Is Theatre obsolete?

Now, as much as I love theatre – I can’t help but question it. Especially when looking at political theatre. Do people still listen to theatre as a force of change? Does it influence people’s opinions. Does it still work in the same way it did – When Stanislavski changed it into what it is today? Or has it become an nonentity?

With Theatre rapidly being replaced by Media and Social networking – Who’s to say that it won’t become obsolete within the next few years? People go to the cinema often, and watch TV weekly, if not everyday. But how many of you can say that you’ve been to the theatre within the last 2 months? Or better yet – seen a political play within the 6? Theatre is a rapidly declining form of entertainment- especially as it is not as accessible as TV or film.  Theatre is expensive. To go to, to run, to be a part of. Shows in the west end are popping up and closing as soon as they turned up.

And when people do go to the theatre – the most common things are pantomimes or big commercial musicals – which as an art form – are brilliant. But they are a minority in the larger world of theatre. How many of you can say – if you’ve been to London – that you’ve seen a show in the royal court theatre – one of the leaders of theatre in the western world? How many of you can say you’ve been to the Apollo Theatre where Wicked plays? Or any equally as commercial musical? The numbers will be far greater – and I can’t talk. I haven’t seen a show at the Royal Court- however I have seen countless number of musicals – including Wicked.

…However. Theatre has survived so far. During depressions and economic crisis, one would think theatre would be the first to go, and theatre stayed strong – people thrived on theatre as a source of propaganda and hope in a time of need. I think this is because it provides a sense of community. When you are all gathered there to see a show. It provides an atmosphere that media cannot provide. And it has more influence than one might think. Seeing actual people on stage perform these stories – or even the words of real people, if looking at Verbatim theatre – it connects to the audience in a way that other art forms don’t. And in that way – influences people in what they think, and how they act in society.

Theatre isn’t obsolete and is actually thriving in our society – tackling relevant problems all the time- showing our society in a way that we will receive it and make us want to change it.  The classics stay timeless – and the contemporary stay modern and fresh.

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality
but a hammer with which to shape it.”

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