Theatre sets stage for volunteers

Shakespeare once said the entire world is a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.

Nobody seems to know this better than the individuals at the Tallahassee Little Theatre.

Located at 1861 Thomasville Road, the theatre is aimed at the local community and relies heavily on volunteers as actors, crew members and concession managers.

Executive director Naomi Rose-Mock said this is what makes the Tallahassee Little Theatre so distinct.

She also said the theatre is looking for more student volunteers.

“We are a community staple, but we’re really trying to make ourselves more visible to the universities,” said Rose-Mock, 30, who worked with the theatre for three years. “We do musicals, dramas and comedies. We have a really wide range of opportunities for actors and actresses to get involved as well as technical volunteers and everything else.”
Jimmy Kontos agreed.

Kontos, the program director, said the theatre is looking to branch out.

“We want to find some new ways to really get more people involved and we have done that with a variety of different ways,” said Kontos, 31, a Florida State University theatre program graduate. “We have started with a nice acting class series that is doing very well and is becoming fairly popular. With a university like FAMU, sometimes the performance opportunities are limited. We are trying to find ways to give those students the opportunities to perform here.”

Kontos may just have a point.

Tucker Hall will be renovated this summer and there is a possibility that FAMU performances will be put on hiatus.

However, Kontos said he believes the Tallahassee Little Theatre can offer a stage for students looking to get their theater fix.

Rose-Mock and Kontos are creating a late night series aimed towards students that have a love for theatre.

“They perform it, they put it on and they come see it,” said Kontos, who also directed several plays. “We have also set up a workshop series. Before all of our auditions, we have a workshop that is geared towards that show for example. We have planned a Sondheim workshop since it’s such difficult music. We have also built great partnerships with TCC this year as far as volunteers go.”

In addition to volunteer work, the Tallahassee Little Theatre also offers yearly internship programs. Rose-Mock said several FAMU students have taken advantage of it.

“We offer internships in marketing, management, education and also on the technical side,” Rose-Mock said. “There is something for everyone.”

Helping out on the technical side is Matthew Newbury, who serves as tech director. Newbury said he is also looking for younger volunteers.

“We want people who are interested in learning about the craft of tech theatre,” said Newbury, 27. “We have carpenters, scenic artists and if we can get students working along side those people, then that would be fantastic.”

Caroline Sturtz a photographer for the theatre started off as a volunteer. Sturtz, 25, said she began volunteering in high school before eventually getting hired.

“I’ve been taking photos for the last four seasons regularly,” said Sturtz, 25, a Tallahassee native whose photos have graced the Tallahassee Democrat. “I got my degree in photography and I’ve always had a love of theatre, and my friends were always involved in it, so I just gradually became involved. It’s incredibly interesting work and it’s always fun. It’s just a unique experience.”

Founded in 1949, the Tallahassee Little Theatre recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.

Rose-Mock said she is looking forward to another 60 years of reaching out to the community with plays, acting classes, storybook theatre, and more volunteers.

“If a community organization is not truly representative of that community, then it isn’t going to endure a great deal of success,” she said. “In order to thrive and to continue to do what we do best we have to be truly representative of the community, which is why we really want to reach out to our collegiate friends. We have three colleges in this town so we should be seeing a heavy presence of college students infiltrated throughout the theatre and I would love to see more.”