I am a Theater Artist. I have chosen to live my dream. Or perhaps that dream has chosen ME, because to me, there really is no choice. I can not imagine living a life without a connection to theatre and helping kids learn, grow, discover, and find their voice.
I have been asked many times, and yes, I've even often asked myself...
There is really no one answer...that is not the purpose of art, after all.
Art raises the questions...the person interacting with the art must then go seek the answers to those questions, and hopefully, on that journey, discover a bit more about themselves and the world around them.
I'm sure that if that question were asked of 10 artists, each answer would be different.
So here is my stab at an answer. Take it or leave it....but it is my truth.
Theatre is an amazing and powerful collaborative art form mixing dance, music, story, visual & multimedia arts, and almost any cross curricular activity you can think of. It has the power to touch the heart and soul of all involved, moving the individual to laughter and tears and taking them on a journey through their imagination.
Theatre is an escape. Life can be stressful, uncertain, overwhelming, and even depressing. We all have moments when we long to escape into a world where the stress, uncertainty, and challenges are wrapped up in a two hour time frame. We laugh. We cry. We dream. We fear...but we ALWAYS know that when the play ends, the problem will be solved. The hero will be changed for the better, and the antagonist gets what they deserve. Wouldn't it be great if life could be that certain?
Theatre is a slice of life. Maybe not your life...maybe not the life of anyone you know...but the purpose of art is to imitate life. To shed some light on a piece of the human experience. We go to the theatre to see life through the eyes of another. Granted, we do this through movies as well, but there is no more real and raw experience than seeing and feeling the story and the journey develop directly in front of you.
Theatre lets us live through someone else's perspective. In our day to day lives we look at the people around us and wonder what it would be like to live in their shoes for a day. We sometimes fantasize about taking a big step, making a big change, being someone else...and through theatre we can. A performer can "try on" being someone else, and enjoy the process, learn something about someone else, and develop empathy that comes from taking the time to consider another person's perspective.
Theatre helps us "practice life" and discover who we are...and what we can be. Life can be painful. Life can be confusing and often overwhelming. And we have only one shot to get it right. We can not go back and undo or redo an action. We must live with the choices we make. We must face the consequences of every action. BUT through theatre,we can "practice" life. We can put ourselves in another's shoes. We can explore the "what if" and explore situations.
Theatre has no age limits or cultural boundaries. A child of 18 months old can engage with theatrical experiences and discover joy in the process just as joyfully as the parent or grandparent who beam with pride watching their child or grandchild explore the world through story. A teenager can tread the boards of the stage and revel in the spotlight alongside a company CEO who sets aside his daily position to escape into a fantastical world of imagination. A broken and jaded individual can shed a tear sitting in the audience as he relates to a touching moment onstage. A Parent and child can engage together onstage and build memories that last a lifetime.
I truly believe that involvement in theatre is the best means by which to build strong character, encourage creative problem solvers, and train future empathetic leaders.
And that is why I work with Kids and Theater.