Jakub Kindl Jersey  Darius Slayton Womens Jersey  Value of Community Theatre to Actors | PAH

Value of Community Theatre to Actors

Actors dream of becoming movie stars or playing on Broadway, and can take for granted how community theatre, which play on smaller stages to smaller audiences and either don’t pay or pay very little, can enrich their lives. it can do just as much for their careers while also enriching themselves spiritually and socially.  Community theatre work also better connects performers with new friends and their community.

– Community theatre provides a working opportunity to build career skills and experience.  Professional theatre companies, movie producers and the like only want to work with experienced actors, actors they’ve worked with before, or actors they and their peers have seen in other shows around town.

For most actors the gateway to that needed experience, the key to building those relationships, comes through performing with community theatre troupes.  The directors that community theatre actors perform for today often become the mainstage union and regional directors that seek them out tomorrow. The relationships built in these productions often lead to more work and auditions for bigger roles over time.

The audiences community theatre actors perform for today may include the higher end stage and film directors that appreciate their work and seek them out later.  Community theatre roles don’t just help build a resume, but can offer exposure to directors and colleagues that can help the actor land bigger roles later.

2.  Community theatre is more accessible as an actor and as a patron.  Sure, community theatre plays for smaller audiences and the pay isn’t what a working professional mainstage actor can expect.  But because of this, the expectations for community theatre directors and troupes aren’t as high. These troupes are willing to take on more inexperienced actors and give them chances and major roles the big theatres and movie directors may not.

Actors also learn a lot by watching shows, plus most community theatre shows are cheap enough that an actor can see several of them per month, maybe even several per week.  This is a great opportunity for actors to expose themselves to more work and not only learn from it but see troupes, directors and actors they’d like to work with.

3. Community theatre produces more original and engaging material.  Most mainstage theatres have big profit margins to maintain and often take fewer risks with their season schedule, producing predictable and popular shows from Broadway and off-Broadway that they feel will sell tickets among their deep pocketed patrons.

Community theatres often have a small but committed patron base, fewer seats to fill and draw more casual patrons in with their lower ticket prices, which combined with the smaller budgets of smaller performance spaces gives them far less to lose financially.  This offers the greater sense of security to produce edgier, original and more experimental material.  This material often relates better to the life experience of younger and less experienced actors, and can be more artistically rewarding and fulfilling for an actor to play. And the end product can prove more fulfilling for audiences, peers and directors.

4. Community theatre offers opportunities to get more involved with the production of shows.  Actors not playing in a show can still help out with box office, ushering and other front of house duties.  They can also help out behind the scenes as stagehands and board operators.  Actors can develop relationships with producers and directors that can lead to assisting with future productions and even directing, or designing elements like the set, costumes, sound and lighting for shows themselves.

These non-acting experiences can help actors develop a well-rounded perspective on performing as well as drive actors to more working opportunities in shows down the road.  This may even compel actors to form their own production companies and produce their own shows to direct, design or act in, which many actors have surprisingly found more rewarding than their original dreams of performing in Hollywood or on Broadway.

Community theatre isn’t Hollywood, Broadway or playing the biggest mainstage in town.  But community theatre offers a wealth of opportunities for actors to gain experience and form relationships that will either help them advance to greater things or lead them to a fulfilling theatre life they may not have originally envisioned.

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