The Brazos Valley may be far from Broadway, but it’s home to an abundance of theatrical talent showcased in a variety of local theater companies, and each group offers a different focus and mission. While supporting the local arts community by attending these productions is certainly encouraged, many people don’t realize how easy it is to get involved with a theatre group or how welcoming these groups are to new volunteers.
Intimidated? Think you lack drama skills? Fear not, for all skills can be taught by accommodating fellow volunteers who represent a wide range of experience in a myriad of specialties. Participation is extremely flexible; though you may be a director for one production, you could be in charge of concessions or costuming for the next. Leadership roles are typically rotated among volunteers, and all the theater groups express openness to those seeking involvement and gratitude to the businesses or organizations willing to sponsor productions.
The litany of ways to get involved is as long and creative as a show tune’s lyrics: acting, directing, stage managing, crew, backstage, set building, light/sound, painting, shopping, donating props, costuming, hair, makeup, concessions, box office, greeting, event planning for special events, waiting tables for dinner theater, marketing, publicity, website maintenance, fundraising and grant writing.
Still not ready to raise the curtain on your future theatrical career? Cue the lights and keep reading. – by Caroline Ward
The Theatre Company
Tejas Center, 725 E. Villa Maria Rd., Bryan, Texas 77802
Phone: 979.779.1302 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When the house lights go down and the stage lights go up at The Theatre Company in Bryan, the audience in the 230-seat auditorium is primed for memorable performance. In a given season, more than 12,000 people will bear witness to the local talent Bryan/College Station has to offer. Concessions – for the low price of $1 – are available at intermission and there is a Will Call window in the lobby for those who order tickets in advance.
“Here it’s very, very professional,” says Mark Taylor, immediate past president of The Theatre Company. “We have really, really good soloists and great actors. It’s a really professional offering. I think people would be blown away if they come and see the amount of local talent. Letting our own talented people plug in and hone their own skill and do what they’re good at is just a huge asset to our community. I like to see how it’s done professionally, and then we try to emulate that on a much lower budget.”
The Theatre Company of Bryan/College Station is run by hundreds of volunteers, all attempting to emulate the same theatricality of professional theater companies, says Taylor. In the history of the company, which opened its doors in 1988, experience and age of those involved vary greatly, ranging from four years old to 84 years old. This local theater welcomes anyone with the skills or talent needed to assist in producing a theatrical production, says Taylor.
Performing musicals six times a year, most of the pieces selected are Tony award winning Broadway musicals, where audience members can expect to see a live orchestra, concessions and professional playbills. Taylor says that an alternative to traveling to the bigger cities and paying hundreds of dollars for professional theater company’s musicals is to embark on a journey with The Theatre Company at no more than $20 a ticket. Even though they are not a professional theater company, Taylor says they do their best to create the same quality. New for the 2011-12 season, the Theatre Company will be offering student pricing for tickets.
The production company runs primarily through the assistance of volunteers, with the exceptions of one part-time worker and a live orchestra for each musical. Those involved value the musical means of expression and the professional presentations are a cultural draw for tourists from all over the state, says Taylor. The theater serves as an outlet for local talent, as well as an educational tool to develop skills.
Ticket prices for the 2011-2012 season, the 24th season of The Theatre Company, will be $20 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under and $15 for seniors (55+). Season tickets offer price discounts and priority seating.
The Theatre Company 2011-2012 Season
The Sound of Music
Auditions: September 4-5, 7 p.m.
Performances: Weekends October 7-23
New Monster Bash Fundraiser
Performance: The Rocky Horror Show
October 28-30 at 7p.m.
Meet Me in St. Louis
Auditions: November 6-7 at 7 p.m.
Performances: Weekends December 9-18
2012 Fund Raising Show
Two By Two, January 20-22
The Drowsy Chaperone
Auditions: January 29-30 at 7 p.m.
Performances: Weekends March 2-11
Auditions: March 18-19 at 7 p.m.
Performances: Weekends April 20-May 6
Auditions: May 14-15 at 7 p.m.
Performances: Weekends June 15-24
Kids Workshop Summer Day Camp
June 25-June 19
Annual Preview Party
July 15 at 6:30 p.m.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Auditions: July 8-9 at 7 p.m.
Performances: Weekends August 10-15
Brazos Valley TROUPE
Town & Country Center, 3705 E. 29th St., Bryan
A drama program for youth, Brazos Valley TROUPE (BVT) allows young people to become involved in a creative outlet focused on entertainment through a variety of theater productions. TROUPE, which stands for Texas Repertory Of Unique Performing Arts and Entertainment, teaches cooperation, patience, focus, listening and respect through theater.
Participants of the program range in age from 5- to 18-years-old, and are allowed to plug into a creative outlet where they can express themselves. This unique theater company produces an average of 15 entertaining and family friendly shows per season offering a wide variety of productions that appeal to different audiences. This 17-year-old community theater group did not start out as a youth program, but it has evolved into a program with a focus on youth.
