What Is Theatre for?
Topics: Anton Chekhov, Art, Theatre / Pages: 8 (1982 words) / Published: May 27th, 2013

Sometimes all it takes is a glance – you can change an opinion, an attitude, or a life. How else better for projecting that glance to thousands than through theatre? I have struggled to answer this question, now, for nearly two months: What is theatre for? Only recently did I realise that the reason for this struggle was a lack of understanding; theatre does not have one specific function. It is undoubtedly the most versatile of art forms, and over years and miles we, as a race, have seen it employed in all kinds of occupations. It preserves – and creates – tradition. It addresses - and offers solutions for – problems. It critiques and praises culture and society. Theatre is a tool that may be utilised by anyone for just about anything, making it almost impossible to pinpoint a situation in which theatre would be inapplicable. It can be used for communication, exploration of themes and taboos, education, self-expression and healing – these are the main uses I will be addressing within this essay. Theatre is for education – both learning and teaching. ‘Theatre[‘s] […] impact may be […] that the pupils will remember key scenes, characters they empathised with, and the experience will be talked about afterwards. However, TIE […] is set apart by the education element which is its crucial feature. […] In research they [young people] identified the following factors as being important to them: • having their opinions valued; • being entertained; • being able to identify with the characters;’
Perhaps the most important thing theatre has the ability to do is educate. I refer not to the teaching of performance – though the transferable skills gained from learning such a thing are invaluable, in and out of the workplace – but to the way in which theatre can open doors for people. Through theatre’s many creative outputs, one may teach a child a nursery rhyme – perhaps asking them to act it out, or choreograph a dance based on it – and an



Bibliography: Aristophanes, Women at the Thesmaphoria, The Frogs and Other Plays: Wasp; Women at the Thesmaphoria, (London: Penguin UK, 2007) Chekov, Anton, The Cherry Orchard, The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, (California: Michael Rosenberg, 2003) Churchill, Caryl, Cloud Nine, The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, (California: Michael Rosenberg, 2003) Hiresh, Kamal et al., ‘Cover Girl Don’t Cover Boy’, Akasha O’Hara Lords, (2009) <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khwLo3OHGVM> [29.01.2012] ‘Self Expression’, Suprbay, (2008) <https://forum.suprbay.org/showthread.php?tid=27108> [29.01.2012] ‘Vision’, Chickenshed, <http://www.chickenshed.org.uk/437/vision/vision.html> [28.01.2012] [ 2 ]. Anton Chekov, The Cherry Orchard, The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, (California: Michael Rosenberg, 2003) pp. 600 – 620 [ 3 ] [ 4 ]. Aristophanes, Women at the Thesmaphoria, The Frogs and Other Plays: Wasp; Women at the Thesmaphoria, (London: Penguin UK, 2007) pp. 77 – 126 [ 5 ] [ 6 ]. Kamal Hiresh et al., ‘Cover Girl Don’t Cover Boy’, Akasha O’Hara Lords, (2009) [29.01.2012] [ 7 ] [ 8 ]. Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine, The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, (California: Michael Rosenberg, 2003) pp. 826 - 850 [ 9 ]

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