Cumberland Players, formerly the Little Theatre of Vineland, originated in February 1946 as an offshoot of the Vineland Community Arts Group. Of the six sub-divisions, only the theatre group flourished. In June 1946, the group presented a program of three one-act plays to an invited audience as the Reber School. Their efforts were so well received that the thespians immediately set about establishing a full-fledged community theater in South Vineland.
In October 1946, The Little Theatre of Vineland was chartered with a dedicated membership of fourteen people. The first major production, a domestic comedy entitled Ring Around Elizabeth, was presented at the Vineland Methodist Church, and began the painstaking process of converting the small church into a much larger building every weekend for two years. Finally, in November 1953, the theatre was formally opened with one of The Little Theatre’s most acclaimed productions, Come Back Little Sheba.
Over the next three decades, The Little Theatre continued to produced comedies and dramas at the Sherman Avenue site – usually three major productions per season. The group also sponsored children’s plays and teenage workshops. In 1977, the group’s name was officially changed Cumberland Players in an attempt to draw members from beyond the Vineland area. In 1982, a new tradition was born when Cumberland Players presented its first annual summer musical, The Music Man. Subsequent, musical hits such as Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, The King and I, and Camelot won popular and critical acclaim and brought the theatre a wider audience in the 1980s and 1990s.
True to our roots, we remain a group made up entirely of volunteers who are amateurs in the true sense of the word. We produce shows only for the love of theatre and the desire to share our talents with the community. And we continue to offer opportunities for grassroots participation among young and old theatre lovers; dedication, proven over half a century, to enriching the cultural life in our area; and the spirit of volunteerism and the love for theatre and community service.