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Community theatre

Community Theatre is a very popular form of theatre in which all or most of the participants are unpaid or "amateur" in the most literal definition of the word. Community theatre generally resembles professional theatre in all ways except in the unpaid nature of the artists. Though community theatres are generally more traditional in nature, all forms of theatre are practiced in these non-professional venues. They are especially well known for producing musical theater and children's theater. It is not a technical definition; many companies that are made up of unpaid members do not identify themselves as community theatre; usually the distiction between a "standard" theatre group and a community theatre is made by the company itself. Community theatre provides the opportunity for diverse individuals, many of them in other professions, to create plays and have the satisfaction of being part of an active social and artistic community.

Community theatre is often ridiculed or lampooned, reputed to have lower quality than professional theatre. However, a great number of community theatres are respected establishments in their community, and the great majority of professional artists in the theatre report that they began their career in non-professional theatre.

Communty theatres range in size from small groups led by single individuals performing in borrowed spaces, to large year round companies with elaborate well equipped theatres of their own. Many community theatres are successful non-profit businesses with a large active membership and, in some cases, a full time professional staff. Because the performers and other artists are also involved in other aspects of their community, non-professional theatre can develop a broad base of support and attendance among those who might not normally patronize the professional arts. Community theatre is in fact well documented as being the most widely attended venue for theatre in America.

SEE ALSO: Pro-Am Community Theatre.