All posts by Ben Tiscareno

A Haunted Tour Through Downtown St. Helens

“This is so cool! If I lived in this town, I would come down here and scare people all month long during this festival!”
– Pedestrian unknowingly walking by a performer, who is acting like a decorative scarecrow

“I do live here. We are doing exactly that! And we will keep having fun doing it as long as you folks keep on coming to enjoy our town!”
– Performer, quickly breaking scarecrow pose to share their joy with the startled pedestrian

Last October 2016, during the Spirit of Halloweentown celebration, some town residents found themselves living in a dream come true nearly every weekend. Putting on terrifying makeup, dressing in haunting costumes, and sneaking around downtown St. Helens in coordinated fright after fright. The targets of these haunts were groups of folks walking through our city’s streets and parks. No – this was not part of some rude, unsolicited pranks against innocent victims & unwary visitors to our beautiful home. Well perhaps there were a FEW innocent victims… and no matter how wary the visitors were, the highly coordinated spooks still inspired more fearful fun and screams than can be found during a typical weekend downtown.

Quiet main street in downtown St. Helens – deserted and lonely? Or waiting with hushed breath for the ghoulish hauntings to begin?






Volunteering for ShoeString Community Players last October was a significant highlight of 2016 for many of the participants, and easily qualifies as one of my personal Top Ten most fun experiences! Tremendous credit goes to the diverse group of volunteers who showed up for weeks, with minds & hearts full of the passion to perform in the various acting and support roles. An extra helping of credit goes to the directors, writers, and organizers for each production – sometimes they were the same person! It can often be a challenge to create these shows, and then to channel our different talents so they can come to life.

The creative and dedicated volunteers who made up the cast & crew of each production all shared in the same playful spirit, and connecting with them was a delight for any volunteer or show attendee. With the variety of talents brought to the table, and a solid team of directors to organize them, SSCP was able to deliver weekend after weekend of solid performances during 2016’s Spirit of Halloweentown celebration.

Preacher who presided over the Damned, 
and a Soul who lost to his way to liquor and is lost in time.

After contributing to numerous projects throughout the years, it becomes apparent that the satisfaction and joy from each show is largely determined by the players and personalities involved; more so than by the logistic details alone. SSCP nailed every aspect of their Spirit of Halloweentown productions last year, including being adaptable when unexpected plot twists arose on performance night! This focus on a culture of success is cultivated from the 30+ years of history behind the organization. St. Helens is very fortunate to have ShoeString Community Players based in their city.  To anyone with a curiosity for theatrics, or even a lifetime of experience in the performing arts, please take this contributor’s energetic encouragement to reach out and volunteer with this group. You won’t regret the choice! As highlighted by the overheard exchanged above, there are people who dream about having opportunities like these. They are here in St. Helens, on you doorstep. Opportunity is knocking. Will you step forward boldly, and be part of making another dream come true?

St. Helens Haunted Tours
Cast and Crew 2016

Voodoo Doughnuts for the guests who were celebrating downtown, whether they attended a show or not!


Children being bold and playing with the scary performers downtown. There is nothing to fear here. But watch out around the next corner…


In Search Of

Do you have a passion for musicals?
Is the Director inside of you craving to step out and take charge of a production?
Are you itching to take a musical chorus and give them direction, or to conduct an orchestra?

ShoeString Community Players is coordinating a summer musical, and is pooling talent from across the region. This is the chance you’ve been waiting for!

Individuals with a passion for performance, talent for stage craft, and who enjoy creating memorable experiences are invited to be a part of this summer production. Specific opportunities for Directors are available. If you have a talent and interest in directing a musical, a chorus, or an orchestra, and you are reading this right now, then you’ve come to the right place! ShoeString Community Players is seeking passionate members from the community who wish to invest their talent in this creative process. Could you be the next Director or contributor to this musical? Reach out and discover what waits for you behind this door!

With a history of success and a flow of enthusiasm from past participants, SSCP will continue to bring entertainment and community engagement through this summer musical.

“The Wizard of Oz” 2016
Mystery Hour Radio Theater: “The Shadow” 2016

If these opportunities are calling to you, or if your curiosity is leading you towards being a part of this production, then please be invited to submit your interest for consideration!

ShoeString Community Players