ShoeString Community Players Announces October Events

ShoeString Community Players present October Events with  different shows on each of the four weekends in October!

Tickets will be on sale online and at the ticket booth in the Rose Garden Park in front of the Old  Columbia County Historic Courthouse.

Second Weekend (October 14th – 16th)

Short Scary Stories and Poems

ShoeString Community Players  will be putting on a short showcase of Halloween stories and perform them in our new theater space.  Children will performing  ten short classic ghost stories and poems to amuse even the most toughest critic.  There will be several performance throughout the day to entertain the community and the show times will  fit any ones schedule during the day. Check posted schedule for times at the theater, 231 S. First Street, St. Helens or Ticket Booth in the Rose Garden next to the Old Columbia County Historic Courthouse.

The admission price will a suggested donation of $2 per person.
Location: New SSCP Theater in the Old Masonic Building at 231 S. First Street, St. Helens

Monster/Zombie Make Overs

There might be even a few monster/zombie make over set-up.  Check schedule at Ticket Booth for additional dates and times.

Location: New SSCP Theater in the Old Masonic Building at 231 S. First Street, St. Helens


Third Weekend (October 19th – 21st)

The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds was originally broadcast on Oct 30, 1938 on the Mercury Theater for the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and directed by Orson Welles.  It became famous for causing mass hysteria, even though it was clearly identified as a radio play.  People believed we were actually being invaded by Martians.  We will also have the hilarious commercials we are know for to be presented before and during the Broadcast.  An excellent time for the family.
Dates and Times
10-19 – 8:00pm
10-20 – 2:00pm, 4:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm
10-21 – 2:00pm, 4:00pm
The admission price will be $5.00.
Location: New SSCP Theater in the Old Masonic Building at 231 S. First Street, St. Helens


Last Weekend (October 25th – 28th)

St. Helens Haunted Tours

A live haunted tour thru Olde Towne St. Helens. Tour length 45 Minutes. See the local haunts, and re-live the secret, spooky, and creepy history of St. Helens. May be scary for young children, parent discretion advised. Please dress for Oregon weather and keep warm. Have a safe and happy a Halloween! Limited to 25 people per performance. Please buy your tickets early. Remember to dress for the weather and bring an umbrella

.Performances will be as follows:
10-26 – 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:00pm
10-27 – 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:00pm
10-28 – 7:00pm, 8:00pm

The admission price will be $25.00.
Tour Starts at the Ticket Booth  in the Rose Garden next to the Old Columbia County Historic Courthouse.

For more information on shows please email or call 503-366-4406.


ShoeString Community Players – PO BOX 481 – 231 South First Street, St. Helens, Oregon –


ShoeString Community Players Open Auditions Next Week

ShoeString Community Players is producing an attraction that will be the tradition for all of Oregon to visit during October.  One of the requirements to be successful is to have a location that draws people from around the world.  The second requirement is having a volunteer base that can make it happen.  You are that person!

The City of St. Helens has an established a month long event called the “Spirit of Halloweentown”.  Many events are scheduled and celebrities visit.   Last year the attendance was an estimated 40K of visitors.  That is a lot of people to entertain.

We have a new home for our theater!  We are in the old Masonic building  at 231 S First Street, St. Helens, Oregon 97051 and it sits right on the plaza were the pumpkin is lit every weekend.

Be part of a tradition by coming to our audition dates and times: September 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14  (Monday thru Friday) from 6:30pm to 8pm.

We would love to see new and old faces and show you around the new space for the theater.

We will have three different shows that we are auditioning for.  “10 Short Scary Stories and Poems” for children to act in. “The War of The Worlds” the 1938 Radio Broadcast and “St. Helens Haunted Tours”.  This will be a fun experience for all.  Especial for the kids of  all ages and experience levels are welcome.  Also invited is anyone interested in off-stage positions, such as costumes, hair, makeup, set construction, lighting, sound, directing, or special effects.

ShoeString Community Players is a registered Non-Profit 501(c)(3) that has been in operation for over 35 years.

