We have suddenly found ourselves approaching a weekend with NOTHING HAPPENING among any of our local theatres. A rare occurrence indeed. Several shows have recently closed, some are prepping for tech week, others are being cast as I type, and some theatres are getting set for auditions. So while there may not be anything for audiences to partake of this weekend, the theatres themselves are still as busy as ever.
There are people out there who are of the mind that the only time the theatre is alive is when a show is on stage, and that is absolutely NOT the case. A theatre, particularly a non-profit community theatre, never really stops working. There are so many things that happen before, during, and far after a production that it would take me more than a single post to detail them all. And sadly, the volunteers needed to make these things happen are in very short supply. I imagine that when you attend performances at your preferred theatre, you notice that you often see the same faces selling tickets, working concessions, and/or ushering. Maybe you have even taken note that you see the same folks on stage quite frequently or read the same names in the playbill for costuming or other technical items. Believe me when I say that this isn’t due to favoritism, as a rule. This is because these are the people that show up to auditions, respond when a volunteer coordinator asks for help in the box office, or show up when the director says they need help on set build day.
Community theatre thrives on COMMUNITY. Yes, the organizations need funding, but they also need people. They need people who are willing to show folks to their seats for 30 minutes before a show starts. They need people who can help browse thrift stores for period appropriate clothing, accessories, or furniture. They need people who are handy with power tools or paint brushes who may be interested in assisting to construct a set on a Saturday. They need actors and actresses too…but not everyone wants to be on stage. Sometimes you just want to help a little here and there. I encourage you to contact the theatre in your area and see how you can go about becoming involved, if not on stage then behind the scenes. It is far more satisfying than you think. And the actors and actresses will certainly love you for it.