Other Voices Theatre produces four mainstage shows and one family theatre show each year. As the resident theater company at The Performing Arts Factory they go above and beyond what you may expect from community theater. While the overarching goal of the theater is to promote community involvement on stage, they’re equally committed to community involvement off-stage. The cast and crew pull inspiration from the show they’re working on to give them direction on ways they can give back. For instance, a performance of “The Secret Garden” resulted in the crew planting trees in a local park. Other volunteer work includes singing at a senior citizens home or supporting area high school programs. They also offer free tickets to the Boys and Girls Club, Heartly House, and HeadStart.
What is it like to be a part of Other Voices?
It doesn’t feel like work. It’s doing something you love with other people who love what they’re doing — all to create something that will touch a lot of people. Most of the cast and crew work full time jobs elsewhere. Participating in Other Voices is their true passion and gives them a creative outlet.
What makes your business stand out?
All of the local theaters support one another. We don’t stand above anyone else, we work well together. We benefit from having a dance company in our building (Dance Unlimited). Our choreography and the caliber of our dancers is incredible. Other Voices Theatre is a branch of Other Voices, Inc., which owns the Performing Arts building off of Jefferson Street. Donna Grim is the Executive Director of Other Voices Inc., and oversees The Dance Unlimited Repertory Company.
What is a typical day like for an artistic director of a theater?
There is absolutely no such thing as a “typical day”! This morning consisted of the following random tasks: moving things around the basement which is filled with props, costumes, and furniture, meeting with the set designer to paint the stage floor and move furniture we borrowed for a show, sending out an updated rehearsal schedule, dropping off costumes at the dry cleaners, teaching two classes, and during any “down time” updating the website. That’s just today. Tomorrow will be completely different.
What is the best part about what you do? Most Challenging?
The best part is the memories we create and the lives we touch. Our cast and crew is like a family. The most challenging part is picking shows that will appeal to both audiences and our actors — will they want to audition for it? Will the costumes and props cost a lot of money?
Can you describe your audiences?
Our audiences range from ages 3-93, depending on the show! They’re all people who support and enjoy a live theater performance.
What’s something people might not know about Other Voices Theatre?
We have a Children’s Touring Company that visits local schools and daycares to give kids the opportunity to see a live theater performance. The cast interacts with the students, asking them questions and going out into the audience. It’s an active experience, and the kids get really excited. It’s heartwarming and fun.
What are your hopes for Other Voices Theatre in the future?
We are hoping to do more interactive Murder Mysteries. One big goal is to sell out every performance and expand our group of volunteers — whether they’re painting, sewing, acting, looking for props, whatever! We love to involve people in our shows. Our crew comes from all over, not just Frederick County — from Leesburg to Gettysburg to Baltimore. We’re always looking for things to do in the community.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about Other Voices?
A lot of people don’t even know we exist! But once they find us, they start bringing their friends. We also offer subscriptions — when someone buys tickets to all four shows, they receive a discount. Renaissance Chef Caterers rents the kitchen in the back of our building, so on the first Saturday night of each show we offer dinner before the show catered by Renaissance Chef. The first Sunday, they do a brunch. The food is really good! They make cookies for all of our kids shows.
What’s coming up at Other Voices?
Click here to grab tickets for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” which premieres in May!