Interested in volunteering at Raleigh Little Theatre?
There are over 500 people who volunteer some of their time at RLT. Some of those have been at the theatre over 25 years and there are some who have just joined this year.
So why would I want to get involved?
Here are some reasons:
- Learn a new skill. For example, wood-working, making props, sewing, project management, leadership, organization. There are many opportunities where no prior skill is required.
- Act on stage. Perhaps you’d like to try “treading the boards”? (no, you don’t have to work backstage on a show before you can audition at RLT)
- Have a sense of accomplishment. There’s nothing better than to see a show open that you know you had a hand in getting off the ground.
- Make new friends. There are plenty of friendly people who will always greet you with a smile and are happy to see you.
- Spend quality time with your family, or away from them 😉
- Community Service. Perhaps you just want to “give back” to the community you’ve grown up in (or are new to). Some schools give you extra credit for this.
What can I do?
As you can imagine, activities at RLT revolve around the shows we do. The theatre puts on 11 productions every season (July-June), so its just about one per month. And each production runs for 2-3 weeks. So as you can see, as one show closes, the next one is just about to start.
As to the shows that are planned for this season, see our Shows and Events page.
So here are some of the tasks volunteers do at the theatre:
Auditions and rehearsal:
- Audition coordinator
- Assistant to the Director
- Stage Manager
- Props Crew Chief
- Light Crew Chief
- Sound Crew Chief
- Running Crew Chief
- Dresser Crew Chief
- Set assembly and construction (woodwork, metal work, painting, etc)
- Costume construction (sewing, etc)
- Props Master
Advertising and box office
- Assemble mailings for member ticket order forms, etc
- Answering the business office phone
- Taking ticket orders in the box office from patrons over the phone or in person
- Other office activities
Back stage during productions:
- Assistant Stage Manager
- Props crew member
- Light crew member (including follow spotlight operators)
- Sound crew member
- Running crew member
- Dresser crew member
Helping patrons during shows:
- House Managers
- Concessions crew member
Where do I start?
If you’re new to the theatre the best place to start is work on a show as one of the crew members (props, lights, sound, running, dressing) or to work as an usher (handing out playbills, showing patrons their seats). Here’s some simple steps:
- Join the volunteer mailing list on our Email Newsletters page.
- Watch out for emails from crew chiefs asking for crews or other emails from people asking for volunteers
- Reply, saying you’re interested and you’re new
- The crew chief will provide training
If you want to usher, see the next section on how to sign up to volunteer.In addition, you may also want to come to the next RLT Volunteer Open House (see below).Once you’re been on a crew, next you could try another crew, or try your hand as a crew chief. You could also help with construction (set, costumes or props). If you’ve tried ushering, perhaps next as a House Manager.
I just want to usher
We’re always in need of ushers for every performance of every show, so you’re in good company! We have an online system to organize our front of house volunteers, ushers, concessions, and house managers — hostedgroups.org. Go to our Front-of-House Sign Up page on how to sign up and volunteer.
How much time must I commit?
You pick the activities you want to do, based on how much time you have. For example:
- As an usher, 1 night of your time.
- A crew member will probably need to commit to 2-6 nights of time. One of these will be during a rehearsal where you can get taught how to perform your duties, and the remainder will be the nights of the performances you will be working on.
- As someone who’s helping during a construction session, or a strike (where the set is pulled down at the end of the show), just that time (eg 4 hours)
- As a crew chief, you’ll attend many of the shows, all of the rehearsals in the week before opening night plus other time away from the theatre organizing your crews
- As Assistant to the Director, you’ll attend many if not all of the rehearsals. Rehearsals typically go for 4-6 weeks, 4-7 days a week, depending on the show and the Director.
- As Stage Manager, you’ll attend every rehearsal and every show. You typically are the first to arrive, and the last to leave. The Stage Manager has to commit the most amount of time of all volunteer positions.
Volunteer Open House Night
The theatre holds a Volunteer Open House every six months or so. This is where members of the public are invited to see how the theatre operates behind the scenes.
- You’ll hear about the different volunteer positions
- You’ll meet the RLT staff members
- You’ll be invited to go on a tour of the building, with stops at various areas such as the scene shop, both indoor stages (main stage and the Gaddy Goodwin), constume shop, and more
- You’ll have the opportunity to chat to other volunteers out in the lobby with drinks and snacks
Volunteer Open House is advertised via the volunteer mailing list and on this web site, as well as in newspapers.
If you’ve just started, maybe you’ve heard a term back stage that you don’t quite understand the meaning of. Check our list of theatre jargon – that might help!
Who do I contact for more information?
If you need more information about volunteering call or email Larisa Putnam, our Business Manager. If you want to volunteer in a specific role, that’s great! Here are the people you can contact:
- Business Office: Marketing, mailings and more: contact Larisa Putnam.
- Costume Shop: From hats to shoes and everything wrapping the actor between, our costume shop constructs the threads that cover our casts. Typical hours are Tuesday through Fridays 1pm – 5pm, with additional evening and weekend times as needed. Contact Vicki Olson or Jenny Mitchell.
- Scene Shop: Building all the scenery and props seen onstage, we’re usually making sawdust Monday and Tuesday evenings from 7:30-10:30pm and Thursday afternoons 1-5pm. Contact Todd Aberts.