Even in a time when Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell sold out in London and Hamilton broke out of Broadway to become a cultural sensation, it has been questioned whether theatre is still relevant. People these days spend a lot of time watching movies and television. The entertainment industry keeps pace with technology, yet theatre still exists.
No matter what medium, people become attached to characters and feel connected to them in some way. With live theatre, it’s not just watching the story but experiencing it, seeing the characters come alive right in front of you. Seeing something real as opposed to CGI; something deeper. Unlike the movies, a play is like a snowflake—no two shows are exactly the same.
Theatre brings people together, makes them think and talk about what they’ve just seen. A play turns the stage—the whole theatre—into a magical bubble, putting the audience in the same world as the actors, making it close. Personal.
Theatre is one of the most ancient art forms, yet it keeps evolving. It has always adapted with time and stayed connected to current events, which draws the audience in. For example, It’s Only a Play by Terrence McNally was originally written in 1982, then updated for 1992, then updated again for 2014. A play can remain relevant by integrating modern pop culture references but keeping the same themes at heart.
There are many modern works inspired by classic shows. For example, two of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, inspired modern shows such as West Side Story and The Lion King, proving how good stories stand the test of time.
From an actor’s standpoint, it’s a more immediate way to see an audience respond to your work. It’s good to hear responses to a final product when it comes to film, but being on stage, you can act, and react, with the audience. Watching a movie is like watching others have fun on an amusement park ride; live theatre is actually riding it.
Theatre is still relevant. What’s more, it’s inclusive no matter background, race, gender, or sexuality. It brings people in, makes them feel, connect and talk, and leaves them with more understanding of the world outside.