Growing up in Nevada City in Northern California, Lisa Shea-Blanchard got her start in community theater at age 9 with the Foothill Theatre Company. “It was a big part of my childhood,” she says. “My sister and my parents were involved.” Shea studied for a degree in theater at UC Davis and an MFA at the University of Wisconsin, then moved to Seattle and took a job at the Museum of Flight, where she met exhibit manager Ken Blanchard. They got married and moved to Eugene in 1995.
Fairbanks, Alaska, native Victoria Harkovitch studied elementary education at the UO and taught in Cloverdale on the Oregon Coast before returning for an MA in art history. She married John Holtzapple and taught in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, while he went to med school at UNC. After his residency in Seattle, they moved back to Eugene in 2000 for his new job at PeaceHealth.
Harkovich and Shea-Blanchard met while they were both working with Shakespeare in the Park, a summer series of comedies at Amazon Park. They became friends and started their own nonprofit performance group, the Roving Park Players, in 2007. “Our basic model is free theater outdoors,” Harkovitch says, “and we welcome everyone who wants to do theater with us.” The Players’ 2016 summer season will begin with Harkovitch’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, June 10 at Campbell Senior Center, June 11-12 at Maurie Jacobs Park, June 16-17 at Petersen Barn Community Center and June 18-19 at Island Park in Springfield. Shows start at 6 pm and admission is free. Learn more at rovingparkplayers.org.