Yelm’s SRO Theater successfully hosts ‘Love Ballads and Valentines’ radio show

Organization to present a number of events in 2024


Standing Room Only (SRO) Theater, a Yelm based community-led theater group, is finding its stride post-COVID. The organization has held two events since early December and aims to continue bringing the art of theater to residents this year.

SRO presented its most recent event, “Love Ballads and Valentines” radio show, on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Outpost Church in Yelm. Organization president Steve Harshfield said between two showings, more than 100 people attended. 

The “Love Ballads and Valentines” performance included two “vintage” radio shows, staged in front of a live audience. Harshfield described the set as taking place behind the scenes of a 1940s radio station.

The performances included love songs, popular songs from the 1940s and two radio plays. 

“Saturday turned out to be excellent,” Harshfield said. “We had a lot of new people come from the Olympia area, it sounds like. We also had some people start to ask about volunteering and becoming involved with the theater.”

The cast of “Love Ballads and Valentines” included Steve Harshfield, Matthew Tolar, Madeline Blanchard, Kamylle Sprenger, Savannah Creamer, Dawn Wadsworth, Ren Miller, Joel Derefield, Richard Frias, and Rae Simpson. Director Dawn Young and assistant director and tech Jonnie Ellis helped make the show happen. 

Harshfield said it feels great to see SRO gaining community interest from residents and prospective volunteers. SRO Theater members have missed interacting with the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented performances. 

“With COVID shutting us down, we haven’t had the benefit of scheduling a full season. This is really the first time we’ve been able to sit down and start planning out a full season well in advance,” Harshfield said. “We have a lot of stuff coming up.”

SRO Theater has a range of performances set for throughout the year, although Harshfield noted some are still tentative. On Saturday, March 30, at the 1776 Bar in Tenino, Standing Room Only will perform a cabaret show. This show marks SRO’s first performance in Tenino. 

“One of our board members, Dave Champagne, lives in the Tenino area and started a conversation with the 1776 Bar and Kodiak Room down in Tenino. One thing led to another, and here we are,” Harshfield said. “Based on availability of spaces and some of the crowds we want to bring out, there’s nothing available in Yelm. This is an ongoing issue.”

Following the cabaret show, Harshfield said SRO Theater aims to return to Yelm’s Outpost Church in April to present more radio shows. After time off in May, performances will resume in  June, with SRO partnering with Uptown Lounge to present “Nunsense.”

In July, SRO will present a murder mystery event at Farrelli’s in Yelm, and, in October, the group’s popular Yell Manor haunted house and escape room will return. 

“This year, we’re bringing back our educational program,” Harshfield said. “This will be for kids in fourth grade and up during the summer. More information will be coming out about that here shortly.”