The Future of Community Ensemble Theatre


Sam Major, former CET stage manager, puts her earbuds in while preparing for the show.

Felicity Rosa-Davies playing Fastrada in the production of “Pippin” in the spring of 2022.

Community Ensemble Theatre (CET) is constantly thinking about the future.

One of the most prominent aspects that CET thinks about when it comes to their future is their freshmen. The training of freshmen, for the most part, happens in crew. For “Cabaret”, freshmen Mallory Towers stepped in as Assistant Stage Manager and Paige Plavnick is training to become Student Tech Director.

CET director Emily Wilson-Tobin has noticed that due to the pandemic, some freshmen are entering CET despite never having been in a theater setting before.

“We don’t all come to [CET] speaking the same language anymore, so that’s one of the things I’ve had to remind myself of with the ninth graders as they’re starting to come through the program,” Wilson-Tobin said. “Sometimes we have to actually take a step back and really review some of the vocabulary and terminology in theater.”

Wilson-Tobin has also been thinking of other ways CET can change in the future, not just through the people but also through the theater itself.

King Charles and his army in the production of “Pippin” in the spring of 2022.

CET uses the Craft Theater which is a black-box theater, meaning that it can be used in different ways.

Wilson-Tobin has thought about if the audience were seated in a different area of the theater then what they normally do.

“I’d love to put the audience on the stage so they can look down at the action happening on the floor,” Wilson-Tobin said.

Wilson-Tobin has also thought about moving a specific show to a different theater not in the Craft, taking CET on the road or even going to festivals or competitions.

Emily Wilson-Tobin and Sarah Hechler converse about the production of “She Kills Monsters” during the fall of 2021.

“I got a question the other day if we always have to do shows in the Craft or if we can go somewhere else. I have never really thought about that before, but I think we aren’t necessarily tied to the Craft,” Wilson-Tobin said.

Five years from now, Wilson-Tobin believes that she will have a stronger understanding of what the crew is doing and how she can make sure they have all of the information they need to create a great performance. She thinks that maybe five years from now, shows will fit differently into the calendar as they do now.

Overall, in the future, Wilson-Tobin wants to take more risks.

Stage Manager Stella Valentino during the production of “She Kills Monsters” in the fall of 2021.

“[The future] is a place for me to take artistic risks, because in a school program like CET there’s a community of people that support, are interested in and are adept at taking risks,” Wilson-Tobin said.

Through CET as a whole, Wilson-Tobin believes that in the future they will continue to strive for excitement, an ongoing spirit of being inclusive and cast and crew taking the work seriously.

A glance into the near future of “Cabaret,” Wilson-Tobin is excited about the talented actors she saw at auditions, callbacks and the final cast list. She is looking forward to the audience being somewhat on stage during the show and actors having the chance to interact with them more.

No one knows what exactly will happen in the future of CET, but the thought of the future is persistently existent.