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Spotlight on the Arts | The importance of community theatre

Most you who read this column are aware that Maumelle has a community theater. Hopefully there are a few new readers that are learning this for the first time. And hopefully all of you who are reading this will go immediately to www.maumelleplayers.org and reserve your tickets to “Harvey.”

But why is community theater important to our community? First and foremost, the importance is in the name, community. A community theater is usually run by volunteers.

As it gets larger, sometimes a part-time Executive Director is hired to keep track of things, but primarily everyone is a volunteer. For the most part, many of the people who become a part of a community theater become friends or at least friendly.

They are a group of people who spent 2-3 hours a night or afternoon rehearsing to put on a quality show. New people are welcomed in to participate as actors, backstage volunteers, ushers, publicity and concessions.

To produce each show, they spend 4-5 nights a week together building a set, putting up lights, taking a set down and having a production party for everyone who helped. For 2-3 months for each show (we do two a year right now), they spend more time with each other than with their families.

Besides those who are directly involved, how does community theater affect the rest of the community? We are fortunate to live in Central Arkansas, where we have the opportunity to drive into Little Rock and see a Broadway show, a show at the The Rep or many other professional artistic events. But many of those cost more money than people want to spend. So community theater offers the opportunity to be a patron of the arts at a fraction of the cost, but still of excellent quality.

Another area of community theater is that of involving children. We are currently working at getting the Maumelle Children’s Community Theatre up and running again.

Community theater offers children a place to explore their talents, build their self-esteem and confidence.

As I mentioned earlier, community theatre is run by volunteers. For this production of “Harvey,”we still need some volunteers. We need some who can run lights and sound.

You don’t need to know how to program a light board or to design lighting. You just need to be able to follow instructions, listen for onstage cues (when a certain sound effect is needed) and commit to 6 shows on two weekends and about 1-2 weeks of rehearsal before that. E-mail me at victor.werner@gmail.com if you are interested.

Ushers are needed for each show as well.

Community theater is a lot of hard work, but it is also a lot of fun. We work hard, we play hard and we have a great time doing it. Thank you for supporting your community theater.

The Maumelle Players Community Theatre will present “Harvey” by Mary Chase at the Shepherd of Peace Lutheran Church on April 12-14 and 19-21. Friday and Saturday shows at 7 p.m. and Sunday is a 3 p.m. matinee. Tickets available at www.maumelleplayers.org. Call 501-492-9851 for more information. $15 for adults and $12 for Seniors (65+) Students and children 9 (under 12).

Maumelle Photography Club meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the Maumelle Library.

Remember to let us know about your event or organization so we can give it a place in a Spotlight on the Arts feature story or calendar. Contact me at maumellearts@gmail.com.

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