Theater Friend Starts Fund for MOVP Junior Players

Inspired by the passion and dedication of Marlene B. Somerville, a local donor has established the Marlene B. Somerville Memorial Fund for the Mid-Ohio Valley Players’ Junior Players outreach program.

Marlene B. Somerville passed away at age 75 on March 13th, 2017. A long-time supporter of the arts, Marlene was an actress and director for the Mid-Ohio Valley Players for 49 years. She founded the Junior Players in 1981, providing the opportunity for children and youth between the ages of 8 and 16 to experience, learn and participate in local theater. A former teacher at North Hills Elementary School, Marlene was passionate about exposing children to the theater and continued to direct the group for 35 years.

Each year, the Junior Players present a summer production. After the age of 16, the children have the opportunity to continue their interest in theater by participating in the Youth Theater which involves older children through the 12th grade.

“No matter what, Marlene would find a part – or create a new part – so that every child who auditioned had the chance to participate,” said the donor.  “ The children not only learn to perform on stage, they learn backstage etiquette and responsibility, such as being on time for rehearsals, keeping track of their props and costumes, helping build sets, and cooperation with others.  The children form bonds which sometimes last a lifetime.  A few have even gone on to careers in professional theater.”

Kay Davis Doak, close friend and assistant director to Marlene since the formation of Junior Players, has taken over the reins and, with the help of this fund, will continue to offer children the opportunity to experience live theater.

The Marlene B. Somerville Memorial Fund will support the Junior Players and aid in the production costs of any MOVP play performed by or for children. 

To support this fund make a donation to the Marlene B. Somerville Memorial Fund at the Marietta Community Foundation. For more information, contact Heather Allender, CEO, at (740) 373-3286 or heather@mcfohio.org.