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Volunteer Spotlight: Roger Downer

September 6, 2017

What OCP Means to Me:

Volunteer Spotlight: Roger Downer

Each season, hundreds of people flood the backstage areas of the Omaha Community Playhouse. Instead of learning lines and memorizing dance moves, they take hold of ropes, memorize cues, operate spotlights, execute costume quick-changes, and tape out props. They dedicate hours and hours and HOURS of time and energy into making sure the magic onstage can go off without a hitch.  
Unlike actors, they rarely get to take a bow. It takes a special kind of person to do all of that. Roger Downer is one of those people. 
In 2014, Roger was looking for a fun volunteer opportunity, and decided to check out the Omaha Community Playhouse. Having no theatre experience, and not knowing anything about cues or cue books, let alone the ins and outs of the grueling work known as “tech week*,” Roger was a little nervous. The OCP staff was more than happy to have an extra helping hand. 
“The veteran crew and staff members provided all the training I needed to be one of the four spotlight operators for The Drowsy Chaperone. This was a great first musical for me that was fast-paced, funny, and had a wonderful cast and crew.”
But how does someone with no theatre experience even become interested in volunteering for an organization like the Playhouse? For Roger, the answer was dinosaurs.
“I first went to see a show, to see if it felt like a right fit for me. I saw Enron (2014) in the Drew Theatre, and was really impressed with the level of talent and quality of the production. And, a show with dinosaurs in suits was just the type of fun I was looking for.”
OCP Cast of Enron – 2014

In addition to all the volunteering Roger does, he still finds other ways to give back. “My employer, Travelers, supports my love of the theatre by encouraging employee involvement in the arts, education, and community development. They have generously matched my volunteer hours with grant contributions to the Omaha Community Playhouse. In return, I share my crew show tickets with my co-workers. It’s been a win, win, win opportunity.” 
What’s next for Roger? Another show, of course! 
“I’m thankful for the Omaha Community Playhouse and am excited to start my fourth season as a crew member for Mamma Mia! – returning to my home away from home. I’m looking forward to seeing my theatre family again.” 
Are you interested in volunteering as a crew member for the Omaha Community Playhouse? Click here for more details, or contact the Production Coordinator at (402) 553-4890 x 114. 
Would you like to continue to support the productions and programs of the Omaha Community Playhouse? Donate Now! Make your donation go further with your employer’s matching program!
What’s YOUR story? Do you have a story to share about how OCP has impacted you? If so, we’d love to hear it! E-mail Emily Andres, Development Director

*“Tech week” is the final week of production rehearsals, when all technical elements of a show, including costuming, lighting, sound, and set pieces, are hashed into the production along with actors and orchestra.