The Rossland Light Opera Players (RLOP) was founded on November 1, 1951, by Rossland teachers Bill and Kathleen Baldry, Gordon Griffin, and Margery Littley. The organisation’s purpose was to encourage music, drama, and associated arts in the area. Initial funds for starting the group were supplied by a Victory Bond from the defunct Rossland Amateur Operatic Society.
For their inaugural performance - Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance - the RLOP chose Gordon Griffin as the music director and Bill Baldry as the stage director. The cast, reportedly chosen without seeing any of the actors perform on stage, consisted of Jean Ellison as Mabel, Larry Gasen as Frederick, Stan Fisher as the Pirate King, Eric Bourchier as the Sergeant of Police, Bill Baldry as Major-General Stanley, and Kathleen Baldry and Margery Littely as supporting characters. Stan Fischer, the industrial education teacher at the Rossland high school, recruited his students to help in designing the production, which included lighting, staging, flats, and music stands.
The production of Pirates of Penzance opened in the Rossland high school auditorium in March 1952, performing two shows to enthusiastic audiences. The group then travelled for a show in the Trail Junior High auditorium (now called the Charles Bailey Theatre) and the Capitol Theatre in Nelson. All four shows were a success, generating a great deal of excitement about the RLOP and creating a lineup of talented individuals eager to be involved in future productions.
For their first eight seasons, the RLOP performed Gilbert & Sullivan productions, but in 1959, they branched out to other playwrights and eventually started writing their own productions. Performances have been held in various local venues, such as Rossland’s Miners’ Union Hall and Trail’s Charles Bailey Theatre.
In 1966, the RLOP negotiated a $1/year lease with the United Steelworkers Local 480 to rent Rossland's Miners' Union Hall (1899 Columbia Avenue). In 1976, the RLOP was forced to leave the Miners' Union Hall and ended up renting the two rooms in the Bank of Montreal to house their costumes. Their sets were stored in a shed behind the Rossland Credit Union, while their piano and lighting system were stored in the Junior High School in Trail. They were also forced to rent temporary locations in order to build sets and rehearse for upcoming productions. In 1983, the RLOP purchased the historic Bodega Hotel (2054 Washington Street) from the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
The RLOP has performed almost every year since their inception. The 2021 season was cancelled due to the global pandemic.
Some notable members include: Babs and George Bourchier, Jack Fisher, and Charles Bailey.