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Our History

In June of 1937, six enthusiastic people met to discuss the possibility of forming a club to perform the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan. By September, these six had doubled, and by the end of October 1937, had grown to 100 interested thespians. These 100 passionate devotees to the stage organized themselves that autumn and founded the Worcester County Light Opera Club. Mr. Leslie Moore, who was then the chief editorial writer for the Evening Gazette, was the first elected president. In 1937, WCLOC initially got its feet wet with a modest production of The Pirates of Penzance. However, on February 3rd, 1938, at Tuckerman Hall, the first major production of WCLOC premiered. The production was the joint presentation of Trial by Jury and HMS Pinafore, and it played to packed houses over two nights. In 1939, after its second triumphant year of Gilbert and Sullivan productions, WCLOC received state approval for incorporation.

After many years of utilizing various performance venues throughout the city, it was in 1948 that WCLOC acquired its permanent home at 21 Grandview Avenue, Worcester. This acquisition has been a major contributor to WCLOC’s longevity. The “Clubhouse” not only continues to serve as an intimate and flexible “black box” theatre to hold its four in-house productions, but it is also the venue for auditions,  rehearsals, workshops, and meetings, not to mention scene shop & storage facility where WCLOC’s stunning scenery, props, and costumes are created and housed.

Due to the diminishing appeal for light opera in the mid-1950s, and the growing popularity of the musical theater genre, WCLOC adapted to the ever-changing times by producing its first “Broadway-Style” musical in 1956. The production was No No Nanette, and due to its overwhelming success, WCLOC decided to shift its focus from light opera to its rapidly transforming next of kin, musical theater. As a medium to discover and nurture promising local talent, theatrical workshops for the adult population were held at the “Clubhouse” in the late 1950s and continued through the 1960s. Well received, these workshops were expanded to include children in the early 1970’s, and have been one of WCLOC’s most successful endeavors. Scholarships to gifted students (as stipulated in the original by-laws) continue to be awarded annually.

In addition to the summer musical theater workshops for children, WCLOC also has four in-house productions at the “Clubhouse”, WCLOC rounds out the annual theatrical season by producing a “Broadway-Style” musical.

From comedy to tragedy, classical to contemporary, musical to non-musical, WCLOC produces many theatrical works today. WCLOC has also been privileged to produce new plays written by local playwrights, allowing talented Worcester County residents to have their local works produced, showcased, and critiqued. Although the Worcester County Light Opera Club has exceeded the boundaries of its light opera roots, it continues to produce dramatic and musical works of only the highest caliber, while maintaining the impressive legacy of discovering and developing the brightest talent in the collaborative art of theater.


Our Mission

The mission of WCLOC Theater Company, Worcester’s oldest active community theater, is to entertain and inspire our audiences by exploring the complexity of the human experience through exceptional theatrical plays, musicals, readings, and educational workshops.

We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community that celebrates the art of theater, and to providing a platform for emerging and established artists, actors, writers, musicians, or production enthusiasts. By fostering creativity, collaboration, and innovation we strive to enrich the cultural landscape of Worcester County and beyond.

A Note From Our President

Since 1937, WCLOC has had the great honor of being "Worcester's Community Theater." For nearly 90 years, WCLOC has provided the Greater Worcester community opportunities to both create and patronize affordable, high quality, local theater.

As a volunteer-led organization we are humbled by the directors, designers, actors, crew, musicians, members, and subscribers who helped make sure our organization not only has survived, but has thrived for these nine decades. In a world filled with social media, personalized streaming content consumption, and virtual communication, the theater marks one of the last true collaborative, community endeavors.

But perhaps, what I admire most about WCLOC is its ability to evolve with the times. From operetta to those Golden Age classics to hot, contemporary, straight-from-Broadway plays and musicals, relevancy has always mattered to WCLOC. Whether a screwball comedy or a searing drama, WCLOC has always been committed to mounting works that reflect the world in which we live and bear some relevance and utility (whether escapism or catharsis) in our lives. Theater can be comforting. Theater can be challenging. But in short, theater, at its best, can put us in touch with our shared humanity. When done well, theater should feel immediate and active. At WCLOC, we invite you to lean into the theatrical; to join us to create together, laugh together, cry together, gasp together, applaud together, to experience together.


Eric Butler, President

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