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Community Theater
100921-F-6593P-004 SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Michelle Clegg and Sunny Prescott Maldonado rehearse for Shaw community theatre's production of Just Desserts, a murder mystery dessert theatre show at the community center, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 21, 2010. Shaw community theatre performs several different shows every year, with auditions and performances open to all. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Phelps (Released))
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Volunteering: Involvement in theater

Posted 9/29/2010   Updated 9/29/2010 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Senior Master Sgt. Bob Sullivan, USAF (Ret.)
Shaw Community Center

9/29/2010 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- I believe we all have a responsibility to leave our world a little better than we found it. I do that through volunteering. Whether it's theater or not, get out there and do some something you are passionate about. Make Shaw a better place to live and work.


Here's my story:

As a young Airman, I was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, Ha. and was invited to attend a production of a play called, "Guys and Dolls" by a friend of mine. At the time, I had no idea what theatre was or what to expect. I was totally blown away by the experience. I acquired a passion for theatre by that and it continues to this day.
Since that time, I have been involved in numerous military and civilian theater programs around the world from Hickam to Osan Air Base, Korea, Columbus AFB, Miss. and Patrick AFB, Fla.

It took a few years, however, to work up the courage to step up on to the stage. That finally happened here with a group called Theatre '78. Appropriately enough, the show was, "Guys and Dolls." It was just a small part in the opening scene, but from that point I was hooked.

Live theater has been part of the Shaw scene off and on for the past 40 years. The program went by several names. For a few years it was known as Theatre '77, Theatre '78 and Theatre '79.

I guess when they got tired of changing the name every year they began calling it Theatre by the Lake.

In 1990, I retired from the Air Force and moved to Sumter, S.C. Immediately I began to inquire about theater. Although it had been dormant for a few years, we were able to revive the theater program and Shaw Community Theatre, as it is know now, was born.
Our most recent production was "Just Desserts," an interactive mystery theater program. It was a great experience being involved with this production. I learn more about theater with every production I am involved with.

I have made so many life-long friendships that have come from my involvement with theater, and those I met through this production are on that list.

The benefits of theater are endless. Through stage drama, you can become anyone, anywhere at any time. You can shed inhibitions, overcome shyness, develop speaking skills and increase your self-confidence and self-esteem.

You will develop sensitivity and a deeper understanding of others, as well make new friends. By understanding the dynamics of theater you will develop a deeper understanding of yourself, your world and those around you. A flair for the dramatic can offer a variety of career options, both on and off the stage. Training in acting and theater craft can lend itself to the careers one usually thinks of: an actor, performer or stage manager, but it also provides valuable skills applicable in many fields.

So, how can you become involved? It's simple. Just call the Community Center at 895-3382, and tell them you want to begin your theater experience. Not interested in acting? There are numerous opportunities for you to help; set design and construction, makeup, stage manager, props, costumes and the list goes on.

7/6/2011 7:22:15 AM ET
The theatre group was initially called theatre 77 when I was there in 1978 under director Ellen Shepard. I returned to Shaw for a 2nd tour in 1981 and the name of the theatre group was changed to the Shaw Stage Company. During those early years we had a great relationship with the Sumter Community theatre and many of the group members would help each other's group. If anyone has any questions about that era contact me at
Robert Johnson, Europe
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