Talent Show Reflections

This July saw a great amount of activity come to St. Helens, inviting engagement from town residents and welcoming visitors from around the county.  Large events such as the Columbia County Fair & Rodeo, various sized activities presented in the city’s Recreation Program, and the one-night-only Our County’s Talent Show hosted by ShoeString Community Players.  The talent show took place on July 28th, wrapping up a very hot month in an air-conditioned auditorium, with the spotlight on veteran acts and first time performers alike.

After the show ended, some of the volunteers went to pick up the sandwich board signs which had been placed around St. Helens to advertise the event.  With the sun going down, this quiet time provided opportunity to appreciate the entertaining & enriching performances they had just witnessed.  The energizing laughter and stirring of emotions during the show reverberated in their hearts with a freshness of the experience.  While helping load up the signs, it was a great chance to let the memories simmer; combining time serving the community in this small way, with enjoying the highlights of the talent show crisp in their minds.

Those highlights of course include the unique performances of the night.  Each act taking the audience members on a different adventure, through a different emotional journey.  A special aspect of the show was the connections forged between stage and audience.  For instance as performers entered the spotlight, their excitement and nerves could be felt by attendees in Olmscheid Auditorium.  Most of us were there to cheer on the folks bravely taking stage, full of our own excitement & encouragement.  We could also observe their focus and feel their satisfaction at showing off their talent.  Woven into this connection was the diverse waves of emotions each act took the audience through.  The haunted longing of Stefani’s “On My Own” from Les Miserable; the giggles when Linda’s musical voice put words to a song of her own creation called “The I Am Just like Taylor Swift Blues” performed on the ukulele, and the deep respect when we learned she also taught herself the instrument; the pure pleasure when Jon opened the show with his singing & piano skills, putting grins on faces and getting heads bobbing in the audience.  Another highlight was Keith, the Master of Ceremonies and his endless wit, providing light-hearted transition between acts.  These were some of the fresh memories being enjoyed while running around town picking up the sign posters & boards.

Then there were the teen and child performers, displaying incredible courage on stage while pouring their hearts into the acts they had been practicing.  The pair of cousins in
Yo Factor danced their yo-yos to music with remarkable skill; the older cousin confident and humble, the younger of the two displaying finesse and getting his entire body moving into the act.  Or the smallest performer of the night, needing a foot stool to reach the microphone, and not letting that deter from pouring his heart into “Remember Me” from Disney-Pixar’s CocoOne of the teenager acts performed a Patsy Cline cover of “Blue” that belonged on stage in Nashville – her beautiful voice resonating with such power, perfect pitch, a dash of that country sass, and a STRENGTH of presentation that filled every inch of the auditorium.  Just … wow! And who can forget the final act? A pair of T-Rex’s dancing to hip hop jams.  Many members of the audience were laughing so hard they struggled to catch their breath! When one of the dinosaur outfits began to misbehave and look narcoleptic, the young lady inside kept dancing, and it only enhanced the performance’s effect.  Proof in action that the show must go on!  Watching all of these youthful acts was a tangible example of how much courage we are capable of, a hint at the talents inside waiting to be unlocked, and a powerful reminder to step onto Life’s stage with all the fire in our hearts.

There was more talent brought forth in Our County’s Talent Show than the short list above.  It was an honor to have witnessed all the performances, and also a great value at just $5 a ticket!  As the evening was wrapping up beneath the setting sun, it felt right to enjoy the satisfaction of completing a successful night of local entertainment.  Not just appreciating this one night, but all the actions and careful attention which come before most productions:
– helping distribute promotional material,
– coordinating with other volunteers,
– efforts from multiple parties to recruit talent,
– reserving the space,
– all the planning and organizing ahead of time,
– and the work to put on the show front stage & back.
Investing time & energy into creating the experience of
Our County’s Talent Show was a genuine service to others.  Watching the show was a magnificent validation of that investment.  It is worth celebrating how it all paid off that late July night, when each act lit up the stage!  It is a great reward to witness the performers shine, and to feel their glow afterwards as they greet guests in the lobby.

