Community theatre has something for everyone, especially with the newly founded nonprofit Charitable Acts Theatre in the Heber Valley. From Kristin Chenoweth to Hugh Jackman, many of our favorite actors got their start breaking legs in community theatre. However, involvement isn’t limited to those who dream of stardom. Whether a busy mom looking for some “me time” or an underwhelmed office worker seeking a creative outlet, there is a role for all, both on and off the stage.
The founder of Charitable Acts Theatre, Carrie Zabaldo, wanted to make a difference beyond the stage. Growing up in Twin Falls, Idaho, Zabaldo participated in community theatre as a kid. In addition to learning performance skills, she adopted the values of teamwork, creative thinking and, most profoundly, empathy. When Carrie and her husband, Nathan, moved to Utah during the COVID pandemic, their philanthropic spirit was overwhelmed by the sheer number of causes that deserved support. “There are too many worthy causes to count,” she said.
With a wealth of experience, Zabaldo returned to her roots and came up with a brilliant idea: She would blend top-notch community theatre with a hefty dose of giving back. Their dream was to unite cast, crew and patrons for one cause. “There is so much need in the Heber Valley. We want to bring awareness and raise as much money as we can for each one of these issues,” said Zabaldo.
In 2021, she launched Charitable Acts Theatre to provide excellent community theatre experiences that inspire people in the community to give what they can to help others. The result isn’t just great shows — it’s a sense of unity and pride. Each production donates 100% of ticket sales to a nonprofit in the community. Not only does this effort provide vital financial support to various organizations, but it also shines a bright spotlight on these causes.
To date, Charitable Acts Theatre has staged two productions, with the curtain going up on
the next performance in June. The first, Steel Magnolias, raised $5,000 for the cancer nonprofit The Horse of Many Colors. The follow-up dark comedy, Arsenic & Old Lace, nearly tripled its impact by contributing $12,348 to Community Action Services and Food Bank, which has a food pantry in Heber City. They worked closely with the benefitting organizations to ensure the funds stayed locally in the community.
April Thiede played Clairee in Steel Magnolias and appreciated the opportunity to help a local cause that helps families affected by similar circumstances portrayed in the play. “It truly was an honor to help share this author’s family story and step into the lives of these amazing women,” she said.
One of the most special aspects of community theater is that it genuinely accommodates
everyone who wants to participate. Even the patrons are powerful contributors to the overall purpose, and audience members know that every penny they spend on their tickets will benefit the charitable cause chosen for that play. As they are entertained, the audience will be helping ease the burdens of those with cancer, providing for foodinsecure
families, or serving one of the other much-needed nonprofits in our community.
With such a heartwarming mission, Charitable Acts Theatre deserves a standing ovation. If you are eager to learn more about Charitable Acts Theatre or to make a financial contribution, visit charitableactstheatre.org. Together, we can make each and every show count. Encore!