Supporting local theatre, just like supporting your local farmers by shopping for groceries at farmers markets and supporting small businesses by shopping locally for gifts and clothes, is not a difficult or surprising concept. There aren’t really any arguments against supporting local theatre. But like all of these smaller scale endeavors, theatre is lacking majorly in actual, tangible support.
What people perhaps don’t realize is that all of their favorite movies on the big screen, all of their most beloved productions, started somewhere—started small. If you enjoy film or plays when they’re on a large scale, you NEED to support the little, independent productions too.
Ever thought of how your fave actors got their start? Most people, almost everyone really, did not get their start on a major TV series or in a broadway play. They didn’t go 0 to 100. But instead, they perfected their craft in some small hometown theatre anywhere in the world, and eventually were recognized through years of hard work and dedication. By supporting at the local level, you’re fueling these talents in the future, offering them—actors, artists, costume designers, set designers, everyone, at all ages—the environment that sets them up for future success.
We seek to create top of the line school systems for this very reason: we want our children to grow up leaders, to excel at whatever vocation they take on in the future (sometimes—theatre!), so we invest in them now (or so we should). By supporting anything at a local level, you’re effectively doing the same thing: investing in the future, nourishing talent, and contributing to the larger movement of art and entertainment.
When it comes to supporting theatre, there is a very clear way to do it: buy a ticket. Attend a show. Immerse yourself in the rare experience that IS live performance. Be part of the energy that is the crowd, and walk away changed. This is what, no matter the type of show you attend, theatre is all about. It’s about this shared experience, a bond between those on stage, those backstage, and those in the audience. This list detailing the theatre experience is spot on when it claims theatre as a family. There are so many moving parts coming together at once in production; this is an experience unlike many others.
But the point of this is not to say that you should support local theatre just because, JUST to contribute to an actor’s evolution or fund an artist’s passions, but there is honestly so much that goes into a single production let alone a theatre’s entire roster of productions. So much money, time, and energy is required to keep even the smallest local theatres running and open to the public.
If you enjoy entertainment, if you want to support the arts, if you like plays or films or music or comedy, if you have friends that are passionate about any of this, if you want your kids to enjoy art, then you should support local theatre.
Big productions wouldn’t exist without the small ones, just like big stores wouldn’t exist without small businesses and designers, and mainstream music wouldn’t exist without local performances…Being involved in the bigger picture always means starting with the near invisible (to some), moving parts. It’s all connected.
Plus: It’s just fun. It is. Buying a ticket, rounding up your partner or kids or friends, and enjoying a night out. If you don’t know where to start, just open a new tab on EventBrite and search for local shows. There you have it, your next weekend plans.