They all lived happily ever after....but not without one SLEEPLESS night first!
“Once Upon a Mattress” to tells the REAL story of the beloved children’s classic, “The Princess and the Pea.“ With music from the daughter of legendary composer Richard Rodgers, Mary Rodgers, this Tony nominated musical has created a "Realistic fairy tale for today's world" that has brought laughter to audiences for over 50 years – ever since funny lady Carol Burnett made her Broadway debut in the lead role of the show.
In this version, the aptly named Queen Aggravain has decreed that no one in the kingdom may marry before her son, the much-daunted Prince Dauntless, weds an approved princess. For reasons best left unexplored, no woman is good enough for the Queen, who devises impossible tests for each would-be royal bride. The story opens with the rejection of applicant #12, the Prince’s apparent last hope. The unplanned pregnancy of Lady Larken inspires baby daddy Sir Harry to rove far afield in search of another candidate. After searching high and low, Sir Harry brings back Princess Winnifred ("Fred" to her friends). The queen is horrified and immediately begins to scheme, but Winnifred, with some help from Sir Harry, the King, and the Jester, isn't going to be quite so easy to get rid of.
Clarksville Fine Arts Center
Friday & Saturday, October 17-18th at 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 19th at 3:00 PM
Box office hours: M-F 12-6pm
Box office opens October 9th
For more info, contact us at
For a look at our future upcoming events, click on our Event Calendar.
Clarksville Players make a play for fine arts center
Since the group’s inception in 1973, the Clarksville Community Players have called the Clarksville Fine Arts Center home, staging semi-annual productions there and conducting a children’s/youth theatre workshop during the summer.
Now, the Fine Arts Center, built in 1934, is deteriorating. The electrical system is inadequate to support today’s complex theatrical lighting, the masonry is crumbling, and there’s a steady stream of water running through the basement.
When the Players first started, the group shared the Fine Arts building with Clarksville’s elementary school. In the mid-1980s, the school vacated the building and gave it to the Town. Clarksville did not want the building and considered demolishing it until Community Player and former Town Manager Carl Dean stepped in.
Arts Center. Roberts says the group is grateful for the Town’s support (each year the town supports the Players through a partnership grant for $5,000, and pays the utility costs on the building). However, most of the repairs and improvements came through the efforts of group members.
“We told them [members of the Town Council] that this building was a piece of history, as well as the center for artistic and cultural events in Clarksville,” explained Barry Roberts, president of the Players board. He added, “We asked to take over responsibility for the building, and the Town agreed. We had no written lease; it was all done on a handshake.
“The Town charged us $300 per month rent, we paid for maintenance and repairs, and we agreed to allow other organizations [such as the YMCA and Carter’s Music School] to use the center for their events.”
Shortly after assuming responsibility for the building, the heating system failed. Roberts continued, “We had no heat and no air conditioning. Without them, the building was unusable. We asked the community to help us raise money for a new HVAC system. The response was overwhelming. We needed $22,000, but raised $25,000, and so we had a new, fully paid HVAC system.”
For more than 20 years, the Community Players raised the money needed to improve the Fine
To date, Community Players has installed new stage curtains, new seating and a generator, created and furnished a lobby, rebuilt the entrance, restored the school’s cupola (which was installed on the kiosk in front of the Fine Arts Center), installed spotlights and paid for roof repairs.
Roberts estimates that since 2004, Community Players has spent over $20,000 for building maintenance and upkeep, “and coming soon, we will be able to show movies using the new screen and projector, purchased for $14,000 using CCP funds and a matching USDA rural development grant.”
According to Roberts, “The building is in need of major repairs — it is crumbling down around us. With Clarksville’s police relocating to the old YMCA, next door, it is the perfect chance for us to expand and renovate.
“We don’t want to destroy the building; it is our home and a part of Clarksville’s history. It holds the memories of people who’ve attended school or gone to the theater here. We feel that the future of Clarksville’s community theater is dependent on the renovation of this building.”
Clarksville Community Players is asking the Town to, first, give it control over scheduling access to and the use of the Fine Arts Center, and, second, sign a written lease agreement so the Players can solicit grants and other funds to renovate the building.
Roberts is quick to point out, “CCP does not want to limit the ability of other groups to use the building. It will remain the bad-weather backup for the jazz festival, and the performance center for YMCA gymnastics, as well as a venue for other community arts events. According to information we received through Virginia Commission for the Arts and other sources, we need to be the primary responsible party, and have a written lease. Without them, we can’t get funding to renovate the building.”
To date, Roberts has no indication that the Town Council is objecting to the plans. But Community Players is not standing by waiting for Council to make its decision; it has paid for preliminary drawings for the renovation and has started researching grant opportunities.
Roberts believes “The Town will do what they can to help us, but we also need community support. We offer a quality of life not found in many rural communities. Once complete, the Fine Arts Center will be a showpiece, just like the Colonial Theater in South Hill.”