The group creates an opportunity for parents and children to take part in an activity together. Many parents volunteer to help with the productions, but the children take charge in each aspect of theater preparation. Though parents are of great assistance, the TROUPErs are the primary workers: they are taught to become actors, singers, costumers, hair and makeup artists, prop coordinators, light and sound technicians, set builders and more. Bria Jackson, a member of the BVT board of directors, says the young thespians seldom disappoint. Classes are offered for youth in the program to improve their skills or create new ones. BVT offers an acting class, which is separated into three age groups, a singing and dancing class, an improv class, a Glee Club, a class that teaches about theater production, a traveling club and a club designed specifically for community service.
A few of the words the TROUPErs use to describe the Brazos Valley TROUPE experience during a recent rehearsal are inspiring, welcoming, special, exhilarating, unique, energetic, respectful, and powerful. The students seem to both enjoy the programs and respect those in charge.
The 2011-2012 season includes two original musicals: Manhattan Melodies and GLEEKed. Check the website for updates on all season performance dates and times.
Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $8 for youth from age 2-12 (with reservations) and $12 for all tickets without reservations.
Brazos Valley Troupe 2011-2012 Season
Boys Will Be Boys
2012 Celebrity Roast
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Smokey Joe’s Café
Laugh Out Loud! An Improv and Comedy Sketch Series
201 B West 26th St., Bryan, Texas 77803
(979) 823-4297, www.stagecenter.net
The oldest community theater in the area and about to embark on its 47th season, StageCenter is famous for the intimacy it offers.
“It’s like coming to a family reunion and seeing old friends,” says Evelyn Callaway, StageCenter’s treasurer who has performed numerous tasks for the community theater. “You also get to meet people who aren’t like you. You meet people you would have otherwise never met and it’s great.”
Becoming a part of something this special is easier than you may think. StageCenter Theater is run solely by volunteers and can utilize virtually any talent. If you are looking for a new hobby, a strong sense of community, a place to express yourself, to learn new skills or to utilize your talent, look no further than StageCenter Theater in downtown Bryan. This theater company welcomes anyone who wants to participate in any capacity. Volunteers are free t0 express themselves through their individual role in each play and people take pride in the contribution they have made to the local arts industry.
“It’s great for the community to have the opportunity to go see theater and see these new plays and see these old favorites, but to see something that you helped do, that you helped make, I think there’s just an intrinsic human drive there that feels really good and that’s a powerful experience,” says Andrea Robison, StageCenter vice president. “For me, having the outlet of StageCenter, of being able to come and act, reminds me of why I love it. Being a part of it reminds us all why creative outlets are important.”
Those involved may offer any amount of time to contribute. Citizens of Bryan/College Station and the surrounding area who have any interest in becoming part of a community theater group are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity and plug into a creative outlet.
Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, $6 for children and $6 for Thursday shows.
StageCenter 2011-2012 Season
Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Performances: September 29 through October 1, October 6-8, October 13-15
Driving Miss Daisy
Performances: November 3-6, 17-20
Last of the Red Hot Lovers
Performances: February 2-4, 9-11*, 16-18
*Valentine’s Dinner Theater
Performances: April 26-28, May 3-5, 10-12
No Mother to Guide Her
Performances: June 14-16, 21-23, 28-30
Performances: July 26-28, August 2-4, 9-11
Brazos Valley Players
Launched in 2009, the Brazos Valley Players is the newest addition to the B/CS theater family. Performing both plays and musicals, the Brazos Valley Players emphasize education and improvement of theater skills for actors of all ages and experience levels. In addition to productions, the group periodically hosts workshops to improve voice, improvisation, mime, audition presentation, dance and acting techniques.
The StageCenter location in downtown Bryan will host the Brazos Valley Players December 1-3 and 8-10 when they perform their Christmas show, and again March 1-4 and 8-11 for their performance of Cabaret. For upcoming workshops and classes, as well as audition dates and additional shows, visit www.brazosvalleyplayers.com.
Tickets for performances are $15 with discounts for students.
Brazos Valley Players 2011-12 Season
December 1-3, 8-10
March 1-4, 8-11
Navasota Theatre Alliance
104 West Washington Avenue, Navasota, TX 77868
Since 1985, the Navasota Theatre Alliance has produced comedies, dramas, mysteries and musicals at their family friendly theater in downtown Navasota. Located in the Sunny Furman Theater, a quaint venue in the heart of downtown, the group has two shows scheduled for 2011. As an added attraction, dinner theater seats will be available during select performances of the Christmas comedy production.
Performance tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $5 for children, $8 for members and $9 for groups larger than 20. For dinner theater tickets, visit www.navasotatheatre.com.
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of The Jersey Lily
Performances: September 29-30, October 1, 6-8 and 13-15 at 7:30 p.m.; October 2 and 9 at 2 p.m.
Happy Hollandaise, a Christmas comedy
Performances: December 1-3 and 8-10* at 7:30 p.m.; December 4 and 11 at 2 p.m.
*Performances on December 8-10 will have a dinner theater available with reservations, as well as regular seats.