Is theatre a dying art?

In the future, our generation will have the responsibility to keep theatre alive, but how can we possibly be expected to do so when, so many of us have never even been to see a play?...

Is theatre a dying art?

You're going out with your friends this weekend and you have a choice, the theatre or the cinema? Let’s be honest, you'd probably pick the cinema, right? But why? Why do you choose cinema over theatre? Why is cinema always the first option?

Through the eyes of most young people, theatre is 'elitist', a luxury even, and although many people hate to admit it (myself included) theatre is a dying art, and this needs to be changed. As a young actress, theatre is something I have always been very passionate about and is something I wish I could share with my peers. Going to school after a holiday and saying ' Hey, did you watch that new movie?' is considered a norm but saying ' Hey, did you watch that new play at the theatre?' isn't? Because young people don't go to the theatre. I mean, when was the last time you looked around a theatre auditorium and saw more than one other person your age?

But I want to know why. Why isn't theatre a norm for the youth? Why has cinema replaced theatre? Cinema isn't new and exciting any more, yes, it’s always a great experience and a nice way to hang out with your friends, but so is the theatre. The reason why theatre is considered such a luxury is probably the price. With the West End's cheapest tickets costing around £35, it’s no wonder young people rarely go. The youth don't have reams of money flowing out of their pockets and it’s not like they can earn any with most still in full time education, so to spend this amount on one ticket, could never really become a norm. But what if it was....

Theatres such as the New Vic offer free tickets to anyone under the age of 25, encouraging young people to attend the theatre more often, so why don't they? The theatre offers so much more than any cinema experience; when you go to the theatre, you're not just watching a performance, you're experiencing the story unfold right before your eyes. A theatre experience is so much more tangible, much more intimate and personal. So much is left to the imagination, meaning you could go to see the exact same play as someone else, but experience a whole different story. So, why don't you go? With prices so low and experiences so magical, why don't young people go to the theatre?

We need to educate young people about a part of our communities that actually matters; our theatres. With less and less young people attending theatres every year, it is vital that our generation learns about what came before the cinema. Because if we don’t, what does the future hold for theatres?

But is theatre really a dying art, or is that just a way for older generations to prove that we are just as ‘tech obsessed’ as they make out? Perhaps so, but this doesn’t make educating our generation any less important.

Theatre comes second place to cinema, and I hate that, but its true. I hate that when I applaud at the end of a performance or when I bow to the audience, I don’t see my peers supporting me, I don’t see people my age realising the potential youth like themselves have. Theatre comes second place to cinema, but without theatre, there wouldn’t be a cinema.

Header Image Credit: Oxford Emory Contributor

Author

Eleanor Dunn

Eleanor Dunn Local Reviewer

Gold Arts Award,
New Vic Theatre

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2 Comments

  • Ruth Watson

    On 8 June 2019, 22:54 Ruth Watson Local Reviewer commented:

    You raise some very interesting concerns here and you also make some good points. I love how I can feel your passion for theatre through reading this.

  • Sadhana Narayanan

    On 11 June 2019, 13:47 Sadhana Narayanan local reviewer commented:

    So important! Young theatre people encouraging other young people to get into theatre is so inspiring. Great post!

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