Community theatre positively impacts neighborhoods to major metropolitan areas across the United States unlike any other arts and culture genre. It requires the creativity of dedicated volunteers – ticket takers to actors, designers to directors – to produce high quality live shows that entertain audiences, leave a lasting impression and provoke important societal conversations. For 92 years, The Players Centre for Performing Arts has championed community theatre in Sarasota, allowing the community to participate in the performing arts as a patron, participant or student.
Our reach will soon broaden upon The Players Centre’s move to Lakewood Ranch’s Waterside Place when construction of a new, permanent performing arts home is completed in 2025. The two-stage, multi-use facility will help us impact more than 60,000 people annually on the Suncoast – but we still need your help to achieve our latest production.
Community theatre changes lives in Southwest Florida and your generous donation toward our ongoing Center Stage Capital Campaign helps The Players Centre solidify our pledge to bring the arts to a wider audience. Here are five ways this vital genre fosters creativity, grows economies, strengthens families and more.
Empowerment for all
Community theatre provides everyone with the opportunity to express themselves on a judgement-free stage. That’s not just a chance afforded to people auditioning for shows. It extends to lighting designers, directors, costume designers, choreographers and more. Volunteer opportunities are available at The Players Centre throughout our ongoing 92nd season, and there’s a place for everyone!
Productions are the path toward freedom of expression. Harnessing inner creativity helps us learn about ourselves, build personal confidence, take risks and be an advocate for an array of differing voices within our communities.
Promoting education and creativity
Productions are the perfect educational incubator, since teamwork is a key component for every act performed onstage. It’s an environment in which children can learn how to interact with their peers, explore creativity and achieve a common goal. This is a vital experience that helps fill an expanding educational gap since Florida’s arts budget has been shrinking by the year, according to a 2018 story published by the Tampa Bay Times.
A 2019 report from the National Endowment for the Arts also cited one study that suggested children engaged in a three-year performing arts program exhibited a more optimistic outlook toward their futures including planning for college.
A spark for social change
High quality live theatre offers a unique vantage point for audiences, allowing people to be fully immersed in the life story of the characters they’re watching. These performances include emotional situations and cultural issues that open the door for important discussions about society.
Community theatre can open the door to understanding relevant issues affecting society and motivate people to champion change.
Joining a ‘family’
Theatre is a shared experience between audiences and cast members, whether you’re heavily involved behind the curtain or in front of the crowd.
For the cast, community theatre is a support system. Mike Phelan, a volunteer actor and generous donor with The Players Centre, even called it a “family” in our September blog post. The bonds formed volunteering at The Players Centre last a lifetime.
Evolving – and entertaining
You’ll never see the same performance twice. It’s authentic and different every night. Cast members undergo a unique experience during each show – and that creates entertaining, unduplicatable moments for the audience.
Live theatre leaves lasting impressions on everyone, which is why its preservation remains important for growth within communities nationwide!