Volunteering with the local theatre

Volunteer behind the scenes with the Lilydale Theatre Company. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS. 234335_16

By Peter Kemp

The production of a play at the Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre involves far more people than just the actors on the stage. For example, the company needs set builders, backstage crew, backstage management, costume making, front of house helpers, technical crew/bio box/lighting and sound technicians.

All these functions are provided by a small army of volunteers.


It is an extremely rewarding experience; it builds lifelong friendships. It enables them to utilise existing skills as well as develop new ones. They have a lot of fun and laughs and enjoy being part of a production which they are proud of and which brings enjoyment to the many people who attend the performances.

Whether it’s a barbie in the backyard area, movie nights or other get togethers, volunteers are the lifeblood of local theatre.

If you are aged between 14 and 80 and this sounds like something that you may be interested in doing, please read on to find out what is involved behind the scenes.


No production is complete without the set on the stage. The building of the set involves design, painting, carpentry, furniture restoration and electrical work. This could range from hanging a picture to building a staircase. Experienced chippies. electricians, artists, designers are always welcome along with people who are eager to learn and willing to get their hands a bit grubby.

While the sets are being built the costumes are designed and made. Working with the director this involves machine and hand sewing and fitting of outfits on the actors.


This involves the changes made to the sets on stage during the live performances. This could range from providing an empty cup to an actor at a critical time before they go on stage to changes between acts while the lights are down.

If you can tip toe in the darkness and enjoy the adrenaline rush of being involved in a live performance, without being an actor on stage, this is for you.


The face of Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre, you could be the lovely lady or gent greeting patrons at the door, guiding them to their seats and making sure the audience refreshments between the acts and after the performance are ready to go when needed.

At the end of the evening you get a chance to mingle with the actors, director, and other behind the scenes volunteers.


The designers choreograph the lighting and sound as part of the preproduction of the play. The technical crew and bio box operate the sound and lighting during each performance. You may be working with special effects.

With a wide range of lighting and sound equipment available, working in time with actors on stage, it’s a great experience to be the one bringing the stage alive with massive claps of lighting and rumbling thunder or the soft chirps in a lush forest scene.

Whether you are experienced or simply full of enthusiasm and ready to learn, this may be for you.

STILL INTERESTED RING Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre Monday, Tuesday and Friday on 9735 1777.