Theatre: Under Appreciated or A Lost Cause?

February 14, 2016 1 By Bethanie
I can’t remember a time in my life where I haven’t been absolutely obsessed with the theatre, be it musicals or straight plays, I have always loved everything about the theatre. As far back as I can remember I have always been acting, dancing and singing. One of the fondest memories of my childhood was taking ballet & tap classes and taking part in the shows that came part and parcel with that. 

Something that I have never understood is why scarce few other people shared my enthusiasm for the theatre, throughout school it was always hard to find friends who shared my passion, with any drama class that I was a part of consisting of about 10 people at most, which has led me to wonder over the years is the theatre an art that is simply under appreciated or is it just a part of societies past that should be written off as a lost cause? I’m going with the first option, as the theatre, is definitely not a lost cause.
A trip to the theatre has always offered so much more than a trip to the cinema, sure a trip to the cinema is enjoyable, but why watch people prance around on a screen when the theatre offers something live that you can watch unfold right in front of your eyes, a show which yes other people can go and see also, but they won’t see the same performance as you, because every performance within the theatre is unique in it’s own way, a show is never performed in exactly the same way twice, which personally is one of my favourite things about the theatre, and is what brings me back to seeing the same shows over and over again, to see what may have changed. 
Secondly, the cast of both plays and musicals is ever changing, something that cannot be said about cinema, you could watch the same film twice per year and the cast of that film wouldn’t change, whereas you can watch the same piece of theatre twice in one year, and the cast is almost guaranteed to have changed, offering the audience a completely new interpretation of the performance, as each performer brings something new to the role.

The theatre is absolutely universal, theatre exists within every society in the world, in some form, and as human beings, we are the only animal species that creates theatre, and by understanding the theatre, it helps us to understand what it means to be a human. The theatre helps you understand how the environment that you live in, shapes what you will become, take for example, my favourite musical Phantom of the Opera, The Phantom grew up in a cold, unloving environment, he was kept in a cage as an attraction for others, with nobody caring about him or his well being, So The Phantom, then grows into a cold, controlling, angry and manipulative person because of this. Personally this show has taught me a lot about how to treat others and how to behave around others, as nobody wants to turn into The Phantom, right? (actually, this is a total lie, I’d love to be The Phantom, who wouldn’t though?). It has also taught me to question other peoples intentions though, as when looking at the relationship between the Phantom and Christine, you have to objectively ask yourself whether The Phantom truly does love Christine or whether he just loves controlling her, as if the Phantom truly loved Christine, would he behave how he does towards her in Act Two of the Musical.

CREATIVITY and SELF-EXPRESSION, theatre undeniably helps to improve our creativity in all aspects, from the wardrobe department, the set designers, the technical team, the composers, the orchestra to the stage performers themselves, Every aspect of the theatre requires some degree of creativity, so having the chance to witness this or even to be a part of this, is absolutely awe inspiring, as the amount of creative energy behind a piece of theatre is immense right from the start. Theatre is also perhaps the ultimate self expression, when watching a play, the lines that you hear the performer delivering is the playwrights self expression, the way that the performer delivers the lines is the performers form of self-expression. The theatre teaches us how to communicate our thoughts and feelings more effectively with others through a variety of mediums, it helps us to improve our relationships with others.

I truly believe that the theatre and my love of it has helped to make me a better person, through the wisdom that it has to offer, and also, I can personally think of no bad role models that have come from the theatre world, stars of the theatre world, very rarely get caught up in the same sort of things that the main stream celebrities get caught up in, but also, theatre performers have a work ethic and determination like no other, as it really does take A LOT to break out and make it in the theatre world. So also from that perspective introducing children to theatre can give them nothing but positivity, from enhancing their ability to self express, enhancing their creativity to giving them positive life role models.

So, to wrap this up, is the theatre a lost cause? I personally, think not, however, after reading the arguments above, only you can make your mind up on this one.

As always, thank you for reading.

Beth-Marie x