It was in this heart space of feeling good that the volunteers for ShoeString Community Players went their separate ways after the show.  Some went out to dinner, others to put away equipment, and some to pick up the sandwich boards around town.  SSCP provides many such opportunities to serve our community through art & theater, and through supportive actions along the way.  As the sun dropped over the horizon, the sky began darkening quickly while we unloaded the sandwich boards at their destination.
Finishing this small, final task brought the sensation of finishing a successful production.  Which in turn capped off a successful month for our little town.  The auditorium had been packed up, performers gone home, signs taken down and the streets were quieting.  With another cycle of theater activity coming to a close, most volunteers were taking the time to recharge.  A very small handful were already dreaming of the next adventures that ShoeString Community Players will be creating.  Around the corner comes October, the Halloween season, and the Spirit of Halloweentown celebration for which St. Helens has grown famous.

Our Thanks to all the helpers and performers who made the 2018 Talent Show a success!
What opportunities to perform or build come next, waiting for SSCP members & volunteers?
Are you ready to enjoy the laughter and spooks appearing in town this October?
Are you ready to create some, with a group that specializes in making memories?

Not all performance talent takes place on stage – some waits down dark corridors, or haunts you in public.  Will you step into a role this October, and literally step up to create memories for your neighbors and town visitors alike?

Join ShoeString Community Players.  Watch our media pages.
And get ready to BE one of the attractions that draws folks from around the nation, as they come to experience St. Helens – the Town That Halloween Made.

Thank You Columbia County!

ShoeString Community Players would like to thank to all the people that stepped up to volunteer for the ‘Our County’s Talent Show’.  A huge thank you to all the new members that showcased their talent.   We will be having more talents shows in the future and everyone had fun!  Special thanks to Shannon Vaerewyck, Alyson Vaerewyck, Jeff Nelson, Crystal Nelson, Theron Nelson, Keston Nelson, Colleen Ohler, Gretchen Witt, Ben Tescareno, Kathleen Jenkins, Jimmy Gerdes, Vera (Ghost sighting verified), Mattea Misumi, Jon Scott Bradfield, Linda Paul, Anastasia Weber, Elija Holmes, Sean Aleman, Jakob Nelson, Elliot Vaerewyck, Stefani Weber and Bethany Coca.

Thank you to our sponsors: Emmert Motors, Dockside, Comcast, Columbia River PUD, Sunshine Pizza, Ace Hardware, Richardson’s Furniture,  St. Helens Physical Therapy, Advantage Screen Printing, Mark J. Lang Attorney at Law, Hudson Garbage Service, Gamepath Arcade,  Sunset Auto Parts, Rotary Club of Columbia County, SHEDCO, Fiber and Stiches, Bertucci’s Chocolates, St. Helens Computer Center, Market Fresh, Les Schwab, D.R. Garrison CPA PC, Bella Maison, Don’s Rental & The Party Peddler,  St. Helens Liquor Store, Columbia Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens, South County Chamber of Commerce, Tactical Ordnance & Ammunition, Oregon Trail Lanes,  Semlings Construction Inc, Bobbie’s Cut +, Kozy Korner, St. Helens Credit Union, Vonnie’s Dog House, 2Cs Vender Mall,  Pacific Athletic Club, and Nob Hill Riverview Bed and Breakfast.  We have a great community because of you.

I want to reach out to our community’s past SSCP directors and volunteers.  Please reach out to me personally at to discuss ideas for future productions and make them happen.  We have a community that would love to see you again on the stage and behind the scenes.  I am always asked “what ever happened to so and so?” at all the shows with out you.  Sadly we have lost several members to cancer and old age.  We are also moving our annual membership meeting to September to help accommodate our brand new members , watch for details and  please attend.  We will be modernizing our constitution to bring it into the twentieth century for notification and messaging.  There will also be new membership perks.  We also have board positions open to be filled for the new election.

In the upcoming months you are going to see ShoeString Community Players putting effort into finding a permanent home/building for smaller shows and dinner theater.  We need your support and help.  If you have spare time we need to form a committee to move this forward and finally make it happen.  We need this to better support our community and our volunteers that give up so much of their time to entertain the community.

