Local/Community Theatrical Productions

Figure 1.--"Sound of Music" is a popular musical produced by school and local theater groups. The sailor suits the children wear, however are not acurately produced. The collars in particular are not realistic and there are no cuffs.

Most Americans think of Broadway and big theaters when they think about theater. Many Americans do not live near New York and have the opportunity to see a broadway play. Of course there are vibrantly active theater groups active throughout America. The same is true of Britain and most European theaters. Many of these productions include children in suitable period costuming.

Local Theater

America has a rich tradition of local theater. Virtually any town of any size has a community theater group. Some are amateur groups usually doing popular fare. Other groups specialize in the musicals, classics, Shakespere, modern, avaunt guard, and many other types of theatrical performances. Local theater is also popular in Britain. I know less about Western Europe, but the situation is presumably similar. Independeny local theater was discouraged by the communists in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe because of the tendency to address questions and express unapproved points of view. Presumably local theater is now developing in Eastern Europe as well.

Types of local theaters

There are a wide variety of local theater groups, including community amateur, professional, and dinner theater groups. Many communities have children's theater groups. As the children do the acting they often pick plays for or about children. This often includes period costuming, although the limited budgets involved mean that they often can depict the period dress with great accuracy. Some groups, however, do amazinly well given there limited resources. The children in fact often find the fashions or eralier generations rather interesting.

Youth programs

Some local theaters provide comprehensive innovative cultural arts programs for youth from kindergarten through high school. These programs seek to provide meaningful opportunities for children to participate and succeed in the performing arts. A wide of variety of classes, performances and workshops may be available throughout the year. Some groups believe that arts programs should be available to every child regardless of ability to pay. For this reason, many groups offer financial aid for workshops and classes.


Many popular plays require aprropriate period costuming. The limited budgets of these productions, however, mean that such clothes are rarely reproduced acurately, because of the limited budgets involved. This varies, however, from group to group. Some local theater companies give much more attention to the costuming than others.


Some theatrical productions with children are very popular for local theater. These productions have different numbers of child roles. Most have only a few. There are a few plays that have larger numbers of child parts. Some of the most popular are Aunty Mame, Music Man, and Sound of Music. Many local groups preferred the musical version of some of these plays. Other local theater groups choose less well known plays. There are also classics produced seasonally, especially for Halloween and Christmas.


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Created: May 3, 1998
Last updated: 6:54 PM 6/18/2007