Question about LA Theatre Companies

I would like to join a theatre company and I know there are many out there. Do you have a couple you strongly recommend?

Ooh, this is a good one! I’m a huge fan of local theatre and I most definitely have developed a short list of favorite member companies (as well as non-member theatres I love). That said, I’m thinking it might be most beneficial for you to hear from other actors on the subject of what makes a good theatre company from the inside!

Sure, I can tell you which theatres seem to bring me in, again and again (and I do try to keep up with that list, at my Shows I’ve Seen blog), and you can spend hours reading The Wicked Stage (a blog by my colleague Rob Kendt) to learn about the quality of shows each company mounts. But isn’t it also valuable to know, from actors, whether they feel their membership dues are well-spent, whether they’re getting enough on-stage time, whether there are too many of their exact type already in the company, whether there are too few shows being done, whether the company has a good publicity machine, and whether the house is being filled every show (vs. when they know industry or reviewers are coming)?

Those are questions I’d want answered, before joining a membership company. When I was acting, I was a member of three different theatre companies in Los Angeles, and all three had their strengths and weaknesses (none of which I would have fully understood until being a company member). My point is, I can tell you which theatre companies can count me among their fans, but that’s not nearly as valuable as learning which company is the best fit for your specific needs as an artist and self-marketing performer.

So, I’m asking for a lot of email here! Actors, if you are in a theatre company and would like to share the good, the bad, and the ugly (yes, I’ll keep your comments anonymous, don’t fret), please shoot me an email so that I can assemble the “from the company” reports for a future column. If you are on the membership committee at your theatre company and would like to share some information on membership requirements, audition procedures, fees, meeting attendance, etc., please make contact. I’m eager to hear from you! Let us know what it’s really like to join your company.

While we’re all working on that project, I recommend that anyone looking to join a theatre company start by attending as many shows as possible. If you don’t like what you see as a consumer of the work, how can you expect anyone else to?

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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