National Players To Offer Low or No Cost Shows at Olney Theatre Center

The Olney-based touring company will offer pay-what-you-can performances of three different shows in August and September.

National Players, America’s longest-running touring company and the hallmark outreach program of the Olney Theatre Center, presents its three-play repertory with a series of pay-what-you can previews in August and September.

The cast of the National Players’ 2018 production of Around The World In 80 Days. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Audiences are invited to these low-or-no-cost performances of Walk Two Moons(August 10 & 11), As You Like It (August 16 – 18) and The Diary of Anne Frank (September 17 & 18) in Olney’s Historic Theatre. The run of performances concludes with a VIP/Press Opening of The Diary of Anne Frank on September 19 at 7:30 pm (not a pay-what-you-can).

“Last season we shifted to performing not just our Shakespeare production, but our entire repertory for the community on a pay-what-you-can basis” said Jason King Jones, National Players Artistic Director and Senior Associate Artistic Director at Olney Theatre Center. “The response was overwhelmingly positive, so we’re doing it again! To make these shows as accessible as possible is so important because community building is a big part of National Players’ mission.

The National Players company consists of 10 early-career theatre artists who spend 10 months touring the United States with their three-play repertory to performing arts centers and universities but also schools, rural community centers, penitentiaries and other areas with limited access to the arts. The company for Tour 70 includes: Lisa Danielle Buch, Saira Grewal, Matt Merline, Liz Monasky, Faith Ore, Miranda Pepin, Cedrick L. Riggs, Jr., Anna J. Shafer, Emma Stern, and John J. Yazzo. The Players are a completely self-sufficient touring company. The ten members load-in and build their own sets, hang the lights, maintain the costumes, and fulfill all support roles during their tour. 

Tickets for the previews may only be purchased on the day of performance at the Olney Theatre Center Box Office. The Box Office opens for Pay-What-You-Can sales at 5pm. All purchases must be in-person and in cash. No phone or internet sales.

Walk Two Moons
By Tom Arvetis
Based on Sharon Creech’s Newbery Medal-Winning Novel
Directed by Jenna Duncan
Pay-what-you-can performances:
August 10 at 7:30pm
August 11 at 1:30pm

While driving cross-country with her grandparents in search of her mother, 13-year-old Sal meets many eccentric characters. None more so than Phoebe – Sal’s best friend and the main character in the stories she tells to entertain her grandparents. Phoebe’s story bursts with wild conspiracy theories of her own missing mother, which helps Sal confront her own loss. But with a deadline looming, Sal might not make it in time to reunite with the one person she wants to find most.

Told primarily through memory, National Players weaves together a story that is both heartrending and heartwarming. Follow National Players on their journey in this moving adaptation of the award-winning novel about family, identity, and coming-of-age.

As You Like It
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jason King Jones
Pay-what-you-can performances:
August 16 & 17 at 7:30pm
August 18 at 1:30 pm

Banished from the only home she’s ever known, Rosalind escapes to the Forest of Arden with her cousin Celia and their fool Touchstone. While disguised as a man, Rosalind meets fellow outcasts in the forest, including the dashing and lovesick Orlando. Determined to woo him, Rosalind persuades Orlando in her male disguise to win her heart. For only if Orlando loves her as a man will Rosalind know he truly loves her.

With a ten-person ensemble, National Players melds classic language with contemporary staging of Shakespeare’s imaginative tale about city folk venturing into the woods. A romantic comedy about girls, boys, losing oneself, and finding oneself again.

The Diary of Anne Frank
By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
Adapted by Wendy Kesselman
Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell
Pay-what-you-can performances:
September 17 & 18 at 7:30pm

Invited Press Opening: September 19 at 7:30 pm (not pay-what-you-can)

In 1941 Amsterdam, 13-year-old Anne Frank goes into hiding with her family from the Nazis. For the next two years, she never leaves the attic where her family is concealed. With fear of discovery ever-present, Anne finds solace writing in her diary, capturing the daily lives of the secret annex’s inhabitants—from the horrors of war to the excitement of first love—with wit, determination, and idealism.

With a multicultural cast, National Players brings the true story of this incredibly insightful young girl that is often read in school to the stage in hopes of inspiring the next generation to stand up for justice rather than sit back in apathy

Following their tour, National Players will return to Olney Theatre Center in the Spring 2020 for a homestand of performances. That schedule will be released shortly on

Olney Theatre Center for the Arts produces, presents and tours extraordinary performances for a diversity of audiences, and educates and inspires the next generation of theater-makers. We strive every day to unleash the creative potential of our artists and audiences, and in so doing, become a nationally-prominent destination for the most impactful theater performance and education. In the past five years, Olney Theatre has twice won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical Production and produced 8 world premieres, including Andrew Hinderaker’s The Magic Play and Colossal (2015 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical), and Jennifer Hoppe-House’s Bad Dog (2015 Steinberg Award nominee). Olney Theatre places a priority on engaging our community by ensuring that we remain affordable, accessible and inviting to new and returning audiences.

Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, is situated on 14 wooded acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick “triangle,” within easy access to all three cities, and is also home to National Players, America’s longest-running touring company. Olney Theatre Center is led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Debbie Ellinghaus. For more information, please visit

Follow Olney Theatre Center on Twitter and Instagram @olneytheatre and on Facebook at

Established in 1949 and based at Olney Theatre Center since 1953, National Players is America’s longest-running touring company. Founded on the principle of working with communities that have limited access to live theatre, National Players is comprised of professional young actors who travel across the country each year performing three Shakespeare and classic plays in repertory. National Players also acts as an educational ambassador, teaching theatre-related courses to students of all ages and backgrounds. Though it travels thousands of miles and serves tens of thousands of people each year, National Players always comes home to Olney, Maryland.

Follow National Players on Instagram and Twitter @nationalplayers or and on Facebook at


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