Macon County is about to see a community theater program blooming under its very nose. Peter Richardson is a Nashville-born military veteran and community theater lover, who moved to Red Boiling Springs about a year ago to spend his retirement in the country with his wife. He is just getting the ball rolling on what he has named the Long Run Community Theatre—and he’s going to need your help.
“Drama is my passion—I enjoy it, and have done lots of it through the years. Most community theaters will put on four, five, six different productions a year, and I found myself involved in most of those, in different capacities.”
The theater’s name—Long Run—is meant to refer to the way that community theaters generally operate. “Most theater companies now are long run,” said Richardson. “They start a production and run it until it runs out. Another reason for the name is that I do things in long increments. I took a job with the highway patrol and was with them in Montana for twenty years. Retired from the military—20 years. Married my wife—30 years. Everything I do, I do for long terms. I suspect that this theater thing will take off.”
Richardson plans to open the company with a Christmas production in this coming holiday season. That puts the casting call sometime in early October.
“It’ll be an hour and a half show, and it is Christmas themed. It’s not a musical—no dance line, no chorus line and dancing girl, we’re not there yet. This is where we walk, and then we start running later. And I think when you have a cast that large—they have friends and they have relatives, and it just grows from there.”
No word yet on where the production will take place. “Rehearsal can take place almost anywhere, but you do need a couple weeks on the ground in the venue before a performance,” said Richardson.
Community theater is usually set up as a true nonprofit corporation, the stated purpose of which is to provide entertainment and art in their market. This one will probably follow that model.
“The beauty of it is—the company I was in—people would come to productions, and every time they came into the theater they’d go ‘oh, that’s new, that wasn’t here last time’,” said Richardson. “Every time you have a production, more money gets funneled into the props, and into the costuming and into the lighting and all that stuff. And it’s fun because you can literally watch it grow before your eyes. And it’s really inspiring, and it makes people want to go because they know their money is doing some good.
“It’s volunteerism at its best. And you know, when I’m casting somebody, when they fill out their casting forms, it’s not only what part are you audition for, but also what talents do you possess? Are you a construction guy? Because we’ll need sets. So for every casting call, you may have 120 people audition for 30 parts, but every one of those 120 have something to offer—you just have to figure out what it is.
“It’s true community theater. Everybody buys into it, and then once you get your talent established you just form your board, and they’re making the selections for what material to produce and where to reinvest the money as it comes in… and it grows like crabgrass.”
Check the Times for a forthcoming announcement on the casting call for the Christmas production. Richardson also warns that community leaders and venue proprietors should be expecting him to come knocking on their doors—soon.