View Full Version : Community Theatre Question

03-02-2006, 09:40 PM
Part of my novel is about a play at a community theatre. In your experience, how long is a typical community theatre rehearsal schedule? If you began rehearsal in September, for example, about when would you expect to put on the play? Six weeks later? Shorter? Longer? Right into spring?

Thanks for any help.

Christine N.
03-02-2006, 09:44 PM
Depends on what you're doing... straight play, probably four to six weeks. Musicals, three to four months is closer to the truth. Also depends on how often they rehearse - remember, comm. theatre people usually have day jobs, family, etc.. so they may not rehearse every night. So if they only rehearse three nights a week, maybe 8 weeks.

It's been a long time since I've been in comm. theatre, but I remember auditioning for musicals in Jan, and performing in March/April. Same with HS - auditions in Nov., start rehearsals in Jan, performance in March. But we rehearsed EVERY day, and toward opening night it was all night every night. Heavy duty.

03-03-2006, 03:12 AM
Hmm...I remember auditioning for one in June or July, and the play was at the end of October. This was a straight play. Rehearsals were about 2-3 times a week at first, and then every weeknight in the last few weeks before the performance. Musicals had about the same length of rehearsal time, 3-4 months, but we rehearsed more days a week. Some days we just did dancing, some days just singing, and then usually a day of blocking and putting it all together.

Stephen DeBock
05-09-2006, 06:43 AM
I was a make-up artist for 7 years with community musical theater. Each rehearsal period was about six weeks, following auditions and casting. We met three nights a week until the final (tech) week, when it all was supposed to come together. Then it was every night. The orchestra, however, didn't come in until Thursday, dress rehearsal night. They were union, and had to be paid. Unfortunately, there's a difference between piano accompaniment and full orchestra, and some of the dancers had difficulty at times. Dress rehearsals were uniformly awful, and I always wondered how the cast and crew would pull it together for opening night. Somehow, though, they always did. At the beginning of rehearsals, dancers would sometimes be called into the studio on weekends to get their choreography down.

05-12-2006, 08:11 AM
I direct shows and work in two areas community theatres. Six weeks is usually the time frame for straight plays, 3-4 evenings a week. Musicals are usually take 8-10 weeks of rehearsals.

05-12-2006, 08:33 AM
I'd agree with Queen B - a month to six weeks unless it is a musical, and 3 or 4 evenings a week, plus weekends. Directors usually have the play in their hand at least two months before rehearsals start, so they can put out casting calls, and start rounding up light, sound, and set crew.

05-12-2006, 09:58 PM
I have been a freelance community theatre director for almost 20 years now. With few exceptions, community theatres rehearse non-musical productions for 4-5 weeks and musicals for 6-8 weeks rehearsing 4 nights a week. I have rehearsed a musical in only 5 weeks rehearsing 5 nights a week, but that is a rarity anymore due to people's job and family commitments. There are a few community theatres that will rehearse once a week for 3 or 4 months, but that is also highly unusual.

The average community theatre production run is 6 performances (Fri - Sun for two weekends). The shortest run I've ever directed was 3 performances over one weekend and the longest was 15 performances over 4 weekends (Thurs performances and a couple of Wed performances). Both are unusual.

Most community theatre performers, directors, choregraphers, designers, etc. are very serious about what they do. They approach it with the same intensity that most hobbyists approach other hobbies with, sometimes to obsession, and many are as talented, or more talented, than their full-time professional counterparts. The majority of directors, choreographers, music directors and designers that I have worked with have college degrees in theatre and have day-jobs in theatre or theatre-related industries (Art, TV, Film, Drama Education, etc.). More than half the performers I've worked with have at least some professional training in acting and half of those are preparing for a professional career in acting.

I hope you take these things into consideration when you are writing about your community theatre. Community theatres are by no means amateurish as the Simon Cowell's of the world would like to continue to believe. Most community theatres have at least a part-time professional staff or at the very least a professional theatre practitioner or educator on their board of directors. They all strive for excellence in what they do and most achieve it.

Cat Scratch
05-12-2006, 10:19 PM
I guess it varies by region. My experience is 2-3 months for musicals, but the runs are around 20-25 performances over 4-5 weekends. This is true in all 3 states I've lived in. Having less than 4 weekends of performances is rare in my experience.