Why Work in Theatre? A Blog Post for World Theatre Day


I’d like to give a big shout-out to all of the many folks behind World Theatre Day, which is celebrated every year on March 27. If you’d like to learn more about World Theatre Day, I encourage you to visit the website and consider that it has been celebrated every year since 1961, when it was created by the International Theatre Institute. Here’s to half a century of smart thinking — and a second round of applause to many of New York City’s arts groups for getting aboard the train with such fervor and gumption.

This year, I was asked if I would write an essay a part of the World Theatre Day blog, and I was honored to do so. I hope I did justice to all the participants. You should definitely check out everything that’s planned. I think the flash mobs, in particular, are very cool.

Story continues below.

If you want to know who all is behind the New York City World Theatre Day Coalition, here is some copy from the blog:

The New York City World Theatre Day Coalition is is comprised of representatives of theatre companies and advocacy groups whose common goal is to promote World Theatre Day within the New York City theatre community. The primary functions of the coalition are to organize events, to distribute the WTD message, and to coordinate a central location for companies to communicate their World Theatre Day plans. The coaltion includes: The Community Dish (www.communitydish.org), Fourth Arts Block (www.fabnyc.org), The Innovative Theatre Foundation (www.nyitawards.com), The Internationalists (www.theinternationalists.org), Lark Play Development Center (www.larktheatre.org), The League of Independent Theater (www.litny.org), Theatre Development Fund (www.tdf.org).

Here is a teaser of my essay — do click over to read the rest:

Why work in theatre?

I keep returning to the idea that my answer to this question is not unlike Shakespeare’s seven ages of man. I was a product of New York City public schools at a time when no one dared call arts education a frill-its importance, then as now, incontrovertible and obvious. Thanks to a particular teacher-and the original and adapted plays and musicals he produced-I came to know intimately the theatre’s intoxicating properties: laughter, gasps and applause; the air of achievement and collaboration; the sense of creating and belonging to something greater than ourselves.

Through junior high, high school and college, I wasn’t mewling and puking and whining as Shakespeare’s infant and schoolboy (well, not about theatre, anyway), but my furnace-hot passion never wavered. Here, if you don’t mind, I’ll stop tying Shakespeare’s ages to my own, for hopefully you follow my larger point: we evolve. Working in-and working for-the theatre we want is a lifelong process, however it may be manifested in our lives.

I also believe there’s a self-actualization process that comes from working in theatre. Many, if not most, young practitioners are blissfully unaware of it. They’re newly formed and buoyed by passion-but rare is the incipient artist able to identify with true, penetrating introspection, the roots of that passion. It’s gut. You must do the work.