Theatre as Community
Welcome to blog series, “Theatre as…”. In this series, I will demonstrate the multiple ways theatre can be used as a tool for education, restorative practice, and simply, life. Throughout my lifetime, I have had the opportunity to experience theatre for entertainment and enjoyment, but also beyond the stage, as a means for change; those experiences are the ones I will be reflecting upon in my series.
Theatre has functioned as an “Island of Lost Toys” for the common misfit everywhere. In high school, I found that the theatre provided a safe space for people from all walks of life. If the world saw you as a weirdo or an outsider, you were probably in drama club. But aren’t those the best kind of people? Theatre as an art form is so wide-reaching because the community itself is so accepting of others. Shows and characters connect us with our innermost thoughts and fears.
What helps to establishes theatre as a welcoming community, is that there is no specific type of person who fits its mold. This (partly) comes from the multiple roles one can take to be a part of a production: tech kid, stage manager, director, actor, costumer, spotlight-er, each part as essential to the mechanics and inter-workings of the production as the lead player. Each department, each person, is dependent on one another to produce an excellent production. (This is why tensions run so high during tech week.)
Working together, even if with complete strangers, towards a larger goal of communicating your message establishes a sense of passion and urgency. There is an intimacy in creating art that bonds people like nothing else. I have been a part of classes, improv troupes, and cast shows and in each situation, I had to devise theatre with others. Each situation, no matter the group, I have established strong friendships as a result of our shared goal: to create.
Theatre may be a community of oddballs from the outsider perspective, but from personal experience, the people I have met through theatre have been the funniest, most accepting, and genuine people I know. Where would we be without our dreamers and doers? Without visionaries who see the world as song and dance? Surely, the world would be a boring place without us weirdo’s.