Above: White Christmas: Don’t we all love a piano? (Judy: Corinne Knight, Phil: Jonathan Caron). Photo by CP Colvin Photography
FCT’s significant involvement with the community and its professional approach to creative storytelling belie its deceptively small frame.
Many people familiar with Fauquier County know of the small, cinema-styled building in Vint Hill. It looks old, but there’s a timeless quality to it. It’s just been a fixed part of the community since the late 1970s. Commonly abbreviated as FCT, the small theater building on the hill is actually celebrating its 41st anniversary in the Fauquier County community this year. The Theatre has produced over 250 plays and musicals over the 41 years of its existence.
The current Co-Director of the establishment, Christie Clark, has been working here for the past ten years. Beginning with no prior background in theater or performing arts, Clark found herself falling in love with the community theater scene when she came to see one of FCT’s performances, but noticed that the building wasn’t selling out all of its tickets, despite having obviously talented players. Ever since then, Clark has handled all of the advertisement, the marketing, the ticket sales—everything that FCT needs in order to boost its attendance. It’s a numbers game from Clark’s angle—how many advertisements need to be sent out for a particular show, how many sponsors there are, and what expenditures need to be spent to get this show running. Just recently, she oversaw a $75,000 renovation to the building’s sound system and equipment, and will oversee another renovation for the lighting system in 2019.
The energy in the building is one of growth, of breathing new life into old bones. When asked about her favorite part of working with FCT, Clark stated, “I may be in the business end, but the thrill of helping to put live theater on the stage, seeing the work that goes into a production from stem to stern, and the gift that the audience receives by seeing a show in action – that makes everything worth it to me.”
Top Left: Fiddler on the Roof: Do You Love Me? (Tevye: Walter Loope, Golde: Margo Heine), Photo by Hunt Country Photography; Top Right: White Christmas: Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun (Judy Haynes: Corinne Knight, Betty Haynes: Danica Shook), photo by CP Colvin Photography; Bottom Left: Fiddler on the Roof: An old-world take on the Mamas & the Papas (The cast of Fiddler on the Roof); Bottom Right: Fiddler on the Roof: Marriage advice from beyond the grave! (Tevye: Walter Loope, Golde: Margo Heine, Fruma-Sarah: Barbara Szady)
Clark isn’t the only one with only good things to say about FCT. Hillary Pierce is a mother of nine children and a longtime contributor to the theatre – 12 years to be exact – having worked on plays either as an actress onstage or as a crew member backstage. Her entire family is involved in the arts; among her children is a mix of actors, actresses, and musicians, many of whom have worked alongside her previously in FCT performances. She stated, “Being involved with FCT has given me so much. Not only do I love the fun of creating characters and sharing great stories with the audience, but I’ve developed some of my deepest friendships with folks I’ve met through FCT. It’s also been a great way to do things with my husband and my kids, or even as an outlet for this mom to have some ‘me time’, depending on the show.”
More than anything, FCT is recognized as being an excellent provider of family entertainment for all generations of the family, whether that’s through allowing parents to escape the house to see a show for date night, or making it a family experience. FCT gives many kids in the community the chance to act when they might otherwise not have the opportunity. The theatre keeps itself busy training the new actors of the community through summer camps and youth development events. “Summer is devoted to the children,” Clark stated, with a hint of pride in her voice. Children who enroll in the summer camps are taught acting, costuming, stage work – everything that they may need to spark an interest that may keep for the rest of their lives. FCT works constantly with other local groups, including Fauquier Community Daycare, Allegro Community School of the Arts, the Warrenton Ruritan Club, and more, in an attempt to keep the torch burning bright for the next generation.
Left: HONK!: Play With Your Food (Cat: Scott Pierce, Ugly: Isaac Ballinger); Right: Into the Woods, Jr.: What you feel when you’re talking to your meal. (Little Red: Mary Ellen Underwood, Wolf: Ava Pastor)
This theatrical season is filled with several shows worth going to see. These included Steel Magnolias and She Loves Me last year. 2019 shows will include The Lion in Winter in January, As You Like It in March, and My Fair Lady in May. Clark is extremely excited to be showcasing My Fair Lady this spring, as it hasn’t been shown at FCT since 2003. The theater group has a tradition that no show may be performed more than once every ten years or longer. At first that seems sensible enough, but there’s also a pressure in that statement, an urgency to leave a good lasting impression, but also ensuring that the group moves on smoothly to new content after every show. The energy of new growth continues onward into the performances as much as it does into the building itself.
Many people who see FCT from a distance may not quite fully realize the impact that this place has had on the community and its residents. As a Warrenton resident myself, I can’t say how many people have mentioned a show at FCT that they just recently saw, and how much they enjoyed going to see it. The way that FCT has interwoven itself with the county community and its members is nothing short of remarkable. Similar to a childhood story where the main character discovers a house that is much larger on the inside than it appears on the outside, FCT’s work with the community and its approach to creative storytelling belies its deceptively small frame. It has encouraged growth and new life in the surrounding towns for 41 years now, and for all the work they do, I’m sure that they will stay for at least an easy 41 more.
There are many ways to get involved with FCT.
If you like to sing, act, design sets, or play in the orchestra, there’s a place for you! But there are many other opportunities, too. It is a great way to meet nice people, and work together to bring something good to the community.
- Pit Orchestra Musicians
- Directors and Music Directors
- Sound and Lighting Designers
- Set Designers
- Stage Managers
- Set Construction
- Box Office Staff
- Ticket Order Takers
- Reception Planners
- Sound Tech.
- Lighting Tech.
- Special Effects Tech.
- Board Members and Officers
- Newsletter Writers and Editors
- Special Events Coordinators
- Grant Writers
Auditioning for a show can be scary. Just remember that the directors all want you to do your best and succeed. We try our best to make the experience fun and a time to meet new people. But there are things that you should know. Each director for each show may need to see and hear things in a different manner. This means that you should check the audition announcement carefully. For a straight (non-musical) play you will probably be asked to do cold readings from the script. Occasionally, you may be asked to prepare a short monologue to perform. For a musical, you will be given some pretty specific information about selecting and performing your audition song. You may be given a type of song to perform, a way to perform (with or without accompaniment or tracks), and a time to come depending on your age range. You will generally be asked to learn a short dance routine with a group and perform that. The audition form and sometimes a rehearsal schedule is generally available online. These should be downloaded and completed prior to auditions. We love all our performers and hope that you will join us for a show in the future.
–Fauquier Community Theatre