St. James Melodrama began in 1976 in the “little theater” at Notre Dame on 35th and State St. The $300 rent included the full six weeks of
rehearsal time and the production ran just three nights. We could seat 225 to 250 with a ticket price of only $3 each. A fourth night was added
the following year and soon we had to increase to six shows. Even with two weekends, we needed more space and eventually moved to Notre Dame’s gym
where we could accommodate 400+.
In 1997, that space was demolished for the construction of Seven Oaks Retirement facility and we relocated to the
old Cathedral High School stage. Displaced again, after only two years, we moved to Sokol Auditorium, which again allowed us to increase the size
of the audience.
After part of our group became members of the new St. Elizabeth Ann Parish, in 1982 our name changed to SJ/SEA Melodrama. As we
enter our 38th season, participation continues to grow. We’ve had to recognize our organization as the “business” it has become and are now
incorporated. No matter how we’ve changed over the years, however, we remain just a big family always ready to welcome new members.