October 07 2015

Why I Love British Theatre

To be honest the reasons I love British Theatre are many and varied. From the standpoint of an actress, I like the professionalism: that at least from the outside it appears to be respected as a craft, that for the most part the actors don’t take themselves too seriously and that there is a high standard for work. As a human being, I love that so much of the writing (well, the writing I like) reflects on and illuminates social reality – it asks questions about where we are as a society and where we have been and is not afraid to challenge the audience. I find it utterly engaging. The times that I have been in London and taking in as many plays as I can, I have always felt inspired and in touch with my humanity.

During my first trip to England, a trip I was only delighted to be making at 19 years of age, I remember sitting in a West End theatre after a performance of Arcadia and I couldn’t move. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the set (that expansive blue sky), the intellectual discourse, and the level of acting. I don’t know if I understood everything, yet Tom Stoppard and Trevor Nunn wowed me. I had seen theatre before, but this was a whole new level and my love affair with British theatre began in earnest. I don’t believe that every piece of theatre needs to aim to change the world. I also don’t believe that theatre in its rawest form is purely entertainment. Story telling of any kind is about connection and about who we are and who we want to be. It is about my humanity and yours. The power of theatre to affect change, even the smallest glimmer of change in one person’s heart, continues to astound me. I am a better person because of theatre. I love British theatre because it is unafraid to hold a mirror up to each and every one of us. To expose us to the core. It helps us see each other with a bit more compassion and our society with a bit more anger. And maybe, just maybe, it makes us think a little harder the next time we are confronted with a choice to be or not to be the change we want to see in the world.