8 Reasons Why Community Theatre Is Vital

Community theatre is more than just a pastime for local enthusiasts—it’s a cornerstone of culture that enriches communities in numerous ways. According to the American Association of Community Theatre, these hometown theatres involve more participants, present more performances of more productions, and play to more people than any other performing art in the country. With over 6,000 community theatres in the United States, the number of performances far exceeds the number of those by professional theatre, dance, and concert organizations. With that impact, its significance cannot be overstated. Here are eight reasons why community theatre is invaluable.

1. Cultural Enrichment: Community theatre serves as a platform for diverse cultural expression. It brings stories from different backgrounds, traditions, and perspectives to the forefront, offering audiences a rich tapestry of narratives they might not encounter elsewhere. By showcasing a variety of cultures, community theatre contributes to a more inclusive and understanding society.

2. Creativity Nurturing: For many aspiring artists, community theatre is the starting point of their creative journey. Whether it’s acting, directing, set design, or costume-making, participants have the opportunity to explore and develop their artistic talents in a supportive environment. This nurturing of creativity not only benefits individuals but also adds vibrancy to the local arts scene.

3. Community Cohesion: One of the most remarkable aspects of community theatre is its ability to bring people together. Participants from diverse backgrounds come together to collaborate on productions, forging bonds that transcend age, race, and socio-economic status. These connections build a sense of community and belonging, fostering solidarity among residents.

4. Skill Development: Beyond artistic expression, community theatre offers opportunities for skill development. Participants learn teamwork, time management, problem-solving, and communication skills as they work towards a common goal. These skills are transferable to various aspects of life, including education, careers, and personal relationships.

5. Local Economic Boost: Community theatre isn’t just about art; it’s also an economic driver. Productions attract audiences who often dine out, shop, or stay in the area, boosting local businesses. Additionally, the demand for materials, props, and costumes stimulates the local economy further, allowing productions to contribute to the overall prosperity of the community.

6. Educational Outreach: Many community theatre groups offer educational programs and workshops for children and adults alike. These initiatives provide valuable learning opportunities, introducing participants to theatre arts and instilling a lifelong appreciation for culture. Furthermore, educational outreach programs often prioritize inclusivity, making theatre accessible to individuals from all walks of life.

7. Civic Engagement: Community theatre has the power to spark conversations and inspire action on important social issues. Productions tackling topics such as discrimination, inequality, or environmental concerns encourage audiences to reflect on these issues and become agents of change within their communities. By addressing relevant societal issues, community theatre promotes civic engagement and advocacy.

8. It’s Fun: Not only is it fun seeing your friends, family and neighbors perform, you also get to meet new friends along the way! What’s more, community theatre serves as a wonderful creative outlet.

With those benefits in mind, here are the words of some of those whose lives have been touched by their involvement in community theatre:

“I believe that community theatre is America’s theatre. For a variety of reasons, community theatre thrives in this nation like nowhere else in the world. Seeing the positive impact that it can have on youth, seniors, area businesses, and a community’s identity is a humbling but energizing experience. Our ongoing challenge is to continue to raise the bar on our work—constantly make it better—while continuing to have that positive impact that theatre education and participation bring.”
– Murray Chase, Venice [FL] Theatre

“Community theatre offers a gateway to new worlds of experience, emotion, and knowledge. It has been such a joy to explore those worlds with colleagues and friends, volunteers, and audiences in my own city and across the country.”
– Mary Doveton, Lawrence [KS] Community Theatre

“The theatre has opened my eyes and shown me the life of others in a way I could never have hoped to see by simply sharing a conversation with them. I have seen inside the souls of people whose passion for the stage is as deep as mine and whose gifts are deeper. Each time I become part of a production, I am thankful that I have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the heart to feel what is in front of me.”
– Annette Procunier, Theatre Thoughts, Ltd., Ontario, Canada

Community theatre is not just entertainment—it’s a catalyst for social, cultural, and economic enrichment. Its impact extends far beyond the stage, shaping communities and fostering connections that endure long after the final curtain call.

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