Lastly we are looking for members to join us for the October Events Committee and a large number of volunteers for when the City of St. Helens does the “Spirit of Halloweentown” celebration in October.   We have some really cool things planned and need you help to pull them off.

Brian Vaerewyck
ShoeString Community Players

One More Night of Talent Show Auditions

Last night there was singing in Olmscheid Auditorium. Laughter could also be heard drifting out of the room.  The sounds of music would occasionally rise from the portable speakers, or from someone’s instrument.  There were hats, and dresses, and colorful personalities of all kinds!  The first night of auditions for Our County’s Talent Show saw the first wave of local talent trying out on stage.

There was also paperwork (thrilling), a crack team of volunteers (love ’em!) to streamline the process, and a director on hand to guide those gathered.  The director’s antics were one source for the laughter heard throughout the night!  With the variety of local performers and the unique personas accompanying the talent, the ShoeString team was crucial to meeting everyone’s needs and making sure each act had their due time on stage.


And what about you?  Did you or your group miss last night’s chance to audition for the talent show?  Did you have a conflicting schedule and were unable to attend?  Are you still dreaming of picking up that mic and being bold on stage?  Then dream on, and fear not!  The knock of opportunity continues for one more night.  One more night for the chance to turn your dreams into reality.

Auditions for Our County’s Talent Show continue this Thursday evening.   Same place, at the Olmscheid Audition in St. Helens High School.

Same time, at 7:00 pm and going until every attendee has had their chance to try out.

Don’t miss your chance again!  Its time to put your doubts to rest, call in your crew, and show up tonight with your heart set on performing at Our County’s Talent Show.  We know you have the talent.  We know the interest & passion are there.  Our community here in Columbia County is ready to support and cheer you on stage!

Auditions are welcoming to a wide array of talents. Don’t be shy to bring your flavor to the stage, and let that light shine! Possible examples (but certainly not an exclusive listing) include singing, dancing, martial arts, in a band, magic, athletic prowess, gymnastics, tap dancing, playing a musical instrument, bicycle gymnastics, juggling, drumming, acting, lip-syncing, comedy, poi balls, building something to dramatic music, drawing with unique materials, unicycle stunts, combinations of multiple talents… to the very edge of entertainment! Let us see what creative expressions of talent you can bring to the stage, and let Columbia County experience your performance in Our County’s Talent Show!

Opportunity Knocks THIS week

“I would love to be in a talent show!  But…”

Nope.  No more “but…” this time. Don’t let a ‘but’ kill this dream!

We know you have the talent.  Can feel that burning itch to perform.  That passion to do what you love and what you’ve been practicing.  To share that skill & inner fire on stage, to a crowd that supports you.  No more waiting; no more ‘buts’ in the way. The time is now. This Summer of 2018 will be the start to your next chapter.  ShoeString Community Players is here with the sound of opportunity knocking.

That knock is Our County’s Talent Show!

It’s not a competition.
There are no judges to measure and compare you against other performers.

This is a welcoming stage to spotlight your talent to the community, put on by the ShoeString Community Players, supported by the community.

THIS Wednesday and Thursday (the 11th & 12th) at 7:00pm are your chances to audition to enter the Talent Show.  Come join us at Olmscheid Auditorium at the St. Helens High School. with your gear, your crew, your audition tape, your band, your team… and whatever else you need to audition for a spot on stage.

What age range of performers are we seeking?  ALL AGES!

What group size is ideal?  From individual performers to ANY SIZE group!!

What kind of talent are we looking for?  ALL KINDS!!

“What about singing, dancing, singing AND dancing, in a band, drumming, tap dancing, playing a musical instrument…?“  YES. Those are fantastic performance talents! We’d love to see you at this week’s auditions.

“How about demonstrations of athletic prowess,, martial arts, gymnastics, bicycle gymnastics, juggling…?”  ABSOLUTELY! The talent to practice and focus on those skills is one we’d love to have shining on stage! Choreographed or improvised, with music & lights or without, solo or in a group, please come show us what you have!

