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A Day in the Life of a Theatre Practitioner

by People! Just say Something! 5 months ago in art · updated 5 months ago

I'd like to share with you a part of my life outside of People! Just Say Something! As an aspiring Theatre Practitioner, my life is a countless routine of theatrics, inspiration, and absurdist chaos - and I love every second of it!

I love my job because it allows me to enter worlds I never thought were possible. As a theatre practitioner, I get the opportunity to take a step out of the hustle and bustle of the world and allow myself to immerse in the most extraordinary of worlds. Let me walk you through the joys that have made leaving the arts sector impossible, no matter the challenges that face me on the road ahead.

I have been inspired to pursue the path of a theatre practitioner for a while now. The theatre space’s power is immense, and entertainment for the audience is far from the essential aspect of the form. It can change perspectives, challenge stereotypes and already implemented dogmas, and break down unconscious biases that have been erected by society. I remember reading a quote by Anna Róża Burzyńska in the book ‘Joined Forces: Audience Participation in Theatre’, where she states:

“theatre has the potential to become a kind of ‘rehearsal space’ for democracy, a place where one’s encouraged not only to observe, but to be critical, active, and responsible for what is happening”

– Anna Róża Burzyńska

This has stayed with me ever since first reading it. I always have it playing in the back of my mind during any project I take on. It reminds me that, yes, theatre can be a medium for joy and entertainment for the audience and let its spectators escape, however briefly, their troubles of the real world. This artist/spectator interaction has much more profound implications. To see a body on stage is to see an empty shell that the audience can step in, and thus see themselves in front of them presenting scenarios that could allow self-reflection. We realise our faults when we see others doing them. Theatre, if allowed, can be a great form of self-care and provide a type of therapy that supports self-enlightenment and healing. It can change the mindsets of society, break down boundaries, reveal truths hidden by dogmas and hierarchies, and pursue much more than rounds of applause, bouquets of roses and standing ovations. Theatre is the sincerest of mirrors. Theatre is freedom when life is repressed. Theatre is life with no limits

Working in the theatre is an event. The ability to allow yourself to be creatively free is extremely liberating. Each venue that I work in differs from the previous. These buildings hold great histories and have hosted masterful works created by some of the most creative people in society. To be part of this lineage is both a pleasure and a great honour. The theatre has a magic that cannot be found anywhere else and serves as a medium that any other form cannot replicate. Unlike the visual aspects that come from art and cinema, non can offer the medium of seeing a person, the art, perform what they wish to portray to you. More extraordinary spectacles cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.

The theatre hosting the performance is, in my opinion, as much part of the performance as the actors. The theatre speaks for itself, and its voice is powerful. To be inside such beautiful buildings with others like myself, in love with the arts and striving for a common goal, is empowering. I feel part of a herd that shares my values, and the beautiful atmosphere is the icing on the cake. It beats an office space, that’s for sure!

The theatre hosts many roles that help support the process of creating and hosting a piece of theatre. Each is as vital as the other, and its workers will defend their position with a burning passion, but I must admit that the practitioner’s role is exceptionally great. The history of the theatre is vast, with the Ancient Greeks staging the first recorded piece of theatre on the planet. Since then, practitioners like myself have tested the art form and pushed it to limits never seen before. It is up to practitioners like myself to decide what comes next, and that truly excites me.

Continuing from the previous point, being a theatre practitioner brings forth quite a challenge. The theatre has evolved throughout history and, by doing so, reflects the people and society of its time. This is what art should do, and there is no better reflection than the theatre. From Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Absurd that rose from the rubbles of post-war Europe to the realism of Chekhovian drama in Russia to the celebrations of Dionysus in Ancient Greece, the stage has found a way to portray the lives, thoughts, and emotions that its society was going through. We see each other in the characters on stage; only their names and text have been altered. It is thus my responsibility to portray the world in my work to the best of my abilities. No pressure.

When beginning a new project, I like to start at ground zero and have a period where I am free to explore anything and everything available to me. When writing a script, for example, I begin writing a wide variety of conversations between characters. These characters have no names or characteristics, so I am not restrained to any forms, and this does provide some of the most absurd of conversations! Just as you hear a passing conversation while walking down the street that made you look back and think, “did I just hear that?” well, this is precisely what my work process is – wacky conversations that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. It’s hard not to smile at a debate describing the texture of a cat’s tail or their hatred of contactless payment limits if it’s over by just a couple of pence. Having these voices inside my head makes the day a little more interesting, and anything can spark a new conversation for a project. It makes me look at the world through different eyes daily, making the world that much more colourful.

There are countless reasons why I love my job as a theatre practitioner, and I could go on writing till my fingers bleed, but the main reason why I love what I do is that I’m on the job 24/7, 365 days a year – and I have never considered even a second of it as ‘work’. When you love what you’re doing, then you’ll never work a day in your life.

I understand how privileged I am to have found the place in society that I feel whole, and I wish the best to all of you out there still searching for your paths and passions. No matter how hard the road may seem, I beg you to continue. Once you find where you’re meant to be, everything else seems obsolete in comparison, and you can dedicate yourself to the work that fulfils you.

Believe me; it’s worth every second.

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People! Just say Something!

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