Community theatre is an incredible experience for people who want to share their craft and ability with their local town or region. For students, working in community theatre can be incredibly life-changing, adding a new fresh experience and enabling them to be more prepared for theatre when they leave high school or college. It transcends the everyday faces and personalities you see in the hallway or in class and can give you some incredible life lessons.
I started community theatre as a sophomore in high school at the Umbrella Community Arts Center, where I was lucky enough to work with an incredible cast and creative team. Being one of two students there, the learning curve was steep, but the experience had enriched my love of theatre and my desire to put on a good show. Working with a professional director and stage manager as their assistant stage manager, it taught me far more than anything high school theatre had taught me. It was there where I learned that attentiveness was key, with no time to mess around, to ensure that a good show was to be put on. The whole experience just seemed to prove that what you put into something is what you get out.
Outside of the more professional theatre, summer community theatre programs for kids and teenagers can be very enriching, giving you the experience to try new things, and learn in a wholly unique setting. At the time of writing this, I have just finished striking the set of my first show of this summer show. I was lucky to be a stagehand for the production of Newsies at the Cohasset Dramatic Club but was also fortunate enough to be able to step outside my comfort zone and get on stage as a small acting role.
Along with having ample technical work to do, I also played a minor role of the police officer in the performance. While no that may not be the largest role, being able to push my limits and step out of the wings onto the stage had been an incredible moment of self-growth.
Community theatre has shaped me to be who I am as a person by exposing me to so many new people. At the Cohasset Dramatic Club, I found this to be a personal challenge due to the fact that I came into the show a few weeks late, but had quickly been able to make friends in the process. When talking to one of my friends from this theatre, Ava Fusco who played one of the newsies, she had said how theatre has “made [her] so much more open- I’ve made friends who I wouldn’t have met otherwise if not for local theatre.”
Theatre at its core can mold us into incredibly passionate beings, and I know without being a part of theatre I would not be who I am today. It has opened me to so many incredible possibilities and so many life-changing moments. Continuing with my conversation with Ava from earlier, she went on to say how she is “more willing to take risks and assert [herself], not only in theatre but in [her] everyday life,” something I believe that all thespians can agree with. Being students these life skills only benefit us in life, giving us social skills and personal goals we can work towards, to do the best work we can.
It is not only in theatre that we can work together to put something beautiful together, but life as a whole.