Stop the Bashing Within Our Theatre Communities

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  • Halle Schmitt

When looking back on where you first found your love for theatre, you can’t help but be sentimental. In other cases, it might not be that nostalgic. Whether it was backstage drama that went on, typical political based decisions, or opinion differences, that organization or theatre group might’ve left a bad taste in your mouth. One thing that I have seen a lot more often around my theatre community is that people are bad mouthing their first theatre community. Sometimes we don’t realize that other people in our theatre circle are listening to what we have to say about different topics. Including this one which has so much to do with how we are viewed by others, especially potential directors you might work with in the future.

Here’s an example.

After completing my move to Idaho from California, I was still figuring out if theatre was for me. Yes, I had performed in school plays before moving, but I wanted to be involved in more. Being a shy nine-year-old, I didn’t think that was possible. Finally, at the age of fifteen, yes… fifteen, I grew the confidence to branch out and join a theatre group for children. The experience was everything that I thought it would be and more! After completing my first show with them, I was ecstatic to keep going to classes they would offer and to keep auditioning for their different productions. During the period between show sessions, political decisions were made, and opinions were stated. They had let go of a critical aspect of their success. A lot of current students, parents, and volunteers made the choice to leave the organization. I stayed because I knew I that I had found my theatre family and I had grown in my craft all thanks to the fantastic teachers and mentors. Unfortunately, the people who left started making a big mess with their words around the theatre community. Certain things were said, more feelings were hurt, and friendships were ended.

It’s sad when events like these happen, it affects everyone. With situations like these, it’s fast to think of the negative rather than positive outlooks. One thing might’ve not gone the way you’ve personally wanted it to but don’t let that one thing ruin the memories. Don’t bash where you started because of one decision. That special place helped you grow in what you now do as a profession or maybe just for fun. We all started somewhere, it’s not professional to put down your first theatre family. Take the good memories instead of the bad and be careful of who just might be listening. It may affect your casting in the future.