Calliope History

Calliope 30 Years


Calliope Productions was founded in February, 1982, by Dave Ludt, Kathy Ludt, and John Leslie - three veteran community theatre performers in the Worcester County (MA) area. Calliope's first show was a production of the Richard Maltby and David Shire musical revue, STARTING HERE, STARTING NOW, which was presented in May, 1982, as a dinner theatre production at a restaurant in Worcester, MA.

In the fall of 1982, Calliope co-produced the musical revue JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL . . . with the First Parish Unitarian Church of Northborough, MA, in its Parish Hall. This was followed by a December production of AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS that was staged in the First Parish Church sanctuary.

In February, 1983, Calliope Productions re-organized itself as a non-profit corporation, created a managing board of directors, and entered into an arrangement with the First Parish Church to use its facilities as a theatre in return for an annual rental fee. Calliope then started presenting three to six productions per year, ranging from musicals to mysteries, to comedies, to musical revues - all staged at the First Parish Hall in Northboro.

In 1991, Calliope established a Youth Theatre Program, which involved Saturday workshops and performances in the fall and spring, and an annual summer musical workshop production. The first Youth Theatre summer musical production was YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN in July, 1991.

In August, 1998, Calliope lost its performance space at the First Parish Hall. That year, Calliope's December production of A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES was staged at The Willows Retirement Community in nearby Westborough, MA.

In the spring of 1999, Calliope Productions received a grant from the George S. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, a local philanthropy, to purchase a building and property at 150 Main Street in Boylston, MA, being sold by the Liberty Assembly of God Church which was engaged in building a larger facility in Shrewsbury, MA. In April, 1999, Calliope staged the Carol Hall musical TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN as its first production in its own permanent theatre facility in Boylston.

Some improvements to the facility in Boylston were immediately carried out: a stage was constructed; raised seating platforms were built; a box office and lobby area were created. In the winter of 2000, the ceiling over the stage was raised in order to accommodate theatrical lighting.

One issue remained unresolved: the size and location of the building's rest room facilities - two single stall rooms in the basement of the building - which were inconvenient for audience members and resulted in inordinately long intermissions as patrons had to wait a long time in line to use them.

In the summer of 2003, the untimely death of co-founder Kathy Ludt resulted in an influx of donations to Calliope in her memory, which served as an impetus to embark on a more vigorous fund-raising effort to resolve the problem with the inadequate restroom facilities.

In the winter of 2007, Calliope formally initiated its $300,000 Next Stage Capital Fund-Raising Campaign to build an addition to the building that would house rest room facilities, an expanded lobby area, and increased office space. Ground was broken for the addition in the spring of 2008. The building addition was completed in time for the 2009 Valentine's Day weekend production of the musical revue LOVE IS IN THE AIR.

In the summer of 2010, Calliope completed the long-overdue refurbishment of its 90-space parking lot. Future plans for improvement include rebuilding the stage and installing new flooring in the seating area.

In 2012 Calliope celebrated 30 years of theatrical productions.

For more information about Calliope Productions contact Dave Ludt, Artistic Director, at (508) 869-6887.