In the last half century or so a wave of community theatre has rippled out through the suburbs in the wake of sprawl. The strength of a community theatre is an easy barometer of community life, if not a precise one. It means a bunch of volunteers have the time and energy to pool their talents (for better or for worse), and put on a show. All the better if they’re doing it on behalf of kids.

That will is alive and well in Collinwood, in the upstage Players. The children’s theatre company, run by volunteers, was founded in 1995 with thirty kids. They now have 150. They come from all over the east side- Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Bratenahl, Euclid, Eastlake, Mayfield, Mentor, Richmond Heights, Willoughby, Concord and Willowick. They’re gearing up for a production of Alladin, Jr.. Performances are March 26th - 28th at the Slovenian Workmen's Home (15335 Waterloo Rd. Collinwood).

To help pay the bills, they invite folks to the UpStage Artisan Alley, a craft sale offering handcrafted bath and body products, hand-painted keepsakes and magnets, rock-n-roll inspired art prints, jewelry, candles, crocheted items, rock-n-roll posters, fused glass items, photographic art, ceramic keepsakes, eco-friendly items and, of course, more. All proceeds help fund Aladdin, Jr.

The sale is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, at the Slovenian Workmen's Home. For information, go to, or