LAURINBURG — Scotland County’s long-running community theatre group is seeking actors, stagehands, ticket sellers, and those who just want to see a good show.
After a two-year hiatus from the stage, a group of Encore! Theatre supporters met on Thursday to begin the groundwork of reorganizing the troupe that has been responsible for producing scores of plays in the last 30 years — including Camelot, The Sound of Music, Oliver!, Bye Bye Birdie, The Wizard of Oz, The Music Man, and Cabaret.
“We’ve done a lot of shows, and a lot of really good shows,” said Allen Johnson, CEO of Scotia Village and an actor in past Encore! performances. “We always strive to produce plays that have a sense of polish and professionalism.”
During its heyday, the theatre group also sponsored performing arts summer camps for 50 to 60 children annually. According to Gary Gallman, who has directed several Encore! productions, the group’s revival will give Scotland County residents another way to be involved with the arts as well as adding to the variety of entertainment available locally.
“If you have an active community theatre, it helps the community in many ways — some of those ways are more tangible than others,” he said. “Every time we do a play, all the people involved become a family, no matter what they do. You get to know each other in a way that you probably wouldn’t with anything else.”
Those afflicted by stage fright or for whom memorizing lines sounds too daunting can assist with functions from set construction and costuming to lighting and props, poster design, and concessions.
“At this point we’re basically looking for people that are interested enough to want to see community theatre succeed,” Gallman said.
“You can do just about anything that you want to do. There are so many jobs that go into making up a production of a play: behind-the-scenes jobs, in-your-face jobs, jobs that last maybe an hour or two and others that go on for weeks.”
With no prior background in theatre, Johnson first became involved with Encore! in 2007 at Gallman’s invitation and never looked back.
“Community theatre provides opportunities for local citizens to display — and for a lot of people, including myself, discover — hidden talents that they may have,” he said.
Plans for the theatre’s revival include a production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” this December, which will call for a large cast of child characters. Next year could bring a spring musical and a summer revue featuring local talent.
“We want to do something to start off with a bang, and if you have a lot of kids you have a lot of parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents and so forth,” said Gallman. “And it’s a good play, too.”
For information about Encore! Theatre or to volunteer, contact Brenda Gilbert at 910-276-7316.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169