performances

TYSONS, VA — Whether you have a kid interested in the performing arts or simply like to watch theatre performances, the Tysons-based Traveling Players has something for everyone.

Jeanne Harrison told Patch she founded Traveling Players in 2003 “to create the place I wished existed when I was a kid.” It started as a touring theatre company that performed Shakespeare in the Park in Shenandoah National Park.

The day camp had 18 actors in its early days and has grown into a year-round program serving about 1,000 students each year. Today, the group performs everything from classic Shakespeare, Moliere, Commedia dell’Arte, and ancient mythology to modern plays.

The group’s studio is located inside Tysons Corner Center, where it hosts performances. Traveling Players provides acting classes for kids in grades 2 to 12, day camps for grades 2 to 5, and sleepaway theatre camps and conservatories for grades 4 to 12. Student actors can also join Traveling Players’ plays.

Day camps are held at the Tysons Corner Center studio, while sleepaway camps and conservatories are held in Leesburg. Harrison says the programs have small group sizes to provide individualized training. In addition to acting, Traveling Players has technical theater training.

“Each cast is led by a trio of directors, and it’s really important to me that no student is left idle during rehearsals,” said Harrison. “Directors are constantly pulling kids aside for work on language, physicality, or some other aspect of theatrical training.”

Traveling Players also provides students with an appreciation for the outdoors. The group’s oldest students continue to camp out, but other aspiring performers get to perform outside on the Tysons Corner Center Plaza.

Harrison said opening Traveling Players at Tysons Corner Center was like “coming home,” as she worked in the same retail space as a teenager when it was the Magic Pan Restaurant. She says the location is accessible for students to travel to and for parents to spend time during rehearsals. The group has enjoyed sharing theatre with the Tysons community, from performances on the plaza to the Commedia Christmas Carol during the Tysons tree lighting ceremony.

“Tysons is a vibrant and artistically rich community. All kinds of people come here–including people who have never experienced live theatre before,” said Harrison.

Traveling Players is gearing up for its summer season of performances and camps. Harrison says students in grades 2 to 5 can join theatre day camps at the Tysons studio, and students in grades 4 to 12 can attend the sleepaway camps and conservatories. Spots are limited.

For the public, Traveling Players will hold a free reading of the new play, “Orpheus and Eyridce” from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 in the Tysons Corner Center studio. The play was commissioned for grades 4 to 6 students in the Mythology Ensemble. The play will be performed on July 5 at 1 p.m. and July 26 at 2 p.m.

“We’re lucky to have award-winning playwright Judith Walsh White read aloud her newest play, which will premiere this summer at Traveling Players,” said Harrison. “The reading will also include a talkback and a short preview of the play’s score which is being composed by Nathan Sherwood Liang.”

The public is also invited to attend performances in the Tysons Corner Center studio on the first level (DL01), or outside on the Tysons Corner Center plaza, 1961 Chain Bridge Road, Tysons, VA. Featured outdoor plaza performances include “Hamlet” at 7 p.m. on July 31, the Summer Festival on July 11 and Aug. 1

“Between the boundless creativity of our performers and the innovation of our staff, there’s always something new starting with Traveling Players,” Harrison said. “I hope you’ll stop by our Studio and visit us!”