Irecently saw someone post on social media that we needed some kind of theatre opportunity in Opelika, and I was pretty surprised that the poster hadn’t heard of the Opelika Theatre Company (OTC).

OTC was founded in 2015 by several friends who thought a community theatre would be a tremendous benefit to Opelika. They put their heads together, formed a board, became a 501-c non-profit and have been producing fantastic musical and theatrical productions, utilizing the Southside Center for the Arts, ever since. Over the past seven years, OTC has grown by leaps and bounds, but the core group who envisioned a theater that invited the entire community to participate in, is still going strong.

Productions have included dramas such as Daddy’s Dyin’ — Whos Got the Will, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Steel Magnolias, musicals like Godspell and Nunsense, children’s productions like Adams Family Jr. and Disney’s Descendants and have produced many audience interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre experiences. Over the years, children’s theatre classes, musical showcases and a children’s theatre summer camp have been developed.

Recently Opelika Theatre Company participated in the Global Community Theatre Event — All Together Now, joining thousands of community theaters across the world and partnered with R.E.A.C.H and the NAACP/ACT-SO to present a fantastic Black History Month Showcase.

I must admit, I’m a little partial to OTC, I call it — The Little Theatre Company That Could.

Its first production used a borrowed script, props that members found in their closets because they didn’t have two nickels to rub together and pulled off a very entertaining Murder Mystery called Creature Feature at The Irish Bred Pub.

In fact, this August it will stage NEWSIES, Disney’s smash Broadway hit. I’ve seen a few practice videos and once again am so thoroughly impressed with the talent and dedication found in Opelika and the surrounding communities. And it is presenting another Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre in May, written by an Opelika native. How’s that for local talent.

There are so many different opportunities to get involved, from set building and painting, helping make costumes and find props, working with the lighting and sound, keeping things running smoothly backstage and even just helping with the concession stand. OTC has a knack for finding a person’s talents and nurturing them. And it’s fun, there is just something about being involved in something bigger than yourself. And then. The absolute thrill of hearing the words “Please take your seats, the show is about to begin” and knowing that you had a small role in bringing a diverse group of people together to present a complete, professional quality show, well, you just have to experience that for yourself. There just isn’t anything like it. These volunteer opportunities are part of what makes Opelika special, the willingness of people from all walks of life to chip in, to help where needed, we truly are ‘Better Together’. 

 And speaking of memorization skills, O-ACTS is OTCs Children’s Theatre Academy. These classes teach valuable life skills like public speaking, memorization and working as a team. Lifetime friendships are formed while building self confidence, advancing reading skills and being introduced to various forms of performance arts. And it is all done through theatre activities like learning basic tap steps, character development, script writing and even learning how to direct a show. How useful is that for children. Leadership skills are taught. The classes are broken down into age groups, and the skills being taught grow as the children do. There is also a week-long summer theatre camp offered.

I suppose I’m writing to the paper somewhat selfishly, I enjoy the many things Opelika Theatre Company offers and hope this brings more awareness to those who didn’t know about this gem in Opelika. I would love to see it continue to grow and thrive for many years to come.

Just thought readers should know,

Renee Messing