community theater

is community theater involvement a good idea?

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Community Theatre

I know that this can become a big debate; Community Theatre has had a bad reputation for years as a place where the wanna bes go to pretend to be artists, and they act out every annoying stereotype out there.
Having said that (withdraw the claws, please :p ) I was initially trained in community theatre, and preferred working that over high school theatre. I learned more there too, because the powers that be knew I really wnated to be there, and took the time to show me how to do things so I could actually be useful. I was a volunteer. In high school theatre there is always one or two silly people who think that theatre classes are just easy A's. They usually don't last long.
So, my vote is to get involved in community theatre. If you are lucky enough to have a kick ass HS program, do that too. Maybe you can help spread the knowledge from one place to another.
Obviously not all CTs are created equal. But check it out. What do you have to lose?

I would say that they are a good idea. I just started interning at a community theater about 3 weeks ago, and it is a nice change from my school's theater.

A community theater is a good place to get the feeling of a different theater--most likely a larger theater and more professional.

My vote is for yes--a community theater is a good place to work. While the administrative people may be crazy or annoying, you can usually get around that by just working with the crew.

My vote is yes, go for it.
One could argue that there always something to learn from every experience. Good or Bad.

The key is to keep an open mind and evaluate and reflect upon what you are learning. Also, like everything in life, you will have to put in to get get something out.

Please note that I have no experience in this area but my comments are drawn from other life experiences. Hope it helps.
I have worked for one community theater and it was a great learning experience. If you are in HS and looking for some extra cash and a lesson or two, I would go look for a community theater to work for.
Well that depends how much you know all ready. The only things I have picked up were small details such as the proper name for parts of a flat and always making sure the grain is running the right way. I would go for it if you have another job or dont really need the cash because the pay usally isn't that great, but it is something to put down on your applications and that could be worth more than anything.
soundman said:
it is something to put down on your applications and that could be worth more than anything.

You raise a very good point and whilst this is somewhat off topic, I want to focus on this aspect for a few moments.

How many of you actually keep a resume or CV?

My advice is that if you have not already done so, start compiling one now. My second tip is to add to it as soon as you have completed any training or production etc. It is very difficult to sit down and recall things that have happened 1, 2, 3 or more years ago.

Always put the most recent things to the top of the list and I usually cut the list to 3 for each of my categories. However, the rest goes into a larger list which is essentially a portfolio of your career.

Just some food for thought
There is one thing everyone going inot community theatre needs to know... IT IS ALL POLITICS!

I love working at our community theatre. We are lucky enough to have very good equpitment, and I love the people there. I have learned practicaly every thing I know there.

But community theatre is all politics. The bigest thing I have learned is to pick my battles, fiure out whos ass I have to kiss up to, and perfect my anger management skills.

At out theatre, there are 19 people on the board. Nothing every gets done. Instead they sit around and complain how the scene shop is a mess when we were in the middle of the set build for a show! Instead of addressing issues like the fact that there is faulty wiring in our 1 year old lighting system, or that wiring and power supply in the building is not great enough. Everytime one of the 6 air conditioners kicks in every light in the theatre flickers, even the stage lighing. But that is all besides the point.

When you get started in community theatre, you are sure to get alot of crap from people and no respect from just about every thing for the first year or 2. It greatly helps if you find someone who has been at the theatre for many years and work very well wih them... that will greatly help you out.

The last thing... in community theatre, the board of directors will be sure to like you if your show makes money. What ever you do, don't put your show in the hole.
i think it is a good idew to work in a community theater cause you meet cool people that share your interests. if you know lesthelightguy, he and i worked together in the same theater for three or four years. he now has gotten a paying job there and i work at school.

we are still friends and he has now moved on to college and i am still at the high school where we were friends. he trained me to take his place as the td there.

the only thing about community theater is that you occationally have the executive manager there who gets mad at you for verything you do. and that blames you for everything cause your one of the techs!

anyways good luck in the community!

3D (Derek D. Deiterman)
Community Theatre

um, some CTs do pay a little. Just depends on the company. My CT didn't pay, but every so often the director would pay a token amount to me - certainly not enough to pay bills or anything, but it was a special thenk you. Nobody else in the company got anything.

I vote "yes". Just like with anything there are good and bad. I was lucky and happened to be involved with a good community theater that had great youth programs in place, hired great staff and had a supportive board.

I then left and went to a "bad" community theater where they tried to toss a show together in two weeks (something that can be done by professionals, but not by community members with 9 - 5er's). Either way I did learn something about theater.

I do have one piece of advice... I have experienced situations where a community theater has latched on to a person because they had a talent that the theater lacked. That person ceased to learn anything and instead became a technical support resource. Often times they mentioned feeling trapped because they developed some friendships there and didn't want to let their friends down by stopping their involvement and thus lessening the quality of the shows because the initial void that they were filling became vacant again. What eventually happened is that the "trapped feeling" lead to the destruction of their friendships. If you are joining a community theater to learn a craft and you aren't, don't feel trapped. You are allowed to leave them and find an environment better suited to your needs. Any friends you have made will understand. If not... they aren't really all that good of a friend and were part of the problem.
Very good post, I am really glad you brought that up, I have seen/ have been that situation before. Community Theatres can be very complicated, there are a lot of politics involved, as there are in anything.

In regards to community theatre, it is always good to train others around you if they are interested, and you can continue to that same quality of work, if you set the bar high, you also won't feel trapped when interested in exploring other theatres and moving on.

Often sports, when they talk about great players, they say that a true great players, make others around them great.

I don't know how I got into this subject, recently I have seen people in theaters that I am involved in worried about their apprentices or crews rising above them and surpassing them, and worried about control issues, I guess that is where the quote about great players comes in.
Do it!

Community theatre is a GREAT idea! It has a higher level of experience than highschool theatre and you meet people. That's one of the ways I've been working my way up the ladder.

Theatre is all about who you know (well for the most part, I'm sure some beg to differ). And community theatre is one of those stepping stones. I highly reccomened doing it if you really enjoy theare and teching. You'll have a fun time, gain even more experience, learn more, and possibly meet future employers.

You really can't go wrong with it. Unless you hate theatre... Which I doubt. :wink:
Yeah, I am going to be employed at a CT next season as Master Electrician! Most everyone is a voulnteer, even the few who get paid. Pay is in no way by the hour, we'd be rich and the Playhouse would be broke! Most of the income is donations. Light budget is about $300 per show. We try to do things professionally here, and therefore still put on great productions. TD is great. He works very hard and adds a pro's touch to everything. Check out the web site.
Cool! Have fun! And I hope you find this experience well worth it! :)

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