First City Players, or "FCP," is Ketchikan, Alaska's only community theatre organization. FCP was organized by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1964, and has been continually active since then. In August, 1966 FCP was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
For years, FCP produced plays in a variety of venues around Ketchikan, including the Kayhi Auditorium, Schoenbar Middle School, the Sons of Norway Lodge, and the Fireside Restaurant, just to name a few. The group produced musicals, contemporary and classical plays, dramas, comedies, and children's productions. For a time, FCP participated in regional drama festivals, and was often recognized for their excellent productions.
In 1983, FCP took over management of what was to become the Main Street Theatre. In 1985, this theatre received a capital grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts to begin renovations. With this grant, some community fundraising, and the work of many selfless volunteers, the Main Street Theatre opened its doors in the spring of 1986 with the play Painting Churches by Tina Howe, which had been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. FCP's production was directed by Carol Cairnes Shaffer.
With the opening of this theatre it became necessary for FCP to hire an Artistic Director to manage the facility and to administer and direct a regular season of plays. Our first full season was in 1988, and included both performances and workshops. In 1989, FCP began to sell season subscriptions. In the years since, FCP's production schedule has grown from one winter show and one summer production (of Ketchikan's original, annual melodrama, The Fish Pirate's Daughter) to a full, year-round schedule of theatrical events, classes, and workshops.
In the past quarter-century, FCP has expanded its youth programming. Beginning in the summer of 1997, FCP began offering children's theatre classes. That first summer involved about 20 kids in three classes focused on improvisation, storytelling, and movement skills. Those classes evolved, in time, to become ArtsCool, a fine arts and performing arts summer camp, which, in a typical year, enrolls well over 60 kids ages 8-17, in a series of classes that culminate in a fully-staged musical production.
In the winter of 1999, FCP began a second program of children's theatre classes, now called Starpath, which offer a broader variety of subjects to a wider group of students, ages pre-K through high school. FCP aims to continue expanding its educational programming, not just for children, but also for adults. Classes and workshops in both performance skills and technical theatre have been offered, with more in the works.
In the winter of 2002, FCP lost the lease with their longtime landlords at the Main Street Theatre. The office moved to 716 Totem Way, adjacent to Ketchikan's famous Creek Street. The majority of productions were presented on the Kayhi stage.
In April, 2007, FCP moved to the second floor of the Plaza Mall, and produced numerous shows in that same building.
In September. 2012, FCP moved to its permanent office on Main Street, on the lower level of the future Ketchikan Performing Arts Center.