Theatre, dead? Surely not!

Been to the theatre recently? The likelihood is probably not especially if you’re not a middle aged, middle class, white, male. It can be argued that the theatre is just as elitist as ever, especially in the current economic climate. Going to the theatre can be an expensive and slightly daunting task. From the outset the theatre seems to have lost the battle to other art forms most evident is the cinema. However, the curtains haven’t yet closed on the theatre.

Theatre is a changing art form. It is continually developing and moving with the times. A great example is the Edinburgh festival, which displays so many inventive theatre performances that are using modern technology to appeal to a younger audience.

Theatre has unfortunately, and unfairly attained negative connotations due to its perceived old-fashioned style and continuous link to Shakespeare. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Shakespeare really comes alive on stage. However, it must be brought to attention that there are so many young exciting theatre companies gaining real momentum. These groups are moving away from the end-on theatre and using different staging techniques such as site-specific, where the performance takes place out of the theatre.

The techniques mentioned above are most certainly bringing theatre alive to a wider audience and although there is a long way to go, surely theatre will never cease to exist.

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21 thoughts on “Theatre, dead? Surely not!

  1. Taken measure for measure, all this talk about theatre being elitist and expensive is much ado about nothing.

  2. joejames93 says:

    hahaa yes! You get it! Which is unlike the majority of people, especially young people! But then again from your picture you appear to fulfil the stereotype that I identified. That said your point is still valid. On another note is that a little pun in there? (much ado about nothing) I hope so 🙂

  3. The pun was the whole point! 🙂

  4. I couldn’t stand Shakespeare. In high school we had a couple teachers who ruined it for me. But then I saw Macbeth in theater and what a difference. Twenty years later, I still love the theater and yes I love Shakespeare too.

  5. joejames93 says:

    Brilliant! This is what I love about theatre, it really is accessible to all! Shakespeare writes for the stage which is often forgotten and if only people went they would see a whole different side to the old guy 🙂
    @ian sorry hahaa it was a good one as well- I still hope you meant what you said though. The theatre tops cinema in my book any day

  6. I am more of an opera buff than straight up theater, but I take your point and agree with it. Theater’s strength is its ability to change and adapt and reflect cultural issues. I like that in theater as a writer and I like how people respond to that dynamic. 🙂

  7. joejames93 says:

    The theatre provides the spectator with a chance to really have their own opinion and viewpoint without judgement. I am embarrassed to say I have never been to an opera which is disgraceful but I’m young and hopefully there’s plenty of time yet. Opera and theatre are two pees in a pod-they both challenge and debate cultural norms with a unique beauty. Can the theatre ever die? No. Can it’s audience ever die? Yes, most probably.

  8. tessf says:

    My favorite moment at theater came during a scene from The Tempest. ..an outdoors in the park in the round thing.
    The actor playing drunk Stefano came and sat in my lap. ..
    Four. . . legs?
    Four legs and two voices: a most delicate monster!
    It was delightful and plus he was cute! 🙂

  9. @joe: I love the theatre too, but don’t feel the cinema is a step down when I go. You have to choose the right cinema before choosing to see which film. That starts with a huge wide screen, perfect sound and comfortable seating. Another angle for me is language: if it’s dubbed, forget it.

  10. Neeru says:

    Lovely thoughts! It’s sad to see that theatre is loosing its charm in modren times. Cinema is taking over. !!!Sad!!!

  11. joejames93 says:

    @tessf You don’t get that anywhere other than the theatre! Funnily enough I was at the Theatre yesterday watching I Malvolio staring Tim Crouch, who is fantastic. I ended up on stage tying up Crouch’s shoes which was brilliant!
    @Ian yeah I suppose I have to agree and appear slightly hypocritical as I am a bit of a sucker for an epic film. I’m with you on that, if it’s dubbed it loses so much.
    I saw Warhorse at the National and that was a great performance but I can’t understand why they would make it into a film. The puppetry was amazing and one of the reasons why the production was so loved. To use real horses in a film would somehow lose something, maybe only for me as I went to see it on stage. Theatre vs Film. It’s a difficult one. I suppose it’s not how they work in opposites but how they can work together, there’re both great art forms.

    • tessf says:

      I was fortunate enough to travel overseas for my senior undergraduate year. ..studied Shakespeare at Oriel Collage Oxford. It was such a memoraable summer. I saw MacBeth. ..(the production was at Magdalen College, near the river. . .and it was crashed from behind by a naked drunk guy in a punt. He was waving a bottle of wine and shouting “Look at me! Look at me! “

  12. joejames93 says:

    @Neeru It is sad but I think it’s not theatre loosely its charm because why you go it can open peoples minds to the possibilities of performance. However, I do think that theatre has attained a bad reputation (where from who knows?) which has made people sceptical about using the theatre. Film is a more attractive option to so many young people especially which is leaving theatre with an ageing audience. Scary times for art but theatre will never die!

  13. Pete Howorth says:

    I only went to the theatre once, when I was a kid in school, one of the actors stared at me through the entire performance but I was reassured he was just using my location as his eye line.

    I didn’t care though, he scared me and to this very day I haven’t returned!

  14. joejames93 says:

    @pete hahaaa some actors do tend to stare which is slightly off putting! But go to the theatre again, it’s awesome 🙂
    @tess I can’t emphasise how jealous I am, that must have been a fantastic year! Which is your home University, Oxford or somewhere else? And I’m also jealous I didn’t get to see the drunk man hahhaa must have been….interesting. 🙂

  15. tessf says:

    It was the best. Seriously those are some of my fondest memories! I should write a blog about that. . .it was so memorable. I have another story about the time my friends and I were ambushed in front of our college by a flasher.
    A Broad. ..Studying 🙂

    (My home school at the time was Northern Illinois University. I had gotten a small scholarship to go. .. I got my graduate degree at Washington University. . . where I live now in St. Louis.

  16. joejames93 says:

    Please do write a blog about it I want to read about it 🙂 hahah a ‘flasher’, probably a drama student!
    Ahh a friend of mine spent the last year in California studying directing, she has a brilliant time. I’d loved to go myself, but we’ll see.

  17. Jean says:

    Just haven’ gotten around to seeing live theatre for um, the past 5-8 yrs. I did use to see 1 live theatre show once a year (different things) over 15 yrs. ago.

    I’m cheap. And I don’t even have a tv. 🙂

  18. joejames93 says:

    That’s a shame, I would totally encourage you to start going again! If you pick the right productions at the right places you can pick up tickets dead cheap, although I will admit some London shows are very pricey.
    I think it’s so cool you don’t have a tv-uni has showed me I can easily live without one which is nice to know!

  19. tonycaselli says:

    Great post – let’s hope “Surely not!” is the answer! 🙂

  20. joejames93 says:

    Thank you! I cannot agree more. They do say ‘you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone’ Theatre, although I believe is well with us today, could be that thing that we only understand its importance when it’s gone. Awful sentence that is, but I couldn’t really word it very well-hope you got the gist.

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