Vintage Players of Jacksonville Offers Theatre for Both Seasoned and New Actors Alike


The Vintage Players is one of North Florida’s most unique theatre groups. The actors are all volunteers with varied theatre experience, and they are all fifty years old – or older. Sometimes much older. Interestingly, acting experience is not a requirement to become a member of the group, and participants are not required to appear on stage until ready to do so. Weekly acting classes are offered to members every Friday morning at 10:00 am at Jacksonville’s Church of the Redeemer. Instruction is provided by Gary Baker, the group’s Artistic Director. He is a Jacksonville University graduate, and is very active on our local theatre scene.

The Vintage Players Theatre Group for Seniors, Jacksonville, Florida The Vintage Players perform throughout the city, presenting light-hearted plays and monologues in venues which include (but aren’t limited to) churches, senior centers, and nursing homes. They don’t charge admission, but do accept voluntary donations, which help with lights, costumes, makeup and other theatrical essentials. 

Yes, the performances are free of charge, and organizations can schedule a show by calling 904-616-1568 or emailing  [email protected]. Those interested in joining the group can contact them using the same number or email for additional information.  

The Dual Critics has the opportunity a couple of weeks to enjoy a show presented by the group on a Sunday afternoon to a full-house audience of members of a church social group at Arlington’s Christ the King Catholic Church. The show was emceed by Julie Franciskato and lasted a little over an hour.  Seven selections were presented: “Sorrowful Story,” “Boomer and the Mule Egg,” “I Think I Heard that Line Before,” “Letters from Ma,” “Lost Keys,” “Unbridaled,” and “The Emergency Meeting of the Hickory Nuts Villas.”

The Vintage Players Theatre Group for Seniors, Jacksonville, Florida

Yes, comedy was and is the aim and theme of many of their productions. The actors used various costumes, some selected to provide visual humor. Audience members were provided with comment cards to complete after the show, as the group is always interested in improving the quality of their performances. And while we didn’t get to review the card comments, we can attest that judging from the crowd’s laughter, they enjoyed every minute of the production.  

The Vintage Players Theatre Group for Seniors, Jacksonville, Florida

The Vintage Players are always looking for new players and the troupe provides an opportunity to meet new friends throughout Jacksonville. Current members  include Linda Allen, Nancy Avera, Donna Brownley, Mary Allman Clark, Gwen Cordes, Bill Dunford, Julie Franciskato, Anne Lanier, Mary Metzler, Hank Pelz, Leland Pettis, Phyllis Rice, Bob Shellenberger, Jo Anne Stenski and Jim Warren. Some names may be familiar ones, as several of them have previous appeared on community and professional stages in this area. 

If you would like someone from the Vintage Players to call you, the number again is 904-616-1568.

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.