As an artist it is often really easy to forget the changes that you can make to the world around you. Our role is often that of social commentator, working our fingers into the cracks in the foundations of society to explore what goes on down there. We are capable of changing the conversation, of inspiring a new start, of raising the bar on a great many issues, and bringing social injustices to the forefront of our minds. Throwing that mirror up to society can be quite a difficult load to carry and a more difficult road to walk (pick your metaphor really .. it’s all applicable here). We’re often up against society, moving through what is deemed “acceptable” and certainly in the past have had our vary livelihoods threatened by the “establishment” (thinking of police waiting in the wings every night in case an actor used a swear on stage). Fortunately in western society at least, that is not such a problem nowadays.
We also offer up a wonderful opportunity of escapism. The world we live in can be tumultuous and violent. There are a great many times I have found myself wondering if our planet and race is burning beyond control (got a little deep just now – I’m nearing the end of my coffee which always makes me sad) The beautiful escape that the right piece of theatre can provide is unmatched. This is also our role and it is one that I admit I can easily forget when I trudge into the theatre after a day working, or feeling tired and sick, or thrown because of the latest news report. I can forget how important that can be for the audience.
I forget how important it can be for me. Which is a thing.
Theatre (and all forms of art) can always be an agent of great change for better or worse in our society. I know it’s changed my life.
How has it changed yours?