All The World’s A Stage

As young as 12 years old, Terry LeCompte dreamed of a future that included being an artist or an educator. Today, as co-founder of Community Stages with her husband, Jim Foster, Terry has found a way to combine both of her loves into a successful business and community program.

Written By Karin Fabry-Cushenbery

At just a few months old, Community Stages is still in its early development, but it’s already made quite an impact on the community. A theater arts organization that offers a variety of acting, singing, performance and even public speaking and communication classes, Community Stages is shaping up just how Terry envisioned—as an organization that creates a means of communicating entertaining and enlightening stories throughout the community.

Photo courtesy of Community Stages

“When it comes to impactful storytelling, the magic lies within the tellers of the story,” says Terry. “We can touch lives, provide entertainment and stir social consciousness in all spaces—in a park or in a theater. That’s one of the meanings of community stages—theater for all the stages of life.”

Currently, Community Stages classes are offered at Chelsea Arts Center, and performances are performed on stages throughout the area. Terry has collaborated with many arts and community organizations, including the Marion County Public Library, the Appleton Museum and Ocala Recreation and Parks, where they are planning to host a story walk at Scott Springs Park on April 13.

“We will host three to five mini plays along the course of a walk around Scott Springs Park,” says Terry. “As the audience moves to a new station they will see a new story, some will be adaptations of international folklore you are familiar with, and others will be new stories you’ve never heard.”

Community Stages offers skill-building opportunities, including a Family Playhouse class for kids ages 5 to 9 with an accompanying adult, plus an audition-based performance class called the Trunk & Trek Troupe for kids 12-18 and homeschool classes for kids ages 8-11. Group classes, as well as one-on-one instruction are offered with Terry, who came to Ocala from New York where she acted and sang professionally for 15 years. Greg Doss serves as the organization’s music director and educator.

As of right now, Community Stages offers two terms during the school year which average about 10 weeks of classes each. Auditions for the performance troupe for spring will be held January 4 and 11. Terry also has plans to add adult performance classes along the way. Students can register for classes and auditions online.

“Developing theater skills through training and practice strengthens the interpersonal skills of people of all ages,” says Terry. “Stronger verbal and nonverbal communication, creative problem solving, collaboration and cooperation build a person’s confidence and ability to lead. This lays the foundation for success to be built on in all professions. It’s wonderful to see my students over the years have successful performing arts careers. It’s equally rewarding to see them as educators, media specialists, lawyers and nurses. People of any age benefit from further developing these skills, and I delight in the creative development of everyone.” 

Community Stages

(352) 707-8243