Few things are more exciting than live theatre.

The actors, the sets, the costumes, the plots . . . watching an engrossing story unfold before your very eyes, live and in real time, is simply a magical experience.

Norfolkians needn’t visit Broadway to soak it all in. We’re lucky enough to be home to the Hurrah Players, Inc., Virginia’s leading family theatre company. Hugh Raiford Copeland founded the not-for-profit organization 36 years ago to unite and advance communities through accessible, quality, family-friendly performances and education.

The theatre has presented 184 shows since its impetus, drawing almost 20,000 patrons per year. The organization also hosts 400 campers a year, cultivating the acting, singing and dancing skills of young people of all ages, ethnicities, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds. “We give them a friendly and professional environment to hone their skills,” said Mr. Copeland, noting that campers also learn overall life skills — focus, persistence and cooperation, to name a few — that will serve them well throughout their lives.

The Hurrah Players’ first permanent home was the historic Old Norfolk Academy Building on St. Paul’s Boulevard and recently expanded into a second location on Wilson Avenue. This gorgeous facility, the Hugh R. Copeland Center, includes 12,000 square feet of additional classrooms, an education and outreach center and a rehearsal studio. The Perry Family Theatre, including a permanent design and creation workshop for performance scenery and props, is now housed in the facility.

Hugh R. Copeland, founder of Hurrah Players, Inc

“It’s been said that every person is an artist. The Hurrah Players believe that,” Mr. Copeland said. “Dreams are coming true for thousands of Hurrah players, our rising stars, thanks to the generosity of businesses, donors and the community at large.”

Many of our wonderful Harbor’s Edge residents are among those generous donors. What a privilege it is to support such a worthy cause, one that brings boundless joy to both its participants and patrons.

The Hurrah Players need your support now more than ever. The 2020 spring session of classes and Spring Break Camp were canceled in response to the pandemic, and the annual Disney production was postponed a mere ninety minutes before the curtain went up on opening night.

The organization is doing everything possible to sustain its mission in light of these unprecedented challenges, including offering free video classes. But its challenges — both economic and logistical — are considerable. Please visit hurrahplayers.com and consider donating to the Bridge the Gap Campaign. “Nothing is too small, and every bit of help matters right now,” stressed Mr. Copeland.

Thank you for helping ensure that our performing arts community will continue “breaking a leg” for many generations to come!

Author, Julie Deriso

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