The Marshall Civic Players, located at the Franke Center in Marshall, Michigan, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of performing arts by the community, for the community.
As an organization we provide a space where community members can learn the inner workings of a production and grow and develop as artists. We encourage productions where families can work and act together - an opportunity they may not have anywhere else.
Board of Directors
President - Jennifer Butterfield
Vice President - Elinor Marsh
Co-Treasurers - Kristin Holbrook & Elinor Marsh
Recording Secretary - Mary Weeks
Corresponding Secretary - Sarah Stiner
Origins & History
Marshall Civic Players was founded in 1949 by about 50 people in Marshall, MI who wanted to start their own theater group. MCP's first performance space was the auditorium in Marshall High School (now Marshall Middle School) with Kendall's Hardware donating its second floor for rehearsal space. After 9 years at the high school and various rehearsal spaces, MCP moved to the former Garden Theater in 1957.
By 1970, after 13 years in the Garden Theater, MCP needed to move again. After one performance "in the round" at Shearman School and one last performance at the high school, the group ended up in our current home: the Marshall Civic Center, now known as the Joyce and Lucy Franke Center for the Performing Arts.
Our Current Home
The Franke Center was build in 1921 as the Brooks Memorial Methodist Church. The building was built with the idea of being not only a place of worship, but a place where people could meet and hold business or social meetings. The Brooks Memorial Building including a gymnasium, public restrooms, and a banquet room with a full-service kitchen.
In 1971, the Marshall Civic Foundation was formed to purchase the Brooks Memorial Building. They changed the name to the Marshall Civic Center and began a campaign to renovate and update the facility. The building was subsequently sold to the City of Marshall and housed the Marshall Recreation Department and the Marshall Civic Players.
In 1998, the city of Marshall determined that the Civic Center needed to be updated to meet fire and safety codes. a bond proposal to renovate the Civic Center failed by 66 votes. The narrow loss did not dissuade a large group of Marshall citizens who believed the Civic Center was important to the community. Thus, the Marshall Civic Center Trust (MCCT) was founded.
The Franke Center serves as a gather place for artists and the community; a place where creativity is celebrated and nurtured.