Volunteering: Better than a Backstage Pass!
The Theater recently hosted its 6th Annual Volunteer Salute on April 21, 2015. The event honored 581 volunteers who have donated their time and talents to Orlando Shakes this season. The evening began with a catered Italian dinner from Uno’s, followed by an award ceremony. Artistic Director Jim Helsinger and Managing Director PJ Albert were joined by members of our Board of Directors as they presented honors to many of these hardworking individuals. We even set up a Spamalot-themed photo booth to celebrate the occasion! (Click here to check out the photos.)
Marketing and PR Intern Lexie shares insight on what it means to be an Orlando Shakespeare Theater Volunteer in her article below.
The lights dim and an actor enters from up right, taking quick, deliberate steps toward center stage. You are hanging on his every gesture, his every word, his every breath. Before you know it, you are completely submersed in the world that has been created for you. You are more than willing to suspend your disbelief, and allow yourself to be taken on a journey beyond your own imagination. And then, it’s over. The best and worst part about live theater is that it’s fleeting, it may stick with us in our hearts but physically lasts only for a brief time. So what now? The lights come up, fellow audience members begin to trail out… The show is over.
The magical moments you see on stage may end, but the efforts of the people behind the scenes continue well after the curtain goes down. YOU have an opportunity to be one of those people. As a volunteer, you can make a difference.
House Manager & Volunteer Coordinator Colin Worley recognizes the importance of volunteers on a daily basis. “Every day is a new adventure, but no matter which volunteers are on the team that day, you know everybody is going to give 100%.” Colin says he’s fortunate to have a wonderful crew of volunteers, whose flexibility and numbers allow him to fill all positions needed–even last minute.
Besides volunteering on the front lines, the Theater also accepts assistance in their administrative offices. Recently, volunteers took on the challenge of the United Arts campaign mailing. Thousands of envelopes were stuffed, addressed, and sealed, a feat that truly would have been impossible without their help. The United Arts campaign is one of the Theater’s largest sources of funding, so saying that it’s important is a bit of an understatement.
Volunteer Toni Dedik is seen around the Theater almost as much as most staff members. “When I started volunteering, I was impressed that the Theater employees acknowledged my presence and contributions each and every time I visited. Their welcoming presence made me want to come back,” she said.
Another behind-the-scenes opportunity is volunteering in the Costume Shop. The Costume Department is constantly in search of volunteers with knowledge of hand sewing. (It’s a bonus if you have experience with a sewing machine!) “The Costume Shop and its staff are very special to my wife and I,” said Volunteer David Herman. “When we first started volunteering we had no idea how rewarding and educational it would be. Sure, we sew on lots of buttons, but there is so much more to do and learn.”
Ever wanted to volunteer in the Gift Shop or sell concessions at Harriett’s Bar? Become a member of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater Guild! Guild members also receive benefits such as monthly social dinners, holiday parties, and even the chance to watch dress rehearsals.
“The Guild, for me, is the best method to contribute to the financial well-being of Orlando Shakes. Not only can I contribute in a meaningful way by interacting with the public while raising funds for the Theater, but I’ve made some lovely friends,” said Guild Member Paula Streimish.
Being a volunteer is a wonderful experience, but what if you could also use it to build your resume? Orlando Shakes offers unpaid, semester-long internships working in Development, Marketing, and Finance. Administrative interns take part in the day-to-day processes of running a professional theater, gaining valuable insight into the career path of their choice. (Note: Finance is currently seeking an intern for Summer 2015!)
So, why not volunteer? Okay, so maybe stuffing envelopes or sewing on buttons isn’t quite as glamorous and magical as actually being an audience member. But did I mention that as thanks for your generosity and hard work, you can actually earn vouchers to see Orlando Shakes shows for free? You can! And now you’ll see the shows in a whole new light knowing that you contributed to their success. It’s easy to become the wind under the wings of your favorite theater, just sign up by filling out the application here.
Lexie Hoag is currently a Marketing and Public Relations Intern at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, as well as a student at Valencia College. At the end of the semester she will complete her AA and then plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. She can often be found rereading books, snuggling her puppy, and haunting local theaters.