Sepia Saturday #337: What Kind of Troupe?









I hope no one here is coulrophobic. This cute little troupe of dogs dressed in clown suits shouldn’t be too scary. I say troupe because the dogs on the inside of the card are dressed differently than the ones on the cover. They’re horsing around with pedestals and colorful balls. The saying on the inside says, “These cunning little puppies are doing tricks for you. They bring three special wishes for your birthday too!” The card comes from Aunt Sadie’s Shirley Temple Scrapbook. It is from Kitty, most likely the Kitty that became her uncle Adam’s wife.

Google defines a troupe as “a group of dancers, actors, or other entertainers who tour to different venues.” I’m going to take the touring aspect of this definition very loosely!

Bruce at The Orchards

Troupe: a group of actors

My ex-husband, Bruce, worked at a place called The Orchards. I’m unsure where it was located but according to Bruce they could draw in some prominent actors like Joanne Woodward which in turn brought her husband Paul Newman to visit. The Orchards would stage productions starring the staff working there. I have a photo of Bruce (kneeling, on the right) with some of his co-workers. I also think the the woman in the back on the left is his sister Paula. Bruce worked in food service but he participated in the productions. Based on their costumes, it looks to be some sort of Shakespearean or knight-related play.

Troupe: a group of dancers

When I was little, I took dance lessons. Ballet and tap.  It was at the D’Marge Dance Studio, located on Trinity Street in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. One year, we put on a tap production for our parents and relatives. There were eleven of us all dressed in pink outfits, wearing pink hair bows and carrying umbrellas. I don’t even remember what the song we tapped to was but I suspect Singing in the Rain may have been in the mix.



Note: My career as a dancer ended on the day that I threw a hissy fit about having to go to dance lessons vs. being able to play with my best friend Patty Clark, who lived just down the street. “But I don’t want to go to dance lessons!” I wailed. Mom just looked at me and said, “If you go play with Patty, no more dance for you.” Deal!

Troupe: a group of drillers

My sister, Jill, participated on the Newton High School drill team. They do meet the traveling aspect of a troupe as they followed the football team from game to game entertaining the crowds before the game and at halftime. Jill practiced throwing the rifle up over her head and behind her back for hours. They had a practice “rifle,” perfect for being dropped over and over as they improved their skills. As you can see, maroon and white where the school colors for the “Home of the Braves.” Jill is the standing girl on the far right of the back row.


Troupe: a group of cheerleaders

My sister, Jenni, participated in the Newton High School cheerleading squad. Again, they meet the traveling aspect of a troupe as they followed the football team from game to game entertaining the crowds before and during the game and at halftime. Jen is on the bottom of the pyramid, second from the right. The photo was taken on the football field at the high school located on Ryerson Avenue.


Troupe: a group of actors

In 1978, Merriam Avenue School in Newton put on a production of Oliver. I was part of that production playing Mrs. Sowerberry along with other smaller bit parts for the crowd scenes. Mr. David Scott was our beloved music teacher and Mrs. Jean Tag (still friends with my mom) put us to work painting the backdrops.


This is our group Oliver photo. The nice thing about grammar school plays is that everyone gets to be in it! Mr. Scott is on the very left side of the photo. I’m wearing the white shirt, second from the left of the sign in the front row, kneeling next to good friend Marianne Becker.

The program wasn’t very high-tech, just some copies run off and stapled together.


Program cover for the 1978 Merriam Ave production of Oliver

The cover was a mustard yellow and the people in the production were typed up inside.





There’s my take on troupes! Traveling or not.

The concept behind these weekly Saturday posts can be found at Sepia Saturday Intro.
Theme taken from Sepia Saturday photo: Troupes

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4 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday #337: What Kind of Troupe?

  1. Some great photos here of different types of performing groups. Loved the photos of all you young ladies in pink. My cousin took tap & ballet when she was young and I so wanted to, too. But my parents couldn’t afford it. I did learn to tap though! I had to wait till I was 38 and joined a group called the Grub Gulch Garter Girls who danced onstage between melodrama scenes, but I had a ball doing it so it was worth the wait!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I bet your Mom was sorry she made that deal with you. I had no idea you danced ballet and tap, nor that you acted in a school play! That was quite a cast. I wonder who drew the cover. The artist didn’t sign his/her work. 🙂


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