Beyond enjoying the show, there are plenty of other ways to appreciate the arts at your local theater. One such way is through volunteering, which gives you a behind-the-scenes insider look into how the plays and performances you love get their time to shine on the stage.
What does volunteering look like?
Volunteering at your local theater means donating your time to a role that fits you best. For plays and musical performances, this could mean working with the stage crew to reset the stage between scenes, creating props and sets as a set builder or painter, keeping everything running smoothly as a stage manager or assistant stage manager, and more.
For some volunteers, this is a chance to show off and share their expert creative knowledge. Some theaters have needs for certain craft-related skills, like painters for backgrounds and props or excellent sewing skills in the costume department.
If you don’t have any previous experience in the theater or special skills, don’t fret! Volunteer work is largely beginner-friendly. Those with people skills and a warm smile might enjoy working in the box office selling tickets and greeting attendees or helping guide people to their seats as an usher.
What’s in it for me?
While volunteering means you don’t get a monetary reward for helping out, that doesn’t mean you won’t receive anything from the theater to show gratitude for your hard work. Many theaters offer free tickets to a performance for volunteers, and you really can’t beat all the fun you’ll have meeting other volunteers, staff members, and performers as you work. These connections could lead to long and meaningful friendships!
Where do I volunteer?
Baton Rouge Theatres:
Theatre Baton Rouge gives volunteers the chance to get closely involved in their productions with volunteer opportunities backstage, commanding roles as a stage manager or assistant, technical positions on the lighting and sound crew, and more. For more information about volunteering there, visit theatrebr.org/volunteer.
At the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, there are plenty of opportunities coming up for you to get involved. One avenue to join, for people who have previous knowledge of ballet, is to become a guild member for $10. Guild members have a more in-depth role as coordinators for dancers, assistants at events, costume designers, and more. For non-guild volunteers, expect to work backstage or at the Nutcracker Boutique, help with auditions, or do some light sewing before and during performances. To sign up, email Gayle at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit batonrougeballet.org/support/volunteer for more information.
Ascension Community Theatre wants to empower those with stage fright by giving them plenty of chances to assist in their next production. To sign up and see what opportunities are available, visit actgonzales.org and subscribe to their newsletter.
New Orleans Theatres:
Le Petit Theatre needs volunteers to help out during each of its productions, so there are plenty of ways for you to get involved. Ushers are essential to each performance as the welcoming party for audience members. As compensation, volunteers receive complimentary tickets to productions and get information about upcoming events. To sign up, fill out the volunteer application form on their website, lepetittheatre.com/volunteer.
At the New Orleans Ballet Theatre, volunteers are invited to fill out contact information to be entered into their volunteer database. Once the need for volunteers arises, volunteers will be contacted and informed about the various opportunities available to them. To get started, visit neworleansballettheatre.com/volunteer.
The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company entreats interested volunteers to send an email detailing their past volunteer experiences, if applicable, and a list of the opportunities and positions volunteers may be interested in signing up for. To get started visit twtheatrenola.com/volunteer or send an email to email@example.com.
Overall, volunteering at your local theater is a great way to utilize and hone your artistic and people skills while learning about how productions work. Many of these theaters depend on volunteers to make sure shows kick off without a hitch, making the work very rewarding. Get started today and make a difference at your local theater!