New members, or simply anyone interested in knowing more about OTTC often have some very reasonable questions.
How many shows do you perform a year?
Just checking out the ‘Productions’ page on this site will tell you that this usually averages out at four a year. More often than not, we’re working towards shows in March, June, October and December.
highly-acclaimed 'interactive' production of Murder at
Rutherford House in 2002
We also try to enter the All England One Act Play Festival in Swindon (known as the Harold Jolliffe One Act Play Festival), which falls in February. We also try to win it – and quite often succeed!
How often do you meet?
Two answers here: rehearsals and socials.
Rehearsals usually take up the 8-11 weeks prior to a show and they fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 7.30pm.
During the summer ‘break’, we’ll still keep to Tuesday evenings when we’ll read through prospective plays that any member is welcome to bring along. It's a good idea to have a few copies to enable everyone to see what they're reading though!
As for socials… well, we’re a little poor on that side of things! We’re a bit single minded in that respect – if we’re together, we must be rehearsing! That said, we do manage to arrange an annual barbecue at either Coate Water or Lydiard Park, which always goes down very well!
How much time am I expected to commit?
Being an amateur company, we accept that everyone won’t make every rehearsal but that’s still the aim really. If your part isn’t in every scene, then chat through with the director when he/she would like you at rehearsal and then attend those.
As we’ve said, rehearsals are usually 8-11 weeks, twice a week, and each rehearsal lasts around two hours.
As the run draws near, we usually devote a couple of Sunday afternoons as well.
You should always commit to clearing your diary for the run week!
How do you organize your run week?
A typical run week looks like this…
Nancy A Hollenbaugh and the cast of Shakers in 2000
Sunday – Get In
We gather at the Arts Centre in the morning and then dispatch crews to collect scenery, props, paints, etc.
Once that’s done, we’ll build the set, paint and dress it. Obviously, depending on the set required, this can be a quick or a long job!
At the same time, the lighting will be hung.
Monday Evening – Technical Rehearsal
This is the evening devoted to getting those lighting and sound cues right. We’ll usually ‘top ‘n tail’ (rehearse the beginning and end of ) each scene, so that the Stage Manager, and lighting and sound operators can be sure of their timings.
Tuesday and Wednesday Evening – Dress Rehearsal
In effect, a show without an audience. As you’d expect, the director will give notes during these shows to put the final touches to the performance. Our December show is usually four nights, so Wednesday becomes the opening night!
Thursday, Friday, Saturday Evening – Performance
Where it all comes together – get out there and sock it to ‘em!
Sunday Morning – Get Out
Bleary eyed from the after show party, we all gather at the Arts Centre to help strike the set (always much quicker than putting the damned thing up!), retrieve our personal props and promise undying friendship to our fellow actors. Then we go home and re-introduce ourselves to our families!
Do you have a prompt during a show?
No. Learn your lines!
How do I audition?
We nearly always hold open auditions, as advertised on this website and in the local press. Non-members will hear of them that way, whilst members or friends will receive e-mail notification in advance.
Readings and auditions are usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you can’t make either of the two dates we try to offer, then contact the director individually and express your interest that way. At least then, you can be borne in mind!
We try to hold readings so that anyone interested can come along and read the play through first. Then, we’ll hold the auditions, a night or so later.
These are never high pressure affairs. You’ll be asked to complete a form, with your contact details and also to nominate two or three roles you’d like to audition for. Then, script in hand, we’ll work our way through various scenes. You’ll undoubtedly be asked to read parts you haven’t nominated but that’s not unusual, and no-one is asked to bring along an ‘audition piece’!
What if I don’t get the role I wanted – or any role at all?
Well, this can happen, of course. Being amateur, with only a limited pool of actors from which to draw, casting a play is perhaps the most difficult stage of the process. We’d simply ask that you keep with the spirit of the company and pitch in with any role or backstage task you’re asked to do.
Having said that, we are not a company that maintains one of those ‘service based pecking orders’. We’ve had new members come in as lead players on their first or second plays, so we hope we’re a company that puts talent and capability ahead of seniority!
How much will OTTC cost me?
By far, the major commitment is your time. As for cash, well this is what members usually have to put their hands in their pockets for during a typical run…
- Membership (annual)
- Acting fee (per show but not paid by backstage or FoH)
- Collection for the Director and crew (per show run)
- Drinks in the pub afterwards (see your financial advisor for tips here...!)
As an OTTC member, what do you expect of me?
Nothing unreasonable. If you’re in a show, come to as many rehearsals as you can, learn your lines and be available for the whole show week. If you don’t get a role in a show, then we’d still love you to take part back stage or as FoH – which is another annual commitment we’d expect.
FoH? What's that?
It stands for 'Front of House'. It's the theatre's way of describing anyone who deals directly with audiences.
We always provide FoH for our own shows and means that we have to provide a rigidly defined number of people, per night of our show. You'll take tickets, hand out programmes and be a fire steward in the auditiorium, as well as bring in any late-comers.
The Arts Centre's Duty Manager will always make sure that you're aware of what's required of you so a familiarisation session is always available before you begin!
If you've never done FoH before and that's putting you off, then get in touch with a committee member and they'll do they're best to make sure you're teamed up with someone who knows the ropes and can look after you. Having said that, the Arts Centre staff are very helpful and will make sure you're alright anyway.
Do I have to do it?
Yes – if you're a member, you're expected to pitch in!
Sounds fine – what do I do now?
Just send an e-mail to email@example.com and tell us about yourself, and what you'd like to do as part of OTTC. We'll take it from there!