“I have fun with some things and am pretty good at some of them too. Not sure if they’re a talent though…”
That’s one reason we have auditions! 😀 Some talents are right in front of us, and others are creative ideas we hadn’t thought of yet.  Acting, lip-syncing, magic, comedy, to poi balls, to list more possible examples of creative expressions of your talent. Building something to dramatic music, drawing with unique materials, unicycle stunts, combinations of multiple talents, to the very edge of entertainment!  The time is now. You have been practicing, and you will be ready.

Our county has been waiting to cheer on your talent.

You have been waiting to ignite that inner fire, and show off your passion.

ShoeString Community Players is here with the opportunity to end the waiting.

Get ready to shine at Our County’s Talent Show!

Pre-register at the link below, or join SSCP at 7pm this Weds/Thur (11th or 12th) at Olmscheid Auditorium to audition.

Please Pre-Register at→

We are asking for a $10 registration fee that includes a ShoeString Community Players membership.  Scholarships are available for those in need!  You need to audition and be seen and heard!

Talent Show Auditions Happening July!

How do you build the interest & content to host a county-wide Talent Show?  When putting on a show that highlights local performers, how do you reach out to those talented individuals & groups wanting a chance to shine in the spotlight?  How can you inspire residents to boldly step forward and let out the performer inside?  And how do you notify the public that their friends & neighbors will be gathering to put on a diverse & entertaining show; one which will echo through Columbia County’s collective memories?

There are many options & steps to answer those questions. Some are newer and use modern technology, some rely on networking & human connection, and some are tried & true methods birthed in humanity’s history of hosting performance art. Volunteering for ShoeString Community Players is an invaluable opportunity to learn about all of these options, including the fundamental step of being visible to the public eye.

Saturday morning, before the Kiwanis parade, was one such opportunity. It was real ‘boots on the ground’ action creating one tested & successful solution to the challenges mentioned above – distributing sandwich boards around St. Helens.  A small crack team  gathered where the signs are kept.

We assembled each sandwich board with the audition call for Our County’s Talent Show, and placed them where they are most likely to be seen at locations where the residents can see the signs as they pass by, and folks can be inspired to come audition their talent! Or be inspired to become an audience in support of their friends & neighbors.  Distributing these signs is real call to action, to gather the most talented, and increase the impact of the Talent Show.  Yet to make it happen will required showing up, and giving it your all with one’s investment of attention & energy.

Volunteering provides a plethora of ways to be involved, as enjoyable or difficult as we choose when showing up to serve.  No two activities are quite the same, it’s live and unedited, and I find this quality makes volunteering for SSCP very exciting! This particular early adventure included aspects such as:

  • coordinating transporation
  • tasty coffee (a MUST have for any morning activity!)
  • great conversation
  • playing with hammers & staple guns
  • waving at local friends I’ve come to recognize in St. Helens
  • a humbling slip to the ground when too focused on taking a picture, in front of witnesses!
  • A LOT of hustle to finish before parade preparation time.

Where does the motivation come from to take these actions?  What could possibly inspire someone to show up and go through this experience, when there is no paycheck involved?  Life is busy enough, so what drives a person to make time for activities like this?  What drives us to come back for more?

Every person answers these questions differently. That diversity is part of what makes life & humanity so interesting, and keeps the wheels turning.  Sometimes the motive is like a burning coal in a person’s mind or in one’s heart, needing only a little fuel & fanning to ignite a bonfire of active service. Other times it is unknown when first showing up, and is discovered through deliberate steps along the way.  Some motives are shared with fellow ShoeString Community Players, and some are unique to an individual’s perspective.  The simple love of theater & the arts can be a significant driver to many volunteers for SSCP, which seems an obvious motive.  Strengthening the value of a healthy performance art culture, and the value this culture contributes to a community’s creativity & resilience, are other possible motives.

Having observed many friends & local acquaintances who possess a particular skill or talent, whatever their current audience size, I often wish more of our community could see them perform. I have been honored to witness many of you display your skill or passion, and have not yet had the chance for others. Volunteering to promote Our County’s Talent Show to St. Helens & Columbia County is a way to help you and many other folks shine your talent to an audience who previously may not have seen what you can do. To be impressed as I have been impressed, to share in the “Wow!” factor, and to make memories together.  These are reasons behind this volunteer’s intention when showing up to contribute towards the event’s success.

