Boston, Massachusetts, is known for its exceptional professional theater scene, but you don’t need an Equity card to get on stage — there are plenty of high-caliber community theaters in Boston. With their exceptional talent and an impressive dedication to diversity and inclusion, these groups attract beginners and seasoned professionals alike. Many of these volunteer-run theaters produce full seasons of plays and musicals, so you can always find an upcoming audition.
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1. Footlight Club
The Footlight Club bills itself as “America’s oldest community theater”; it’s been producing plays and musicals in the Boston area since 1877. This theater group operates out of the historic Eliot Hall — it’s a unique opportunity to perform in such a unique space. If you’re looking to become part of a truly active and passionate theater, the Footlight Club welcomes you as a volunteer or performer. Each year, the theater puts on two musicals and four plays, so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Past seasons have included Legally Blonde: The Musical, Pippin, Blood Relations, and The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. Arlington Friends of the Drama
Arlington Friends of the Drama operates out of a spectacular building that was once St. John’s Episcopal Church; today, it’s one of the loveliest community theaters in Boston. AFD puts on two plays and two musicals every year; recent seasons have included The Addams Family, Hand to God, and Violet. The group updates its Facebook page frequently, so it’s a great place to go for audition notifications.
3. The Concord Players
You might recognize one of the founders of The Concord Players: Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women. Alcott founded the Concord Dramatic Union in 1856, which later became the Concord Dramatic Club and eventually, the Concord Players. With its deep roots in the artistic community, the Players have a large membership and a busy social calendar. Their regular season includes three major productions: a spring musical, an outdoor summer play, and a February play. Recent years have included The Winter’s Tale, The Secret Garden, and Noises Off. In addition, you can get involved with the theater’s one-act plays and theater workshops.
4. Theatre Company of Saugus
Whether you’re interested in auditioning for a community theater musical or play, the Theatre Company of Saugus has you covered. With four adult productions and a summer youth production, this theater is busy year-round. The regular lineup includes plays like Almost, Maine and Lost in Yonkers and musicals such as Children of Eden and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
5. Marblehead Little Theatre
If you’re looking for a North Shore community theater, the Marblehead Little Theatre is a wonderful option. It’s been a mainstay of the Greater Boston theater community since 1955, producing plays and musicals including Spring Awakening, Les Miserables, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and August: Osage County. Like many community theaters in Boston, the MLT performs in a unique space — a beautiful renovated firehouse. Auditions are usually announced 6-8 weeks in advance; the best way to stay informed is to sign up for the theater’s email list.
6. Curtain Call Theatre
The Curtain Call Theatre is another of Boston’s impressively long-running community theater groups. It’s been in business since 1962; today, it runs out of a small clubhouse in the community of Braintree. Expect to see auditions for three shows each year — one musical and two plays. In recent years, this theater has chosen options including Nunsense, The House of Blue Leaves, and Once Upon a Mattress.
7. Hovey Players
If you love to perform in intimate settings, make sure to attend the next Hovey Players audition. This theater group operates out of the Abbot Memorial Theater, a basement venue with just 52 seats. Don’t let the size fool you — this group produces four or five small-scale shows every year, ranging from plays like Rabbit Hole and Oscar & Felix to musicals like Assassins. Interested in directing? Hovey welcomes submissions from new directors.
8. The Longwood Players
Whether you’re new to the theater or you’re an old pro, The Longwood Players has a place for you. This friendly community theater group welcomes new actors, singers, and volunteers to come out for every show. With 2-5 shows per season, you’ll have plenty of chances to get involved. Past seasons have included productions such as The Pirates of Penzance, Next to Normal, and A Bright Room Called Day.
9. Quannapowitt Players
If you live near the North Shore of Boston, check out the Quannapowitt Players. Each year, the board selects four different plays; recent seasons featured titles such as The Porch, Terra Nova, Clybourne Park, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Most plays are small, since the performance space is set in a repurposed schoolhouse from 1853. In addition to regular productions, the Quannapowitt Players host occasional social gatherings and events.
10. The Burlington Players
If you’re searching for a Boston community theater that’s dedicated to equality and social justice, The Burlington Players is a great option. This welcoming and inclusive group takes pride in its members and its community. Most years, the theater hosts one musical and three plays. You can get involved by auditioning, volunteering backstage, or joining the Play Reading Committee.
11. Cohasset Dramatic Club
Each year, the Cohasset Dramatic Club puts on two major productions on Boston’s South Shore: a big spring musical and a small play or musical in the fall. Recent seasons have included Love Letters, The Music Man, and Company. Summers are dedicated to youth theater — the group hosts workshops in musical theater as well as a youth musical. The club hosts all of its productions in its own small theater.
12. Needham Community Theatre
Located on the southwestern outskirts of Boston, the Needham Community Theatre always welcomes new members. It usually holds auditions for one musical and one play each year. You can get a feel for this theater group on its YouTube channel. Past productions include Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, and Our Town.
13. Belmont Dramatic Club
The Belmont Dramatic Club offers two productions each year. The fall show is the biggest; usually, it’s a large-scale musical such as The Sound of Music or a play like Much Ado About Nothing. The smaller spring show is a chance to get involved in plays like The 39 Steps or Prelude to a Kiss.
Did we miss any of your favorite Boston community theaters? Let us know and we’ll add them to the list!
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