United Players of Vancouver Theatre Company began in 1959 as the St. James United Church Drama Group, founded by two English emigrées, Gwen Crowe and Eileen Oliver. The first play was “The Holly & the Ivy” by Wynyard Brown and directed by Ivor Morris. Performances were held in the lower church hall.
In 1963, when the company was incorporated, the name was changed to United Players of Vancouver. The name was chosen to represent the deep bond the members felt for each other, and that bond continues today.
In 1982, Andrée Karas joined the company, becoming President and Artistic Director in June 1983 and she has continued to work tirelessly for United Players ever since. As Artistic Director, her vision inspires and challenges all who experience her enthusiasm and joy of theatre. In 2020 CW (Toph) Marshall will become Artistic Director while Andrée becomes Artistic Director Emerita.
The end of 1989 saw the end of United Players association with St. James United Church. However, it was not until 1991 that the company moved to its current space at the Jericho Arts Centre, to become their resident theatre company.
For over the sixty years, audiences have been entertained with wonderful and exciting theatre. Plays ranging from light comedy to Greek tragedy, great plays written by George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward, Tennessee Williams, Neil Simon, Euripides, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens, Aristophanes, Molière, Sophocles, Jane Austen and the list goes on.