The first production I ever worked on was the Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s 75th anniversary season opener of Annie, directed by Rodney Van Valkenburg. I was a gangly teenager who played random bit parts including assistant dog catcher, police officer #2, and servant #12. Though the parts were small, the experience I had was not. From it I gained many life long friends, most of whom I still remain in contact with, even though some live on the other side of the planet now.
Theatre has the capability to change a person. For me, it taught me many valuable life lessons. Before I began doing theatre I was a shy wallflower and it was uncomfortable for me to meet new people. From my experiences in theatre I learned to come out of my shell, I learned how to express myself. I learned the value of community and that with enough people working together to reach a common goal anything is possible. I learned patience and preparation are the building blocks to success. And most importantly, I learned that practice makes perfect. The skills that theatre has taught me have taken me far in life and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who gave me the opportunities that shaped who I am, into someone that I can be proud of.
The experience of doing theatre is addictive. The years that followed my first production I spent most of my free time at CTC, working both on stage and off in every capacity a volunteer could, including the often thankless task of stage managing the Theatre Centre’s production of The Man Who Came to Dinner under the direction of Beth Gummnick, which meant keeping up with a cast whose size was similar to that of many small countries.
From these experiences came many stories that are told and retold time and time again. Stories of opening nights and the tech rehearsals leading up to it, or the stories of challenges rising up during the run of show, when a light board operator must learn the lines of a major role in a week because the show must go on, or when an actress takes the advice “Break a leg” too seriously. Theatre is about more than just the stories that unfold on the stage, but also the stories of the both on stage and off who create the magic and illusion of this living art form.
It is with that in mind that I present to you ScenicStage.com. It is more than just a guide to Chattanooga’s theatres or a calendar of upcoming shows. ScenicStage.com is the community and the stories of the people who come together to make it happen.