The Mountaineers Players were formed in 1923 with a presentation in June of Robin of Sherwood in the forest property owned by The Mountaineers called The Rhododendron Preserve. The timing of the play was during the blooming of the wild Rhododendrons on the property. The production was unique as the audience was led from clearing
The Players present two productions each year (spring and summer). Cast and production members come from both sides of Puget Sound. Auditions for the spring show are in February, rehearsals are March through the end of May and performances start Memorial Day weekend and run for four weekends. The summer show auditions are in the spring, rehearsals are in June and July and performances start the end of July and run for four weekends. Evening rehearsals are held at the Seattle Center House TPS rehearsal rooms in downtown Seattle. Weekend day rehearsals are held at the theater.
The Mountaineers Players have a tradition of "living" on the property during Kitsap rehearsal and performance weekends, pitching tents, staying in Cascade (a bunkhouse cabin) or even sleeping in their cars. Volunteer cooks prepare sumptuous meals at the Kitsap Cabin for the cast and crew. Evening activities include games, soccer, hiking, swimming at nearby Wild Cat Lake and singing around the campfire. This overnight experience is not required, but many Players enjoy the respite from city living.
Kitsap Forest Theater, located approximately 7 miles west of downtown Bremerton, Washington, was constructed in 1928 and is one of the oldest outdoor theaters in the United States. William C. Darling designed the theater in 1926, spending many hours in this natural amphitheater determining how best to use the space so that sunlight streaming through the branches of the trees would form natural spotlights, and the beauty of nature would remain as undisturbed as possible. The theater roof is the sky, the walls are the forest, the wings are cedar bark covered with living moss, and the foundation is the earth.
The Kitsap Forest Theater is owned by The Mountaineers, a premier 501c(3) outdoor recreation, education and conservation group based in Seattle, Washington. The theater is surrounded by a 460-acre Rhododendron Preserve owned and maintained by the Mountaineers Foundation (a separate entity from the Mountaineers). This Rhododendron Preserve is also home to "Hidden Valley", the place first discovered by The Mountaineers so many years ago. Hidden Valley is home to lots of wildlife activity and beautiful trees and plants. It is also home to a beaver dam or two.
The Mountaineers property is also home to Kitsap Cabin, built in 1918 by mostly women volunteers during WWI. This Mountaineers property (including Kitsap Forest Theater and Kitsap Cabin) is listed on the Washington Heritage Register as an historically significant site. In 2011, a 27' diameter yurt was added to the property. The Kitsap Yurt expands the opportunities for using the property.
A dedicated group of Mountaineers volunteers work to operate, maintain, and preserve this property and its heritage. Tax-deductible donations and volunteer labor are needed to keep the Kitsap Forest Theater thriving. In addition to the two shows and an Adventure Camp put on by the Mountaineers Players, the property also hosts activities by the Kitsap Branch of the Mountaineers and is home to work parties and social events year-round.
Join us and have some fun! Volunteers that help usher, park cars etc. get to see the show for free. You may contact us to find out what's going on. We are always looking for great new people to join our Mountaineers Players family.