Local theater returns to city

Published 3:12 am Thursday, January 22, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The revival of the Four Flags Players will mark the first time in nearly 20 years that Niles has had a community theater organization.
A planning session to discuss this revival will be held on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Downtown Development Authority office, 210 E. Main St. The meeting is open to anyone interested in theater..
Todd Wakevainen, Niles resident and organizer of the group's revival, said this will be a basic meeting in which they begin organizing the Four Flags Players.
Wakevainen said the Four Flags Players were a very popular group in Niles in the 1970s and early '80s, but it faded away sometime in the mid 1980s.
Wakevainen has talked to a number of community members who have expressed an interest in starting the program up again.
Because of the current improvements being made to the City of Niles, Wakevainen feels that now is a good time to start.
The Four Flags Players will be a non-profit organization complete with a board of directors.
As of right now, the group does not have a home, but Wakevainen is looking in to it.
One possibility is the Residential Services building in downtown Niles. The building was home to the former Elk's Lounge and the third floor has a large open space with a small stage at one end.
One difference between the old Four Flags Players and its revival is that the old theater group was a youth civic theater program, in which you had to be under 21 to perform.
This time around the theater will be open to all ages.
He said this will allow them to challenge the audiences with an opportunity to cover more edgy, controversial topics than the group had done in the past.
Though the planning has not even started yet, Wakevainen would like to see a production as early as sometime this summer.
He also said an organization like this will help to bring the community together.
He said it will provide a community experience by bringing large crowds together in one place.