Nearly every week someone tells us that that have ‘always wanted to get into community theatre’.

‘How do I get started?’ they ask. ‘What do I have to do?’

Those who leap from dream to reality soon learn that community theatre is more than ‘a little hobby’ – it’s a way of life that involves a lot of time, hard work and compromise. And it takes a bit of getting used to.

But … it’s also incredibly rewarding as you learn new skills, boost your confidence, meet new people, and put yourself under the spotlight. And for some, this way of life is addictive, with performers moving from show to show, theatre company to theatre company.

We asked people who’ve been part of community theatre for a while for some hints and advice for those who are about to take their first steps on stage:


“Before auditioning look at the dates for rehearsals and show dates. Make sure you can commit to that before you waste your time, and the director’s, at auditions.” – Em Rose

“Everyone is is nervous at auditions. It’s OK to be honest about it. Don’t overthink. Don’t let anyone psych you out. Believe in yourself and be open if the director asks you to try something else.” – Sue Hasey

“Know your stuff! Be as prepared as you can be, get plenty of sleep the night before, know how its going to work (do you have a timeslot, or is it open?), be prepared to sit around a lot – clear your day! Try to relax, and remember, it’s not personal!” – Shelley Whiteaker

“Double check & ask if you’re getting paid so you can see if you can afford the costs associated with the duration of the production (i.e transportation costs, taking time off work if you work & time away from family if you have kids, partner & pets).” – Nontuthuzelo Mqwati

“Only commit if you are able to commit (financially, emotionally, time wise). Being cast in the chorus is an honour.” – Princess Nicole


“Don’t be a diva. Things change last minute. Just get on with it. Just do it.” – Tate Bennett

“Make sure you can really commit to the schedule, and make it a priority. Again, get lots of sleep when you can, don’t go out partying before a full-day rehearsal, eat well, take snacks, and water! And be prepared to work at home as well, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. A great director once said to me, ‘Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you NEVER GET IT WRONG.’” – Shelley Whiteaker

The whole process is sometimes hard, so be harder.” –  Thomas Hennessy

“Never miss rehearsal.” – Sue Hasey

“Pull your weight. Offer to help.” – Princess Nicole

“Don’t talk back to the techs. They know more than you do, work harder than you do and don’t get to bow at the end.” – TRICK COLE

“The techs are the gods who allow your to be seen and heard … treat them as such.” – Princess Nicole

“Tech week is long. Water is your friend.” – Sue Hasey

“It’s not called Hell Week for nothing! Again, be prepared for long nights, bring food (not too much junk!), get sleep when you can, clear your schedule if possible – if you can take time off work or study, do it!! And above all, LISTEN TO YOUR TECH GUYS! They deserve your respect.” – Shelley Whiteaker


“When the time comes, give yourself over to the stage completely.” – Thomas Hennessy

“The audience wants to be swept up. They are the most important people in the room. On opening night just remember: your lines are the same … the stage is the same … the only thing that’s different is that people are eager to hear your story and escape for a while.” – Sue Hasey

“When things go wrong – this is when all those rehearsals pay off – know what other people are meant to be doing! Then if they forget a line, or something goes wrong, you can pick it up … and NEVER go backwards! Keep moving forward. And NEVER let the audience know there was a mistake!” – Shelley Whiteaker

“If things go wrong … own it. Improvise and try to save your fellow actors.” – Sue Hasey


“It’s meant to be fun. Relax and be dedicated ” – Sue Hasey

“Theatre is meant to be fun even though full on and sometimes stressful.” – Em Rose

“Laugh.”  – Thomas Hennessy

“Above all – HAVE FUN! It’s why we do it after all! You will meet some great people, and have an awesome time!” – Shelley Whiteaker

“Be nice. Have fun.” – Princess Nicole

Of course, there’s a lot more involved with community theatre than being on stage – you can work backstage, help with set production, stage manage and so much more. You might have existing skills to offer, or you might want to learn something new. So the last word goes to Alex, our own tech:

“Find your local community theatre on Google and send them a message about volunteering and opportunities, and they will be more than happy to talk to you. Community theatres are always looking for people.”


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