The escapism of theatre

Isn’t theatre a wonderful thing! Whether you are watching a serious play, a comedy or a musical, you will normally find yourself smiling at some point during the show. You may smile during it, at the story line or the characters or you may smile after it at the joy that for 2-2.5hrs you managed to escape your normal life and forget all your worries. This is the joy of the theatre!

Theatre allows us to be temporarily part of someone else’s world, be they fictional or fact, for the time that show is on, you don’t care. You embrace your self in the story being told on stage.

The reason you are there shouldn’t be relevant to anyone but you, you may have a little extra work stress or someone close to you with ill health, whatever it is, if you love theatre then it will always help. It maybe that you chose to go to different shows each night of the week, or maybe you find one particular show that gives you that buzz and makes you feel normal again. Either way it is your way of coping, your way to make you feel better, to forget what ever other worries you have going on and simply bury your head in the sand for a couple of hours.

So often people are judged for making this choice, by their friends, their families, other theatre goers, but worst of all by the performers themselves. It’s very easy to judge someone when you don’t know their back story, we all do it. That woman on Jeremy Kyle who wants to sue her own mother for not giving birth to her as a boy, those parents on the news defending their darling child who’s just scammed a pensioner out of her life savings, that person who gets the same tube as you every morning, we judge! It’s who we are, it’s what makes us human and that’s fine because we do this judging silently, to ourselves or to our nearest and dearest. What we don’t (or shouldn’t) do is openly judge that person, to their face, for simply doing something to stop the pain.

People say it’s an unhealthy addiction to go to the same show multiple times, I disagree, unhealthy addictions are alcohol or heroin. What’s unhealthy about sitting in an auditorium and feeling pure joy with no repercussions on your health?!?!

And what a lovely feeling it must be as a performer to look out at the audience and see that familiar face smiling back at you, how lovely to think ‘I don’t know what this person if going through, but I am really touched that myself, my colleagues and our show is helping them through this difficult time’ how nice to know that your job is having that impact on someone’s life. How lovely to think that, in some circumstances, you maybe the reason that person can still get out of bed in the morning, the thought of seeing you and your show in the not too distance future is what gets them through their week.

With a growing increase in Mental Health problems and adolescent suicide, in a time when bullying should no longer exist, let’s all embrace what happiness we can and hopefully be able to go through this without the judgement of others, making you feel bad for doing something that feels so good.