A few weeks ago I attended a free and open-to-the public backstage tour of Bellingham Theatre Guild's playhouse, and even though I'd been backstage and have seen dozens of plays at the guild, I learned a lot about the history of the building and the people involved in the all-volunteer group.
And I got to see Hilary Swank's autograph on the theater's backstage wall!
Led by Carol Osier and Pat Lund, who have long been involved in the guild, I was reminded that the community is essential to the continuation of productions in what is truly "community theater."
Are you a carpenter? Skilled at sewing? Know something about fundraising? Can you hold a paintbrush?
Even if you "can't sing and dance at the same time," as actor Robert Muzzy joked, you are needed in community theater. And if you usher, you get to see the plays for free.
Volunteers are always welcome at the community theater groups in our county. Here's what they have planned for their coming seasons.
BELLINGHAM THEATRE GUILD
Bellingham Theatre Guild celebrates its 85th season in 2013-2014, and the playbill has just been announced.
Auditions for the first play, "Prisoner of Second Avenue," are at 7 p.m. July 28 and 29 at the guild playhouse, 1600 H St. The play calls for two men and four women ages 35 to 60.
None of the shows are pre-cast, although sometimes directors may have actors in mind for some roles, says Pat Lund.
Martha Benedict, who is co-directing the "Musical Birthday Bash Revue" in January, told me she is busy going through decades of plays from which songs from selected shows will be performed.
Every other year, The Bellingham One-Act Theatre Festival is staged, which includes many plays that are original works being staged for the first time.
The next date for a "Behind the Curtain" tour is 10 a.m. Aug. 17. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are also new volunteer orientations at 6 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month, says guild board president John Purdie.
The guild's playbill:
- "Prisoner of Second Avenue," directed by Alan Peet. Sept. 27-Oct. 13.
- "Inspecting Carol," directed by Dennis Catrell. Nov. 29-Dec. 15.
- "Musical Birthday Bash Revue: Celebrating our 85th Season and 110th Birthday of our Theatre," directed by Kathryn Murray and Martha Benedict. Jan. 24-Feb. 2.
- Bellingham One-Act Theatre Festival, presented by Sean Walbeck. Feb. 17-March 1.
- "Women of Lockerbie," directed by Shawn Fuller. April 11-27.
- "A Chorus Line," directed by Julie Zavala-Marantette. June 13-29.
Details: 360-733-1811, email@example.com, bellinghamtheatreguild.com.
LYNDEN PERFORMING ARTS GUILD
You can see performers involved in Lynden Performing Arts Guild this weekend in the Sizzling Summer Spectacular during Lynden's Raspberry Festival. Shows are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 19-20, at Claire vg Thomas Theatre, in Dutch Village Mall, 655 Front St.
The guild recently announced its 2013-2014 season, which features two Saturday matinees for each show.
Lynden, too, is always seeking volunteers to help with productions. House manager coordinator Beth Vonnegut plans an opportunity for prospective ushers and house managers in September.
- "Some Enchanted Evening: A Collection of Rodgers and Hammerstein Compositions," dedicated to the memory of Claire vg Thomas, a longtime arts supporter in Lynden and directed by Celeste Larson. Sept. 26-Oct. 13. Auditions are 7 p.m. Aug. 5-6.
- "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," directed by Susan Duncan. Nov. 29-Dec. 15. Auditions are 7 p.m. Oct. 7-8.
- "Bingo: The Award Winning Musical," directed by Laura Nelson. Feb. 27-March 16. Auditions are 7 p.m. Dec. 9-10.
- "The Mouse That Roared," directed by John Gonzales. May 1-18. Auditions are 7 p.m. March 3-4.
Details: clairevgtheatre.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-354-4425.
iDiOM Theater, known for its productions of locally written plays and fringe-theater productions, is holding season auditions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 at the theater, 1418 Cornwall Ave. Directors and producers from the local theater community are invited to attend the auditions as auditors.
In addition, theater staff will be compiling a database of actors with photos and basic résumé information that will be available to interested directors and producers.
Actors at the season auditions will perform two contrasting monologues and have the option of singing sixteen bars a cappella. The first time slots will be available for any auditors who would also like to audition.
- "Music Box 5." Sept. 12-21.
- "48-Hour Theater Festival #37." Sept. 27-28.
- "Bursting into Flames," performed by Martin Dockery, and "The Pit," performed by Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesnelle. Oct. 3-5.
- Quickshot Film Festival. Oct. 10-12.
- "No Exit." Oct. 24-Nov. 2.
- "Serial Killers." Nov. 8-Dec. 14.
- "Lasso the Moon," performed by Solomon Olmstead. Dec. 19-21.
- "The Man Who Was Thursday." Jan. 9-25.
- "i." Jan. 30-Feb. 8.
- "The Illusion." Feb. 20-March 1.
- "Sketchopedia," written and performed by Krissa Woiwod and Kimberly Ross. March 6-15.
- "Red Carpet." March 27-April 5.
- Play title to be announced by writer and director Ben Eisner. April 17-26.
- "The Acheron." May 9-June 7.
- "48-Hour Theater Festival #38." June 13-14.
Details: idiomtheater.com, email@example.com, 360-201-5464.