Moving to a new state can feel daunting. Even when you have a job locked down, all the sudden you find yourself in an unfamiliar area, surrounded by strangers. As Jason Caldwell found out, sometimes the easiest way to get acclimated to a new community is to simply dive right in.
And so, after moving to Georgia from Massachusetts in 2007, he sent out a few emails to the local theatre companies in the area, hoping to scratch the theatre itch he picked up in New England. Lionheart answered the call.
Jumping In Head First
Jason saw Lionheart as the perfect opportunity to get back on the stage. He first auditioned for Laughing Stock in 2007 and has been hooked ever since. Now if you go to the theatre, you may see Jason acting on stage, directing, producing, running light and sound, serving desserts, working the box office or just about any other duty imaginable. In addition, he oversees the Lionheart Art Center, scheduling shows and rehearsals, overseeing the gallery and simply making sure everything runs smoothly.
One of the biggest reasons Jason says he loves Lionheart is the dynamic within the theatre. If you have ever seen a TV show or movie in which a theatre company is shown, you may have noticed the clique-ish, snooty attitude amongst the troupe. Unfortunately, this mindset is all-too-common in many theatres — but not at Lionheart. The volunteers are always welcoming to newcomers, encouraging them to get involved. In fact, when Jason directs a show, he may take it a step further.
“If a veteran and a newcomer audition for the same part and are equally good, I will usually choose the newcomer,” he says. “It’s how you keep fresh blood in the theatre.”
Mixing Work and Theatre
When Jason isn’t volunteering at Lionheart, he is at one of two jobs. His main occupation is being a quality assurance software engineer for ShareCare, a health and wellness website cofounded by Dr. Oz. On the weekends, he is working at The Best of Brews, a local growler shop in Duluth. That, he says, is just for the fun of it.
The theatre itself has had a major impact on Jason’s personal life. He fell in love with his wife, Tanya, here. They married in 2010 and have been major components in the theatre since.
Reminiscing and Looking Forward
Jason says he has a couple favorite shows he has been a part of at Lionheart. His favorite acting part was in The Crucible, but he especially loved directing Dearly Departed, in which everything came together perfectly. He is especially excited about seeing the new production of Laughing Stock and the upcoming musical How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.
For anyone who has considered getting involved in theatre, he says Lionheart is a great place to be. Rehearsals follow a set time and schedule, and seldom run over two hours — a rarity in the theatre world. What’s more, he says, Lionheart respects volunteers’ time. They understand that this is a hobby, not a job. That’s one of the many reasons this theatre is so special.
Whether you crave the spotlight or want to be the one aiming it, Lionheart can always use more volunteers. For more information, contact us today!