Cirque Professional Volunteers at The Smith Center

Community Impact

Scott Clish is no stranger to bringing people wonder and awe.

From his college days operating rides at Disneyland, to working 19 years with wardrobe and costuming for Cirque du Soleil’s “O” at the Bellagio, Clish has developed a strong passion for creating a world full of magic for others.

This ties directly to why the theater professional has volunteered regularly since 2013 at The Smith Center, a nonprofit that relies on volunteers to help support its operations.

April is National Volunteer Month, and Clish knows more about volunteer opportunities at The Smith Center than most, after donating 170 hours of his time in just 2016 alone.

“With all my years in entertainment, the majority has always been behind-the-scenes, so there’s been a disconnect with the public that’s actually coming in,” Clish explains. “Being able to see the look of awe and excitement on the faces of Smith Center guests, being able to introduce people to new ideas and thoughts, that’s why I volunteer.”

Sharing The Smith Center’s Secrets

Clish regularly volunteers as a Smith Center docent, giving tours of the venue’s history and secrets.

This is fitting for a backstage master such as himself, overseeing 4,000 costume pieces as well as makeup needs for 104 performers for “O.”

He also takes pride in introducing community members to their world-class performing arts center.

“I really enjoy associating with the public, especially when they’re doing something they want to do. It’s not like going to the dentist,” he says. “People are choosing to have an enjoyable experience, and I enjoy being a part of that.”

Paying It Forward

Without a doubt, Clish’s favorite volunteer activity is assisting with student matinees, which The Smith Center hosts for tens of thousands of local students throughout each year, at no cost to schools.

“It’s wonderful to actually see the wonder and amazement of children coming in to The Smith Center for the first time, looking at the Grand Lobby, seeing the magnitude of this project,” he says.

Clish considers this passing on the precious entertainment experiences he treasured as a child.

Raised in Anaheim, California, his childhood included occasional invitations from his mother to visit Disneyland instead of going to school.

He still remembers deciding on a career in theater when he was just 7 years old, watching a musical presentation about General Electric at Tomorrowland.

“It was a story and song I wanted to see and hear, again and again,” he says. “It was an experience I needed to be a part of. I was hooked, and my 7-year-old self wanted to be able to tell stories the same way.”

Clish hopes that through his volunteering, other children will find their dreams, too.

“I volunteer at The Smith Center for every 7-year-old, at once alone, but at once together, who just figured out what they want to do when they grow up,” he says.

How to Volunteer

Volunteers help in many ways at The Smith Center, including ushering at performances, giving docent tours and providing information at various community events. Click here to learn more about becoming a Smith Center volunteer.