The Community of Community Theatre

  • Jennifer Butler

Massachusetts Columnist

There really is a sense of community in Community Theater. Community is the keyword in the group collective effort of putting on a show. They say it takes a village to raise a child but it takes a community to promote and put on a show. That is the thing about Community Theater; people are willing to help each other out, even if it’s not their assigned duty or role. I was the publicity coordinator for the show that is running now. I set pieces and helped with costumes on the show as well. We all work together, and we want to see the show come together.

Because no matter what, at the end of tech week, on opening night, there will be an audience, expecting a show, and hopefully a good one at that. We put the show on not only because we love theater but also for the benefit of the audience. They are another part of the community in Community Theater. Every Community Theater that I have worked with has those select people that are committed to attending the shows. These people are members because of the productions that we have put on in the past and they buy their tickets well in advance, just to make sure they have good seats for the show. They are our dedicated group of patrons and are just as important as those who put on the show. Without them, there would be no reason for us to provide the entertainment. 

The other important part about the show is that it is a collective effort in getting people to come see the show. It is not just one person that it falls on to fill the seats. Sure, one person is mainly responsible for the press stuff (in this case, it’s me) but everyone in the cast and crew promotes the show in some way, shape or form, whether it’s promoting the production on their Facebook page or helping me get the posters and postcards distributed around town. 

Community doesn’t always mean those who are working together are in one particular theater though. It also means being able to reach out to other theaters and having them lend you set pieces, props and costumes. I am a member of several Facebook groups where people are constantly posting opportunities or requests for help, or furniture and props that they are looking for. I am thankful for the connection to one of those groups that I was able to find the perfect Victrola for the play that I am currently involved in. Somebody posted that they were looking to get rid of it and all I had to do was go pick it up. 

So you see, when it comes to getting a show up and running, it is not just one person responsible for everything. It is the collective effort of combing the strengths of everyone on the production team to make a successful show; a true community. 

Photo: Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre