Volunteering at RRTC
Volunteering in community theatre is exciting and rewarding. There are so many tasks to be done at so many skill levels, and they all come together into the magic of the show. The cast and crew form a tight knit community as we work hard and play hard together. Volunteering drives community theatre. Without volunteers, small theatre companies could not possibly afford to put on a show.
Already a member? Visit the Member Information Page for additional information about Rural Root.
This document describes the key tasks that have to be accomplished in putting on a play in the Rural Root Theatre. This task list is not exhaustive, but should help to get volunteers started. If you are interested in volunteering and available but want to do something that is not listed here, talk to us anyway. You might be just what we are looking for!
Acting experience is not a requirement, but actors are expected to commit to learning their lines and rehearsing at times and places at the discretion of the Director. Delivering the right lines at the right time needs practice, and prompters are available to help at rehearsals up until fairly close to performance day.
Rehearsals typically run for 2 to 3 months with increasing frequency closer to the production. All actors are required for the Cue to Cue rehearsal (typically on the Sunday before opening night, from noon till 10:00pm); dress rehearsal (typically the Monday before); and every preview and performance (typically Wednesday through Saturday, possibly with a matinee on Saturday or Sunday). The initial rehearsal schedule will usually be available at the audition.
The Director has artistic control over a performance, co-coordinating all the stylistic and conceptual aspects of a theatrical presentation. Directors are responsible for interpreting and delivering a text and enabling a production team and cast to work imaginatively under their artistic vision.
Directors have extensive experience in most aspects of theatre. They must be mature and able to work effectively with people.
Beginners may apply to be Assistant Directors to learn more about the process. The time commitment for an assistant director is negotiable between the director and the assistant.
The Producer is the centre of information for everyone involved in the project. The producer is responsible for the organizing and management of finances of a particular production, and reports to the Board of Directors of the company. The producer helps find other volunteers for those jobs not covered, coordinates production meetings, facilitates communication between departments, and keeps up to date on all developments from first inception to final wrap-up of the theatre project. Ultimately, it is the producer’s job to ensure that everyone has a clear job description and is able to do their job effectively and with pleasure.
Producers typically have experience in theatre and/or in management. If you are interested in volunteering for the producer role, take a look at this article from Theatre Ontario.
Stage management is about organizing and managing the people; schedules; facility; and everything else needed to make rehearsals and performances go smoothly. The role is rather like that of a conductor of an orchestra. It is the stage manager that glues all the pieces together and makes sure there are no gaps. Everyone else has a specific task but the stage manager needs to see things from a broader perspective and make sure everything works from end to end.
The Stage Manager attends most rehearsals and all performances. He or she works closely with, and supports, the director during the rehearsals, and is overall manager during performances. The stage manager is the “go to” person for actors and crew. They tell the SM what they need and what is missing and the SM makes sure the resources are put in place.
The Stage Manager is typically supported by Assistant Stage Managers who help with prompting, and with getting actors and props on and off stage at the right times.
Beginners are encouraged to work as assistant stage managers. Assistant stage managers are required at every performance and every technical rehearsal. They typically attend about half of the regular rehearsals as well.
For further insight into Stage Management, take a look at this training course developed for Rural Root.
Lighting is about making the acting visible; about directing the audience’s attention towards and away from things on the stage; and about setting the mood for each scene. Deciding on the position, intensity, and coloring of the lights for each scene is Lighting Design. During performances the stage manager cues the Lighting Operator as he or she uses computers or specialized dimmer boards to set the light levels for each scene.
The lighting department is also responsible for backstage lighting and remotely operated special effects. For some reason water effects are also under Lighting (fortunately we have not needed any water effects yet!).
Lighting design requires knowledge of theatre lighting equipment, a good eye and a creative bent. Beginners are encouraged to assist the lighting designer, and to work as lighting operators. The lighting operator is required at every technical rehearsal and performance. In addition the lighting department is likely to spend several evenings hanging the lights and experimenting with colors and focusing. Volunteering in this area is fun and technically challenging. If that’s your forté, then lighting is for you.
Sound is about mood; about suggesting offstage events (e.g. thunder; doorbells); and producing the sounds from devices onstage like telephones and radios.
Sound designers must identify and record the necessary sounds, or find them on the internet. Under the direction of the stage manager, the Sound Operator will play the sounds from a computer or other device, and operate amplifiers and mixers to present the sound from the appropriate locations and at the appropriate times.
Sound designers require knowledge of audio mixers and so on, and a creative bent. Experience in theatre is not pre-requisite. Beginners are encouraged to assist the sound designer, and/or to operate the sound during performances.
Wardrobe is about dressing the actors in clothing which communicates the historical time; the character of the actors; and the mood of the scene and the set. A Wardrobe manager and/or Costume Designer supervises the borrowing, making, buying, renting and maintenance of costumes, accessories and wigs, and controls the budget for all these items. He/she may be called on to create special effects with the clothing, e.g. blood stains. The same person or an assistant also typically serves as Dresser during the production – assisting the actors to get changed as appropriate, and not lose their costumes in the flurry.
Beginners are welcome. The dresser needs to be present at all performances and at all technical and dress rehearsals.
Under theatre lights normal makeup tends to look deathly pale, and flat and featureless. Good makeup will restore a healthy color to the skin, and give depth to the features.
The Makeup Artist is responsible for ensuring that we have the proper makeup for the cast, and that they know how to use it. The Makeup Artist usually implements special makeup effects (such as age or ghosts), while helping teach cast members how to do their own basic makeup.
Beginners are most welcome to assist and to learn from those with more experience. The time commitment is for one or two technical rehearsals (the fist time the actors are properly lit), and at the start of each performance.
The Green Room is a safe haven for the actors to wait prior to going on. Green Room Manager(s) typically arrange for drinks and snacks to be available, and generally create a peaceful and supportive atmosphere – particularly at all technical and dress rehearsals, and when the show is running
Beginners are welcome. No theatre experience necessary!
Front of House
The first people the audience sees when they enter a theatre are the Front of House staff, who are responsible for all activities in the auditorium (house), the lobbies and grounds of the theatre. The Front of House staff usher, sell tickets, and generally assist the patrons. Front of house staff are also sometimes asked to assist during the production in small ways like turning off the house lights, and dealing with props which are on the audience side of the stage.
Beginners are welcome. The time commitment is only at performances, and often there are sufficient folks that individuals do not have to work every night.
Advance tickets are reserved over the phone, and then tickets are bought and paid for at the theatre. In addition tickets are sometimes sold or donated in other ways. The Box Office Manager is tasked with making this all happen, keeping track of how many tickets are sold for each night, and getting the money to the producer.
The Box office manager is also responsible to ensure that tickets are printed for each night. Typically we do this printing ourselves.
Volunteers with appropriate experience and time are welcome to assist or to take the job.
Without publicity we’d have no auditions and no show. The Publicity Manager or committee are tasked with getting the word out as far and as cheaply as possible for both of those events.
Any and all assistants are welcome. The time commitment is flexible, based on the number of people helping and their agreed-upon tasks.
The publicity department will also need to design and print posters advertising the show as necessary. The same designs may be used for newspaper announcements. If marketing is something you like, volunteering for publicity is for you!
For each production a program will need to be created and printed. The program will provide details of the play and the actors and director, and list all the crew involved. Creating it involves quite a lot of work tracking down all the names of everyone involved; as well as the write-ups of all the actors.
Volunteers with appropriate experience are welcome.
At each show there are displays of posters and photos from the current and from previous shows. Volunteering in this area will bring out your inner scrapbooker.
The Set Designer designs the set(s) for the play to meet the Director’s artistic vision. The Carpenters / Set builders are responsible for getting the set built. Set Dressers “dress” the set with draperies, cushions, art work, wall hangings, lamps, and anything else that will establish a certain atmosphere on the set, an “interior decorator” so to speak. This may involve painting the set walls – the producer can usually find helpers to assist. Furnishers are also needed to get hold of appropriate furniture according to the needs of the play, and in consultation with the director and set designer.
The time commitment is usually for a few evenings and week-ends prior to the running of the show, and immediately after the show for teardown (dismantling). Of course all this must be done at times when the stage is not being used for rehearsals and other CBBCA events.
Volunteers with appropriate skills are welcome.
Props are all the items that actors will pick up and handle during a performance, such as newspapers, drinks and purses. The challenge is to beg; borrow; or otherwise acquire all the bits and pieces needed throughout the play. Volunteering as the props person, you are responsible for having all the necessary items on stage at the beginning of each scene and for removing unwanted items at the end of each scene; he/she makes sure that all the appropriate props are ready to hand to the actors as they go on stage. In all these tasks the assistant stage managers help out if there is more involved than can be handled by one person.
Beginers are welcome. You will get plenty of support from the producer, and ASMs and so on.
Board of Directors
The board is a decision making and supervisory group of volunteers responsible for the continuity of the theatre group in the long term. The board is a elected from the membership for two year terms.
In addition to the board, there are several other people who volunteer their time on a regular and ongoing basis, and without whom the company could not continue to exist. If you are interested in helping out, please talk to one of the existing members.
Volunteering in General
Contact us by filling out the form on the right. Every show is different, and we may just have some right up your alley. It’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Come on out!
Contact the Board
Donate to Rural Root
Do you enjoy our shows? Donations help offset production costs, and help us bring even better shows to you.