Old Courthouse Theatre: Catch the Acting Bug
Dec 01, 2016 08:30AM
● By Jason Huddle
Old Courthouse Theatre: Catch the Acting Bug
Old Courthouse Theatre (OCT) is an institution in Concord. As Cabarrus County’s only community theatre, it celebrated its 40th anniversary in May, and its 2016-’17 season opened in August and continues into April 2017.
OCT has resided in the old First Baptist Church building on Spring Street since purchasing it in 1984. It remains viable through a volunteer staff, donations, sponsors, ticket sales and grants. Add to that the enthusiastic talent that lends itself to the productions OCT offers the public and you have a winning combination.
Currently, A Broadway Christmas Carol is playing at OCT with both evening and matinee performances. It was a huge hit at the theatre in 2011, combining Dickens’ version with Broadway show tunes and an abundance of humor.
While that show is running, auditions will be held for Nana's Naughty Knickers on December 5 and 6. When characters Bridget and her grandmother become roommates in New York, Bridget finds out
sweet Grandma is illegally selling hand-made naughty knickers to senior citizens in the five city boroughs nearby. Performances will run from February 9 through 26.
On April 20, 2017, the last show of the season will open. OCT’s website says, “The Music Man follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, IA, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he vows to organize – this
despite the fact he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall.”
This particular production is family-themed. Mary Kathryn Ewart is president of OCT’s Board of Directors. “All of OCT’s programs are a family affair where both parents and children can participate together. OCT tries to have at least one production a year when both parents and children could be onstage together,” she says. “The 2016-2017 season’s show is The Music Man, where both children and their parents could be onstage. OCT has families building sets together, serving as ushers together, even serving on various committees together. Community theatre is family.”
Taking that to heart, Old Courthouse Theatre also offers opportunities for the young entertainer as well as those whose want to be a part of the theatre experience without going on stage.
“Old Courthouse Youth Theatre (OCYT) is a continuation of Cabarrus Youth Theatre (CYT), which was part of the Cabarrus County Parks & Recreation Department,” she says. “Ralph Covington, an
original member of Old Courthouse Theatre, and Joe Rosemond headed up CYT each summer for Cabarrus County youth.
“When CYT closed its last summer production, Old Courthouse Theatre partnered with several youth-oriented programs but realized the youth theatre program needed to be in-house. Currently, the OCT Board of Directors is working to establish dedicated performance periods for youth theatre during each performance year. OCT has also established a partnership with Cabarrus Parks & Recreation to offer acting classes throughout the school year.”
Since Cabarrus Youth Theatre failed to register the minimum number of children needed to conduct Fall 2016 acting classes, Cabarrus Parks & Rec will offer them again in the Spring.
“The best thing to do is watch the websites, as well as the City of Concord print publications,” she says. “OCT’s partnership with Cabarrus Parks & Rec allows both organizations to expand their programming efficiently.”
As for adult behind-the scenes help, Ewart says, “OCT is always looking for help backstage, ushers, concessions, box office, as well as various committees.
Another branch of OCT is a group called The CabCo Pretenders. Becky Porter put together a group of adults that wanted to bring live theatre to kids. “CabCo Pretenders is OCT’s community outreach group when OCT takes the production to the community,” Ewart explains. “Recently, CabCo has performed at the 2016 Breakfast for the Arts, Cabarrus Arts Council Family Fun Days, the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Cabarrus County Library. CabCo has also performed at various private events, and is available for future private events. Public appearances will be advertised through OCT’s media channels.
“OCT’s growth and programming expansion is a direct result of Cabarrus County’s and surrounding counties’ support,” Ewart says. “We are appreciative of celebrating 40 years of community theatre in Cabarrus County, and look forward to serving for many years to come. Connect with OCT via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Subscribe to our e-newsletter via our website at www.oldcourthousetheatre.org. For group tickets or questions regarding OCT’s programs, call the OCT Box Office at 704-788-2405. See you at the theatre!”
Story by: Kim Cassell
Photos courtesy: Mendoza Photography and Old Courthouse Theatre