Community Theaters Offers Fresh Oppurtunities for Aspiring ActorsWednesday, April 15, 2009 By Christian Bufford (Staff Writer)
Many students at Northwest work in community theater houses throughout the school year and all during the summer. In their endeavors they encounter different learning styles and develop life skills that will help them succeed in the arts community. Northwest has a charge to prepare today’s artists and shape them into the artists of tomorrow. It is common for actors to find themselves building a set or stringing together a costume, but many actors at Northwest find it done better elsewhere. Although Northwest provides innumerable opportunities to perform and create, community theatre offers many real life experiences that increase the chances of our artists to grow and excel in their futures. Many students find shows in the community fulfilling compared to the hum-drum life of doing shows with the same ensemble backing up the same principals. As artists of life, our students are seeking diversity and possibilities in everything they do. One such thespian has succumbed to the delights of community theater. Grace Kidd, a seasoned participant of Concord’s Old Court House Theatre, has taken Northwest’s charge into her own hands. She described her community theater experiences as “refreshing” and having a “family-like atmosphere,” and never misses a chance to audition for shows outside of Northwest boundaries. She expressed her discontent saying “Because space is so small, a tension between performers is always an issue.” Northwest, being small in number, can be a very competitive and scrutinizing atmosphere. Students may find themselves as rivals rather than colleagues. This can result in students being afraid to artistically explore and find their creative niches. In a school where collaboration is the key, communication and relationships are imperative. Venturing out into the community for theater prepares students to relate with new people and new resources. Because Northwest is a public school, funding is also always a hovering issue. In community theaters, there is a substantial budget that enables them to produce shows of a higher quality than that of the Northwest Theatre Department. Students can get a real sense of what it is like to work with real elements: set pieces, drops and light effects. Along with larger budgets and new people, Northwest students experience new direction. At Northwest the Drama teachers are revered by their students and the students have become accustomed to their teaching styles. New directors with new visions and tactics have the potential to expand students’ minds to new ideas and new interpretation. In the field of theatrics, the understanding is that you are cast by and with complete strangers. Casting directors don’t know the legacy and traditions of Northwest, so a resume full of ‘the music revue’ does virtually nothing for the aspiring actor. There is no harm in weighing your options when your future is in question. If you’re eager for a change of pace, flip through the T section of your phonebook and call up a theatre for the creative lesson of a lifetime.