Celebrating its 30th season, Tipton Community Theatre (TCT) offers the magic of live stage productions, not only for nearby residents, but also for people from surrounding areas. The organization has a long-standing tradition of developing local partnerships, which enables it to fulfill the mission of enhancing quality of life through the performing arts. Initially, funding came directly from the founding members. These days, show sponsorships, grants, ticket sales and loyal donors have created a sustainable entity that has grown.
“Pastor Richard Hull of West Street Christian Church asked Joann Kaiser if she would like to join him in getting a community theater group started,” says Chad Huff, president of the TCT Board of Directors. “They invited members of the congregation at West Street and Kemp United Methodist Church to a meeting. A call-out to interested members of the community was made as well. There were about 14 people who came together and started the planning for the first season.”
Through the years TCT has provided a variety of productions, from musical comedies to old-school, classic plays. The very first was “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder. It was chosen because of minimal expenses – there was no set and the costumes were easily put together. After that, the group had enough money to present the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Tipton High School, the Tipton County Foundation and the Tipton Elks Lodge all play a part in supporting TCT. All productions are held in the high school auditorium, with the exception of a bonus dinner theater show that will be hosted this spring at the Elks Lodge. Rehearsals are held at the Tipton County Foundation.
This season the theater team is presenting an assortment of live performances, each showing on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. The season kicked off in September with the musical comedy “A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement.” From November 4 through 6 and 11 through 13, audiences will be treated to “Matilda the Musical.” Following that, Disney’s “Frozen JR.” will be presented from February 24 through 26. The final production will be “The Importance of Being Earnest.” This year’s dinner theater performance will be “Four Weddings and an Elvis.”
“We have a selection committee that reviews scripts year-round,” Huff says. “Sometimes we have new shows that are just becoming available to theaters like ours, and sometimes we decide it’s time for a classic. Often suggestions come from potential directors. Directing a show is a large undertaking and it’s not always easy to find someone who is ready for the challenge, so when someone comes to us with a show, it’s certainly a consideration.”
Huff says actors come from many locations. “We are really blessed to have a ton of local talent, but we regularly have actors from surrounding counties show up at auditions,” he says. “People of all ages and from all walks of life are involved in our shows. Some only come out to act in a certain production or seeking a specific role, while others are excited to sing in the chorus or play a small part.”
Volunteers and donors play an important part in keeping things running. People who have no interest on being on stage enjoy behind-the-scenes tasks regarding lighting, sound, set construction and backstage work. Different sponsorship and donation levels are available on the TCT website.
“This is our 30th season, which is kind of a big deal,” Huff says. “Yes, that means we’ve put on 30 years of shows, but what’s more is we’ve raised funds, built sets, fostered volunteers and grown significantly in that time. Running a not-for-profit organization for 30 years isn’t easy. You need a community that cares and volunteers that are willing to really do the work. We have both and we couldn’t be more grateful. We feel that every show is memorable in one way or another. Every time we strike a final pose, give that dramatic last line or fire the confetti cannons, it’s a memory not only for us, but for the community.”
To donate and for ticket information, go to the Tipton Community Theatre website at tiptontheatre.com.
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