Drawing in more talent for the show and building a larger audience is another motive which resonates with some volunteers, and drives these promotion efforts.  Actually getting on stage and performing is not this writer’s strength. Yet these promotional activities create the opportunity to practice my own passions – writing and making connections in our community. ShoeString Community Players as an organization provides many such chances, and Our County’s Talent Show is one of the most exciting ones on the radar currently! Volunteering attention toward this event opens doors for moving about town, being neighborly and a part of this community, networking and building connections, practicing my passion while giving a platform for other talented locals to practice theirs, and using a wide variety of tools to give the talent show the greatest impact possible. What a great set of motives! And what a great time to be a part of creating something together!

From assembling the sandwich boards Saturday morning, to placing the audition calls in the public eye, to recording the experience, and now writing about what it was like to contribute this small but important piece. It is a learning process to step up and show up to be a part of something amazing. Our County’s Talent Show is the chance to invest your attention & interest, whether you are a performer, a volunteer, or an audience member.

Where will you find your place?  What passion are you already practicing, or perhaps have kept hidden and now feel the call to bring out? What individual talent or group performance are you wanting to share with your community?  In what way can you volunteer, contribute, audition, and co-create what will surely be a magnificent display of performances that will be remembered and talked about long into our future?  Our Country’s Talent Show is that knock of opportunity you’ve been waiting for!

Auditions will be held July 11th & 12th
7:00 PM at Olmscheid Auditorium, St. Helens High School
Our County’s Talent Show is open to ALL AGES…  Young kids and older adults need not be bashful.

The show invites individuals & groups to bring their passion and showcase their skills, ranging from singing, dancing, athletic prowess, in a band, lip-syncing, musical instrument, martial arts, acting, gymnastics, drumming, magic, to juggling, martial arts, singing, tap dancing, dancing, comedy, gymnastics, and to edge of entertainment and other creative expressions of your talent!  We are awaiting your presence.

Please pre-register at

We are asking for a $10 registration fee that includes a ShoeString Community Players membership.  Scholarships are available for those in need!  You need to audition and be seen and heard!


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SSCP 2018 Cheri Adams Theater Scholarship Awarded

Shoestring Community Players has been proudly serving the Columbia County theater community since 1982. We are honored to announce that we were able to award two Senior students scholarships this year.  The cream of the crop, these students intend to major in the theater arts  at an accredited 2 or 4-year college, university, or conservatory of their choice.

SSSCP President Brian Vaerwyck presented the Cheri Adams Theater Arts Scholarship to  recipients from  both St. Helens High School and Scappoose High School.   This year’s recipients are-from St.Helens High School  Miss Jennifer Fournier and from Scappoose High School – Miss Kristina Barnes. Each recipient received a scholarship worth $750.00.

Kristina Barnes has a long history in theater beginning with the 2010  Mazzola Children’s Theater production of The Princess and the Pea.  Most recently she had a lead role in the Scappoose Drama Club production of The Diary of Anne Frank. She has experience in a variety of theater related roles including acting, chorus, crew and House Manager. After graduation Kristina will plans on attending Western Oregon University in the fall of 2018 majoring in Theater Arts.

Jennifer Fournier has actively participated in theater since 2014.  In a letter of recommendation from Eric Stearns Director of Choirs for St. Helens School District, Eric is quoted as saying, “Jenny lives, eats, breathes theater.”  Jennifer has taken on a variety of roles within theater including acting, crew lights Stage Manger and even Director.  After graduation Jennifer plans on attending George Fox University with a major in Technical Theater.

The scholarship is funded by a portion of the proceeds from the Shoestring Community Players performances, including the annual summer musical, seasonal productions, and by the generous donations from patrons of the arts for the specific purpose of the scholarship.  You may donate and learn more about Shoestring Community Players scholarships at

We would like to thank all the students that applied for the opportunity for this scholarship grant and SSCP wishes to encourage students to participate in their local theater program and community theater. Bravo to the class of 2018, and well done!

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.