Melodrama is a unique theatrical experience, invented in the USA. But nobody does it quite as uniquely as Summer Mummers. Summer Mummers, a Permian Basin summer tradition for more than seventy-three years, is the longest continuing melodrama in the United States and is internationally renowned. This unique group has been privileged to perform in Dundalk, Ireland and Dongying, China, proving that laughter is indeed a universal language.
The oldest auxiliary organization at Midland Community Theatre, Summer Mummers entertains thousands of patrons each summer while providing Midland Community Theatre with an astounding quarter of a million dollars each year. In fact, nearly twenty-seven percent of Midland Community Theatre’s annual budget is a direct result of Summer Mummers.
Even more amazing than the money raised is the unbelievable amount of volunteer hours it takes to create this special event. For 75 years, volunteers have given their time and talent each summer for the sole purpose of raising money for Midland Community Theatre. Nearly 100 volunteers each night give collectively an amazing 15,000 volunteer hours each summer. Before the first ticket is sold and lights shine on the stage, the Summer Mummers volunteers are hard at work. Governed by a seven-member volunteer fundraising committee, Summer Mummers is really a year-round “job” for the hard working volunteers. They not only select the script; they cast the show, sell advertising, order supplies, organize production committees, clean the theatre, and make costumes. And – every volunteer actor and dancer in the Melodrama and Olio has given between 60 and 120 hours of rehearsal time.
In 2007, visitors to Summer Mummers represented 8 foreign countries, 34 different states and 136 Texas cities and towns – a remarkable attendance for a remarkable event. Hundreds of out-of-town visitors travel to Midland each year to enjoy shopping, dining out, spending the night and attending Summer Mummers. Midland Community Theatre actively works to secure special performance opportunities for groups, conferences and conventions taking place in the Permian Basin.
All performances conclude with the
The Olio is a series of short sketches, dances, and audience participation skits. Each sketch is about 60 seconds making the Olio a fast-paced, laugh-a-minute extravaganza. Many of the sketches come from the minds of our volunteers who diligently watch television and scour the internet looking for what is most likely to keep the audience laughing.