For starters, do you use “theater” or “theatre”?
I’ve often mentioned that I’m active with my local community theater group. It is a joy and a struggle. There is so much more that goes on than just opening the doors and letting the audience in to see a [hopefully] polished, entertaining show.
You have to pick the plays for the season…do you pick the shows that actors hunger to do or do you pick the ones with name recognition so that people will want to come? Do you do the big, multi-generational musical with lots of kids [which means full houses and lots of ad revenue][which means TONS of work and volunteers needed to accommodate all those cast members] or do you go with the 2 to 4 character, no set show that is so much easier to do with the few people you actually have to do the work [which means smaller houses and paltry revenues]?
You have to market and sell said season…what, the Board consists of actors, directors and technical folk who have no interest or expertise in marketing and selling?
You have to schedule and run the three shows in your season [auditions, rehearsals, performances], run rehearsals, find people to help with sets and costumes and make-up and props and set crew and tech operators and folks willing to climb TALL ladders and house managers].
You have to audition, know how to accept rejection, know how to celebrate parts won, devote three months of your life to the project, learn lines, remember blocking [don’t turn your back to the audience to deliver your most important monologue], get along with your castmates and directing staff, re-learn blocking once the real furniture makes it to the set [sometimes as late as opening night].
You have to apply for grants to help you continue to bring good community theater experiences to our audiences AND to provide good equipment to help make it worth the volunteers’ time to give three months of their lives [what, the Board consists of actors, directors and technical folks who have no idea how to find grants, much less write them?].
And on and on…it is a constant struggle, a love/hate relationship, a joy when it is done right…you know that old saying, “I can’t live with it and I can’t live without it”…a delicate balance…