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What do you do as producer for the summer teen camp?

Being producer of the summer program is equal to juggling many balls, all at the same time. As producer, I handle all the business and organization sides of the project. I help with schedules, ordering t-shirts, attendance, organizing the strike and cast party, and am the contact person between the project and the box office, parents, and participants. In addition, I also help with auditions, costumes, set, props, and helping the participants in anyway I can. These more creative jobs are my favorite of the summer.

When did you get involved with CLT?

I first became involved with CLT in 2010, when my daughter was in Willy Wonka, Jr.

Have you done any other positions at CLT?

I have been co-chair of hospitality, volunteered as an usher and house manager. I have run the light board for one show and assisted with sound for another. I have also been the props person for two shows. In addition, I have acted in two shows, something I never thought I would ever do.

After being producer for the past few years, what have you really enjoyed and what would you say can be a challenge when working with teenagers?

My favorite part of being producer is seeing the dedication and growth of our participants over the span of the camp and across the years as many of our participants come back year after year. To sit in the dark and watch the audience react to the final shows always makes me emotional because I am amazed by and proud of the shows each year. Although I was hesitant to switch from the youth program to the teens (I teach kindergarten in my other life so I was scared of the big kids), I have come to love working with the teens. I can’t think of a challenge that is even worth mentioning as the positives far outweighed any minor challenges we may have had.

What’s a show you’ve enjoyed working on and what’s one that you loved seeing?

There are so many shows that I have enjoyed working on. It’s difficult to pick just one. If I have to choose, though, I would say my first and last shows, Once on this Island and Anything Goes would be two of my favorite. I have also loved watching many, many shows at CLT but Aida and Adams Family are two of my absolute favorite.

What’s your life like outside of the theatre?

Outside of the theater, I am busy with my husband Chad and my children Jillian and Ethan. I am a kindergarten teacher and have been teaching for 20 years. My family and I enjoy camping, hiking, swimming, snowmobiling, and watching movies together. My husband and I also spend a lot of time being involved in all of our children’s varied activities.

If you could only listen to one musical soundtrack for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Wicked because the music is amazing. I get chills just listening to it.

How has CLT affected your life?

CLT has opened a whole new world for me and my family. I didn’t grow up in the theater community. I only became involved with the theater when my children started doing shows. The creativity, determination, pride, and friendships I have developed through CLT are something I will treasure for the rest of my life. By being involved at CLT, I have learned to do things I never even thought I would even want to do. I have met the most amazing people and opened my life to new experiences that made our world a little bigger, more creative, and better in so many ways.

Why do you think community theatre is an asset to our communities?

Community theater is an asset to our communities because of the opportunities it provides to everyone involved, from the volunteers to the patrons. It allows the actors and crew to be creative while giving the audience experiences they may never have had without community theater. Just as it did for me, community theater opens and enriches the lives of everyone involved whether they are acting, directing, dancing, producing or watching a show.

Our actors have the great privilege of being recognized for their work in the curtain call. But for each actor, there are many more people backstage moving sets, collecting props, balancing sound levels, adjusting lights, and just generally making the show happen. They are our Unsung Heroes. This month's "Unsung Hero" is Renee Mahon Davis, our wonderful artistic director!

Renee Mahon Davis - Artistic Director

What does being Artistic Director entail?

There are quite a few responsibilities as Artistic Director. One of the primary jobs include helping to select the shows for each season. I meet with a play reading committee who scour through scripts that have been submitted by CLT directors.

I also hold regular meetings with all of the CLT directors in which we discuss concerns or address issues. I report all of that information back to the Board of Directors.

Another major part of this position is to oversee the CLT Apprentice Program, which allows up and coming directors to learn the ins and outs of all aspects of a production. Soon-to-be directors must successfully serve as a stage manager, a producer, and an assistant director before that are able to direct a main stage production at CLT.

How long have you been involved with CLT?

This year is my 35th year with Community Little Theatre. My whole family joined when my sister and I auditioned for the musical Annie... my sister, Michelle was cast in the lead role. I was not cast at all. It’s a rather depressing story. But, hey, I’m still here!

My whole family stayed involved, both behind the scenes and on stage. My very first “role” was the sacrificial goat in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

What other roles have you performed in the theater?

I am also currently the chair of makeup at CLT. Behind the scenes I have directed, assistant directed, stage managed, produced and ran props. I was also a former Board member.

What are some of the challenges you face as Artistic Director?

Dealing with disagreements and conflict among directors is what I think is the biggest challenge. Another challenge is making sure directors have all the resources available for their production.

What’s your life like outside the theater?

I’m a busy mother to two wonderful boys: Noah will be a senior in high school and Connor will start middle school. Both are wonderful musicians, but have yet to really catch the theater bug (Connor is getting there, though).

I have been a Middle School social studies teacher and drama coach for over twenty years.

You’re seen often singing and/or acting in shows, any favorite roles?

On stage, I’ve had the opportunity to play lots of fun roles. My favorite role of all time was Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. I love to play the comedic roles if I can.

How has CLT affected your life?

This may sound cheesy, but CLT, played an enormous role in shaping who I am today. I mean, I was 10 years old when my family immersed itself into this theater family!

Most people don’t realize that I am an extreme introvert and quite shy in “the real world,” but onstage I can be absolutely anybody, and I always fully dive into whatever character I play.

Some of my oldest and dearest friends, who are really more like family, are from this theater.

If you could have the chance to be a part of any show, why would it be that show and what role would you want to fulfill?

I have two dream roles. One is Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. She is such a dark and sinister character...and so incredibly arrogant. A character like Lovett would allow me to play both comedy and drama...not to mention, I would be singing Sondheim.

My second dream role is Anna from The King and I. I am a huge Rodger’s and Hammerstein fan. While it’s not the typical comedic role I would usually try out for, the character encompasses a passion that I would love to be able to explore on stage someday.

Why do you think community theatre is an asset to our communities?

Well, the word “community” is right in our name. I remember years and years ago, there was a committee formed to consider changing our name because some members felt the name “Community Little Theatre” gave off a negative vibe...that we were just a rinky-dink group putting on low-quality shows when compared to the other theater groups in the state.

Well, people who have seen our shows can attest to the fact that we put on some pretty high quality productions. Over the years, our organization has participated in parades, festivals, and trade shows. We have offered workshops, scholarships and celebrations. For nearly 80 years, this theater has embodied all for which the word community stands.