Thursday, 24 November 2011

Why Theatre?

I love Keynote speeches.  They’re a chance to hear from a pro about big thoughts, big ideas, and offers a chance for big check-ins.  Unless I’m not really listening, I always come away inspired, refreshed and excited to take on more challenges.

Daniel MacIvor came through, in droves.

During his PWI 2011 keynote speech, Daniel MacIvor talked about the special privilege we have as theatre makers.  We get to move people, affect them, and create with them.  And the best part is that we get to do it live.  Live theatre offers a chance to commune with every one in the audience, onstage, and backstage.  At its best, it works like a well-oiled-creative-communing machine; at its worst, adrenaline flares and panic sets in.  Either way, it’s energizing.  It’s aLIVE.

MacIvor asked “Why do theatre?” and it’s a good question.  We can get so wrapped up in our stresses of “I should be writing more,” “I need to make a living,” and “where the hell am I going to get a big chalk board, a taxidermy dog, and a fire dancer in the next 24 hours?” Sure, our deadlines are very real…but not so scary that we should ever forget why we’re doing this.

I do theatre because I love collaboration.  I love working with other artists (administrators are included here) that are so passionate and so good at their job that I can’t help but be in awe of them.  I also love to collaborate with audiences.  It’s a rare occasion, but when an audience really gets what you’re doing, is really moved by the event—there is no bigger pay off.  We’ve affected them, asked them to think about something, posed a question to them that they’re excited to talk about.

I’ve asked some other theatre artists to share their thoughts on “Why Theatre?” and this is what they said.

Tammy Roberts, Performer/Publicist
It's two distinct facets of one thing that drives me: Shared Experience.  I love standing on a stage feeling, thinking, and breathing with a live audience.  It's electric.  I also love getting under the skin of a character, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, acting as they would act ... sharing their experience.  When it really works, when everything connects, these shared experiences transcend the here and now -- and that's a phenomenal experience!

Jeremy Mason, Playwright/Performer/APN Board Member
Because it's hard. It's hard to choose a life where judgment is part of the game. It's hard to choose a life where you know you're not going to own a house. It's hard to choose a life where in economic uncertainty; you're "not needed". But those are the challenges that inspire me to succeed and continue creating, advocating and supporting theatre. I like being the underdog, because as an underdog you have more of an impact to inspire.

Thank you to Tammy and Jeremy for contributing, and thank you Daniel, for inspiring me to remember why I do it.

Why do you do theatre?

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