- OnStage New Zealand Columnist
There seems to be some sort of misunderstanding, misconception, misinformation; a chunk of the world seems to have missed the point and the relevance of theatre.
They seem to be oblivious to just how important, essential and vital performing arts are.
I’m frustrated annoyed and rather put out by this. Are we becoming living examples of ‘The Theatre of the Absurd’ where we are striving to express sense from the senselessness? It makes no sense to not revere, acknowledge or recognise the importance of performing arts as both a stand-alone entity and a means of expression and technique that is woven through our everyday lives.
I never met a person who has not benefited from involvement in performing arts, whether it be backstage, onstage, audience or techniques learned and applied to life.
Creators when they create learn and grow. Technical people develop skills and make everything better. Everyone learns about social engagement in one way or another and of course audiences observe, learn and critique.
The necessity of the theatrical experience, in all it’s form and genre, is just as vital today as it has been over the past 4000 years. We humans are often mystified with how and why we do what we do, we are lost in the complex world of what is right, wrong, satisfying and what gives us status and affirmation amongst the people we interact with.
Research clearly shows we need theatre to make meaning from our own lives, learn new communication skills and deal with complex emotions as a much as we need the entertainment, distraction and stress release. Theatre inspires us with social commentary, wit, tragedy and pure creativity. Theatre stimulates imagination to create and develop successful interactions with others. Positive and successful relationships are the key to a happy life. We need creativity, we need new ideas. I would dare to say that we have never been so in need.
Any career path that involves interaction with people will benefit from a person with a theatre education or experience.
The technological revolution has not been able to successfully replicate this crucial form of expression and communication. It is indeed a tragedy that theatre is having to fight for it’s existence within communities and our education system.
Sadly the credibility of the performing arts is diminishing both within local community and education.
Education MUST provide the theatre experience as it is essential to the holistic development of children and young adults. Society needs a platform to view and express human behaviour in a removed or safe way so that we can better negotiate the challenges and successes that come our way in real life. Performing arts should not need to fight for it’s place in education as valid and essential.
Whether you’re performing, observing, building skills or purely enjoying theatre, it is essential to the development, maintenance and enhancement of our society and I daresay will be forever more.
I shall be writing more about this with examples…..theatre gives life to life!