The Green Room
By Terry Hoover | Photography by Gayle Shomer
Posted: Thursday, May. 31, 2012
Hey! Lets put on a show! has been the premise for countless movies and stage musicals. Twenty-five years ago in Newton, it spawned an amateur production of Scrooge in an elementary school auditorium, which eventually grew into The Green Room Community Theater.
In addition to six Main Stage productions and two smaller Black Box productions each season at The Old Post Office Playhouse on South Main Avenue, the nonprofit also presents the Mary Catherine Shivers Scholarship each year. This is awarded to one or more graduating Catawba County seniors who have demonstrated exceptional aptitude in the theater arts and plan to pursue a career in the arts.
As part of the scholarship application process, students must explain why they think performing arts are important to a total education. To be eligible, applicants must have maintained average or above average grades. Added consideration is given to those who have been involved in The Green Room. Winners are announced during Awards Day at the recipients schools.
Its a well-documented fact that children who are involved in the arts are more well-rounded and score higher academically, says executive director Sherry Butler, who served on the School Board for 15 years. Besides, its fun.
A quarter century of experience and dedication to excellence has spread the organizations reputation beyond Catawba County. Auditions for this years production of Alice in Wonderland drew more than 140 aspiring actors and actresses from as far away as Wilkesboro, Boone and Lake Wylie. Half of the 40-member cast was comprised of first-time performers.
Our mission statement is to educate, entertain and engage, says Butler. We entertain and engage the community through the opportunity to participate in a wonderful performance and by providing it at affordable prices.
Education comes through after-school classes in drama, basic acting and improvisation and musical theater, as well as choreography workshops for K-12 students during the school year. Theres also a Summer Shakespeare workshop capped by an all-student production.
The purpose of community theater is to involve as many people as possible, Butler says. Were always looking for new talent and we try to mix veterans with new players.
But as for any nonprofit organization, its heart and soul is its sponsors and volunteers.
We are blessed with wonderful staff, volunteers and corporate sponsors, and the people who support us by buying tickets, says Butler. If we were lacking in any one of those areas, it wouldnt work.The Green Room 2011-2012 season includes The Wizard of Oz, Steel Magnolias, A Christmas Carol, Alice In Wonderland, Smoke On The Mountain, Into the Woods, The Fantastiks, Greater Tuna and Peter Rabbit and Friends. For more information go to www.the-green-room.org