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Community Theater and other Money-Savers

theater-masksI’m involved in local Community Theater.  I’m no actor, but each year I help with music (in the orchestra pit) for the summer musical, and I help with box office and ushering for other shows during the year.  Last weekend was opening weekend for “Guys and Dolls!”  It’s always fun.

When I moved to this small-ish town I was astonished by the quality and quantity of work done by the community theater.  I’d never experienced that before, and was amazed at what could be done by an all-volunteer organization.  In the years since, I’ve discovered that many communities in my area and around the state have active community theaters, as well as community choruses, bands and other arts groups.

This is great news for people concerned with saving money.  For two reasons:

  1. Attending plays and concerts is low-cost local entertainment (sometimes free – I went to a terrific free concert a couple weeks ago)
  2. Being involved in these activities is also free recreation – a fun social activity at absolutely no cost. Participation is the best of both worlds – spending time with other great people while at the same time contributing to your community!

If you’re thinking this doesn’t apply to you because you’re not an actor, artist or musician, think again.  I can tell you that all kinds of skills are valued.  Some people make the printed programs and distribute posters. Others build or paint sets. Some people help keep the place clean and make sure important props are where they need to be.

In my experience, anyone who wants to be involved is welcome to help out.  If you’re looking for free social activities, getting involved in a community group, whether theater or music or some other group, is a great place to start!


Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan's goal as a Family Finance program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is to help people use their money according to THEIR priorities. She provides information and tools, and then encourages folks to focus on what they control: their own decisions about what to do with the money they have.

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  1. I wholeheartedly concur with Barb’s comments! I, too, have found working with community theatres wherever I am to be satisfying and exciting. It can also be a family affair 🙂 I started as a youngster in the production of Oklahoma. My dad was the peddler and I was in the chorus. My son and I did the lighting in several productions together as he was growing up. I’m currently serving as a volunteer greeter at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Another low-cost entertainment value are local school concerts and plays. What talent our young people have! Attending these community events is not just for parents and relatives. Support your local school music and drama departments and enjoy.

  2. Headed to the Producers this weekend with my parents in Dubuque – What I have seen in the past is less of a hassle of traveling 1/2 day to see – support the local arts!