They say “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” and nowhere is this more true than in the challenging, but fun, world of community theatre. Last month we sat down with Tim Waddell, Artistic Director of the new SIK (Staged In Kuwait) Productions, to find out more about Kuwait’s newest community theatre group and what drives ordinary people to dedicate their time to staging quality productions in venues around Kuwait.
Tim, what is SIK Productions?
SIK Productions is a non-profit group comprised of volunteers from a wide mix of nationalities and professions. We aim to stage a full season of TV style game-show nights and quizzes, musicals, plays, pantomimes and kids shows, at venues across Kuwait.
Do you have to have a great talent to be involved?
One of the strongest appeals of community theatre is that you don’t have to necessarily be a fantastic actor, incredible dancer or phenomenal singer to join. In fact, most of the people with whom you’ll be working will be much like you regardless of their age, gender, race, or home lives – normal people who just want the opportunity to whet their performing appetites and meet new friends.
So, it’s a great way to meet a new social circle?
Absolutely! Having a common interest means you have an instant connection with the group, and you’ll soon find yourself with a new set of friends and acquaintances. The type of work/play rapport that exists in community theatre creates incredibly strong bonds and will, without doubt, increase your social network.
What do volunteers get from participating in community theatre?
Becoming a thespian, director, stagehand, costumer, prop master or stage manager in a community theater group has far more intrinsic benefits than you probably ever realized. Of course it’s a huge amount of fun first and foremost. But, theatre is also a fantastic training ground for Teamwork, in just the same way that participating in a sport is. The group has to work together to meet a performance deadline and one wrong move can ruin a production, so everyone playing their part is essential. Members learn how to work as a team and lead teams and sub teams. Lessons that immediately translate into other areas of life.
Secondly, being on stage and in front of an audience is an amazing self-esteem boost. Some people gravitate toward the theatre during a low period of their lives. For instance, the recent divorcee who needs a change, and desires to meet people in a non-threatening environment. The awkward teen wants to be a part of a non-judgmental crowd. For those people (and others like them), they find a way to no longer be locked into their everyday existences; for an hour or two, they can be someone else. They can essentially live another life, one for which they may even receive accolades from fellow performers and onlookers.
Finally, most people involved in amateur dramatics find themselves becoming masters at juggling a number of different projects. They appreciate that they cannot let anyone down, so they work hard to manage their work/life balance. In this way theatre keeps their mind sharp as they study to learn lines and manage a busy schedule. It takes effort but is hugely rewarding; and everyone loves to hear the roar of the crowd on performance night. There is no greater buzz.
You make it sound like community theatre is life-changing?
The more you put into your theatrical experience, the more advantages you’ll receive. Getting involved in amateur dramatics won’t necessarily change your life, but it certainly has the potential to completely alter your perspective on life.
What’s next for SIK Productions?
We are currently in rehearsal for Mad Musicals, a staged concert of songs from stage and screen musicals to be staged this month, and our annual Christmas pantomime (a fun family show with lots of audience participation), which will be staged at the Performing Arts Centre in The English School, Salmiya in December.
Busy times! How can people get involved?
If people would like to join the SIK team in any capacity (we welcome all skills as community theatre needs seamstresses and singers, carpenters and choreographers, ASMs and actors!) you can contact us via our website (www.stagedinkuwait.com) or find us on facebook, twitter and instagram (@stagedinkuwait).