How to Get Involved in Community Theater

Community theater actors posing on stage

Community theater is a wonderful way to experience the magic of live performance. (It really is magic.) These groups are run almost entirely by volunteers, which is what makes this type of theater so special; it’s a genuine labor of love. Behind the scenes of every play or musical, there’s a huge group of people working to make it happen. That’s why it’s so easy to get involved in community theater — local groups are always in need of new people!

Here at Theater Love, we believe so strongly in the power of community theater. It’s a place where everyone belongs. A place where everyone is working together for one reason: to bring joy to audiences. What’s better than that?

Whether you want to be on stage or work behind the scenes, we hope these steps can help you become a part of your local community theater.

Top image courtesy of Fabrice Florin under CC BY-SA 2.0 (edited for color)

How to Find Local Theater Groups 

We know — this seems obvious. But once you start searching, you’ll find out pretty quickly that community theater groups are not always the best at…well, the internet. They often have websites, but not always. And even if they do, the site might not show up in a Google search.

So. If you come across a local theater with a website that hasn’t been updated since 2009, don’t worry! It doesn’t mean they’re out of business (though it doesn’t not mean that, either).

Here’s how to find a community theater near you:

  1. Google “community theater near me” or “local theaters near me”
  2. Put “community theater” into Google Maps
  3. When you find a theater, go to its website and look for an Auditions page; this information might also be hidden under Get Involved, Contact, Volunteer, Join Us, or Work With Us. If you’re lucky, it’ll be up to date! If not, continue to step 4.
  4. Find the theater on Facebook. Community theaters are big on Facebook because it’s free, and you can create shareable events for auditions and performances. Just search the name, adding the name of your city if necessary. (You probably won’t need to; Facebook knows where you are.)
  5. Scan through the group’s Facebook posts to find other local theaters — often, local community theaters share each other’s posts.
  6. Look at the “Related Pages” section in the right sidebar of Facebook to find more nearby theaters.

Get Notified About Local Community Theater Auditions and Events

Most community theaters put on 2-5 plays and musicals every year. Can’t find a production in the next few weeks? Make sure you’re notified of the next event.

Sign up for the Theater’s Newsletter

If you can find a newsletter signup box on the website, enter your email. Well-organized community theaters often have special email lists for auditions and volunteering opportunities — you’ll probably find the signup form on the Auditions or Get Involved page.

Find Upcoming Auditions on Facebook

Click the Events tab on the community theater’s Facebook page and look at the upcoming events. If you can’t find any, scroll down through the Past Events listings. If you see old audition events, it’s a good sign that the theater will post future auditions. Follow the page and add it to your Favorites to make sure you get a notification.

Contact the Community Theater

If you can’t find information about auditions on the website or Facebook, get in touch with the theater group. To find an email address, check the Contact page on the theater’s website or the About tab on Facebook. No luck? Look for a webpage about the Board of Directors, and send an email to the president or anyone whose email address you can find. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Facebook is also an easy way to get in touch. Send a message or comment on a recent post. This works best if the theater updates their Facebook page regularly; it usually means that someone from the group is monitoring the page, so they’re more likely to see your message.

Audition for a Community Theater’s Play or Musical

If you’re interested in being on stage, it’s time to sign up for an audition! Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience — everyone is welcome. All ages. All skill levels. Plus, community theaters are always looking for new people, so they’ll be delighted to meet you!

Worried about your singing voice? Go to the audition anyway, even if it’s for a musical. Trust us — in every community theater musical, there’s at least one person who can’t hold a tune. Everyone is there because they love it, not because they’re the next Kristin Chenoweth.

Need help? Find out How to Audition for a Musical When You Can’t Sing.

Note: read the audition announcement carefully. Follow the instructions! Be on time! Those two things will get you off to a good start with the director and the production team.

Get ideas for what to wear or how to nail the audition.

Get Involved in Community Theater by Volunteering

Volunteering is one of the easiest ways to get involved with a community theater. Donating your time is a great way to build relationships and get a feel for the group. If you have a specific skill, like construction or sewing, great! If you don’t, volunteer anyway — lots of theater jobs just require your time.

Some things you can do:

  • Building sets
  • Painting sets
  • Managing props
  • Sewing or mending costumes
  • Backstage crew
  • Hairstyles and stage makeup
  • Stage managing
  • Loading props, costumes, and sets into the theater
  • Working with sound and lighting
  • Publicity and community theater marketing
  • Designing programs and posters
  • Taking photos at rehearsals and dress rehearsals
  • Assisting the director
  • Hanging up posters
  • Cleaning and organizing
  • Helping out at fundraisers
  • Filing paperwork

If you’re volunteering, it’s important to be reliable. The theater world is filled with flaky creative types; when you do what you say you’ll do, we promise that people will notice. You’ll be an insider in no time!

Play in a Community Theater Orchestra

If you’re an instrumentalist, you can get involved in community theater by playing in the orchestra. These auditions are often held separately. Depending on where you live, the conductor might simply create an orchestra by word of mouth. Regardless, the best way to find out about musical theater orchestra auditions is to contact the group by Facebook or email — they’ll connect you to the conductor or musical director.

Do you have any questions? We love community theater, and we want you to share that joy and accomplishment, too! Fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.