Politics Impact Theatre, Whether You Want to Admit It or Not

Chris Peterson

  • OnStage Editor-in-Chief 

In January, I made a promise that OnStage would publish more stories about social awareness and how political decisions can impact our theatres and performers from Broadway to high schools.  

As expected, whenever we post anything remotely political, some of the response has been that we should only stick to talking about theatre and theatre only. In fact, I expect some of those types of responses to this column as well. So this one is for you. 

The theatre can be a safe space, but it's not a bubble. It can be a form of escapism but it cannot ignore what's going on outside its doors because eventually those issues are going to come knocking. And while onstage we might be Willy Lomans, Leading Players or Ado Annies, once we exit the stage and leave the confines of the theatre, we have to deal with what's going on in the world around us. 

No matter your political leanings, it would be dangerously naive to believe that decisions in Washington and local state houses and town halls have no impact on the world of theatre.  

Whether you want to admit it or not, political decisions over funding, taxation, healthcare, equal rights, etc, can have far reaching ripple effects that greatly impact your theatres and those are employed by them. 

Now I'm not asking you all to become activists(although that would be a huge help),  but I am asking you to pay attention. Leaders tend to make these decisions without really thinking about who they impact, so it's important that we do the legwork to know what the effects are. 

So here at OnStage we're going to keep bringing you the truth with the world going around you and how it impacts those on our stages and the theatre industry as a whole. But if you want to ignore that, block it out and refuse to evolve, there are plenty of other theatre sites who can provide that for you. I just hope you don't block out the world before it's too late and you're shutting the doors to your own theatre.