The ACTS Theater
By Nikki Sue Alston
A Brief History
ACTS Theater is the only original theater building from the last century still standing in Lake Charles and one of the anchor sites for the newly created Nellie Lutcher Cultural District. Its original function was a movie theater built around 1917, but ACTS has occupied the space since 1982. While taking a tour of the place, I was warned of a few spirits who live in parts of the theater (friendly for the most part). It was a surreal experience being able to see the old projectors and wiring from its silver screen days. Seeing the vintage bones of the building feels like you’re going back in time.
What is ACTS Theater?
ACTS Theater Lake Charles is a nonprofit community theater, and by community they don’t mean the size or production value of the show, they mean the people of the Lake Area are the heart and soul of this theater. ACTS relies on community support in every way. Every person in the production from tech, actors, stage hands, costume designers, etc. are volunteers. They heavily rely on the community to support the shows through donations (monetary, time, and/or skills) and ticket sales, ensuring production for current show and those to follow.
There Are No People Like Theater People (Figuratively)
Each play or musical is picked by the Selection Committee, consisting of a diverse group of people; members, actors, producers, etc. They feel very strongly that if they cannot do the production justice, they will do not even attempt to do it. Although ACTS is a community theater, they put on professional quality productions. Their current production, Aida, is a riveting story of forbidden love between the Egyptian leader Radames and the beautiful Ethiopian princess Aida. Aida is captured and forced to be a slave to the Pharaoh's daughter, who is also in love with Radames. This production will be unique in that there will be live musicians on stage during the play, most theaters use recordings during productions.
The cast and crew come from all walks of life, some have formal training, and others just came once to see what it was about and never left! Each production hosts a new cast, unique in that the same talent will not always be the lead, showcasing the infinite talent our community has to offer.
I asked if anyone was welcome to join the theater and the answer was “OF COURSE”! ACTS Theater wants the Lake Area to know that they can showcase talent all day long, but the results are always because of the volunteers. Their door is always open. Anyone can audition, anyone can join the crew, and anyone and everyone is accepted. No formal training required, only enthusiasm and a desire to be a part of the big picture. By the closing night of each performance, the bond that grows between the techs, stage hands, directors, producers, and actors makes them like family. The success of one becomes the success of them all. There truly are no people like theater people!
What Is This? Their 48th Season? Yes.
The current production, Aida, will be the last production of their 48th season, Friday May 22 at 7:30, Saturday May 23 at 7:30 and the final matinee Sunday May 24 at 3:00. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (65+), and $15 for students with school ID (includes college). They may be purchased online at www.actstheatre.com.
If you happen to miss Aida, have no fear! ACTS Theater will have a murder mystery dinner fundraiser set for September 17 at L’auberge, details will be posted on their website. Sponsor tables are available now at the $3,500 and $2,000 levels. Those sponsors at the $3,500 level will have a small part in the show! For more information, call Diane Flatt at 478-918-6081. The 49th season kicks off on October 17 with Guys and Dolls, the classic tale of gamblers, showgirls and straight-laced missionaries set in Times Square.
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