How To Get Involved In Charlotte's Theater Community

Theater productions are much like an iceberg: the action you see on the stage is just a fraction of what goes on behind the scenes. Theater companies, always operating on very tight budgets, rely on volunteers to make each show a reality. If you have acting talent, auditions are open for most local productions. There are also fascinating jobs working with costumes, props, sets, lights and sound, many offering on-the-job training for those with no experience. Even those who consider themselves totally without talent can be part of the theater scene, popping popcorn, pouring wine, taking tickets and helping patrons to seats. Most theater volunteers get to see performances for free, and, as a bonus, many find life-long friends and an active social life through their participation.
Actor's Theatre of Charlotte
650 E. Stonewall St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 342-2251

An award-winning professional theater group, ACT presents a Main Stage season of new plays and musicals by cutting-edge contemporary playwrights, as well as cult movie screenings and acting classes. Plays are staged at the theater on Stonewall Street year-round, with seven productions scheduled for the 2014-15 season. ACT's volunteer program is looking for people to work in the areas of promotions, database support, ushering and assembly of mailings and handbills, with volunteers rewarded with a complimentary ticket to the current production. ACT is also recruiting partnership ambassadors who can reach out to the community and plan special events for local organizations. Both equity and non-equity auditions are held to fill the roles in every production.

Related: Best Theatre Companies In Charlotte

Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 333-4686

With seven theater venues hosting hundreds of performances each year, Blumenthal has roles for a huge number of volunteers. Many work as ushers, and others at the box office, on customer service lines and as administrative assistants. Volunteers get to see shows, but are not guaranteed seats. Anyone over 18 can apply, regardless of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, age or disability, and are asked to commit to working a minimum of eight performances within a two-month period. Applicants complete an application online, then have a personal interview before joining the ranks of the Blumenthal Performing Arts volunteers.

Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 973-2832

The Children's Theatre is supported by one of the city's most active volunteer organizations, ENCORE!, with over 250 members. Members, who pay dues of $50 annually, plan and run several annual fundraising events, including Santa's Bag, a much-beloved local holiday tradition, the Women's Doubles Tennis Tournament, a Spring Brunch and Silent Auction and the annual gala – Celebrate! Members enjoy many benefits, including four general admission tickets to any performance and tickets to the year's special events, and in return are asked to serve on one of 14 committees, usher three times and, for new members, work a shift as a Santa's Bag elf. The theatre also has a Volunteer Usher program for both weekday school performances and weekend public shows, which allows volunteers to earn a free ticket for every three ushering shifts.

Davidson Community Players
209 Delburg St., Suite 132
Davidson, NC 28036
(704) 892-7953

As a non-profit community theater company, the Davidson Players rely on many volunteers to bring productions to the stage. The company invites members of the community to audition for parts in their busy year-round schedule of shows, or to volunteer for work backstage, creating and maintaining costumes, sets and props, painting scenery, manning light and sound boards, installing lights and operating follow spots. Other jobs are available in ticket and concession sales, publicity and fundraising, answering phones, landscaping and ushering. This is a terrific chance to gain experience in a wide range of theater skills, and there's room for individuals to move up to management positions. The company also offers unpaid summer internships, with high school and college credit possible, in all production and administrative areas.

Theatre Charlotte
501 Queens Road
Charlotte, NC 28207
(704) 376-3777

Each year, over 500 volunteers bring shows to the Theatre Charlotte stage, where nearly everyone, both on stage and behind the scenes, is a volunteer. Charlotte's oldest community theatre, founded in 1927, produces a half-dozen classic plays and musicals each year, along with cabaret nights, readings, murder mystery evenings and summer youth productions. Front-of-the-house positions, including usher, concession sales and ticket window, are filled through HandsOn Charlotte. The production crew for each show includes light and sound board operators, stage hands, dressers, kid wranglers, props and costume assistants, set builders and more. No experience is necessary, and you can sign up on the theatre's website to receive notices of volunteer opportunities, including monthly volunteer workdays.

Related: Best Volunteer Opportunities For Art Lovers In Charlotte

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