CLEVELAND — You’ve probably spotted them rushing around, ushering you to and from your seats at Playhouse Square.
The RedCoats are the unsung heroes of the theatre district, and they do the job with grace and pride.
They're a small army of volunteers, keeping the second-largest theatre district in America in tip-top shape and working to make your viewing experience the best it can possibly be.
The moment you step foot inside Playhouse Square — you’re immediately captivated by its beauty and architecture.
And within seconds, you’re ALWAYS greeted by one of the several bright and beaming RedCoats.
“Our volunteers are really the heart and soul," said Meg Colwell, Senior Volunteer Manager Playhouse Square.
The RedCoats are an institution and a tour guide to the live theatre experience.
Each has a story of their own and a clear passion for the arts.
“My Grandma was a red coat for 30 years here at Playhouse Square, and she had a sudden stroke in about 2017--and said will you take my spot?" said Jake Komar, a RedCoat volunteer.
“I thought this was an inner-circle club, and I come down to see a program —and I said gee I wish I could be one of those!" Said Donald Fedorchak, a RedCoat volunteer.
There's no secret inner-circle here--just a community of volunteers who want to see the theatre district thrive and make sure you are too.
“I enjoy watching the audience as much as I enjoy watching the people on stage," said Fedorchak.
They smile, check your tickets and help get you to where you need to be.
Inspired by his grandma’s service and the theatre scene, Brunswick native Jake Komar loves it so much he actually road trips in from Toledo twice a month for the gig.
“I’m a senior at University of Toledo. I am majoring in Nursing with a minor in Military Sciences and Leadership so I have an Army career. I’ve got a nursing career. I work in the cardiac floor and emergency room at Toledo Hospital," said Komar.
Retired teacher Donald Fedorchak has successfully made it his second act.
“I have worked over ten thousand hours in those 35 years," said Fedorchak.
But it doesn’t ever feel like work to the volunteers.
Playhouse Square is actively recruiting roughly 500 more RedCoat volunteers to help out with the one-thousand productions each year.
“You tell us what day, what shift, you want—daytime, evening. It makes it really, really easy!” said Colwell.
At peak pandemic, productions were put on pause and many RedCoats didn’t return to the job.
Now that case counts have improved and protocols are in place it’s back to lights, camera, action.
(And spoiler alert: as a RedCoat, you get to enjoy the shows too! )
“We need volunteers at every one of those programs to give directions, to seat, to hand out programs. It’s a critical part," said Colwell.
If you think you have what it takes to be a RedCoat—sign up here: https://www.playhousesquare.org/giving-support-main/volunteering/become-a-redcoat
Playhouse Square offers free parking to RedCoats
RedCoats must work at least two shows a month.
You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer on your own.
At age 16, you can do it alongside your parent or legal guardian.