It is common knowledge among writers that to be a good writer you have to read. This seems obvious; you learn and develop as a writer by learning from other writers. For some reason this same theory doesn’t seem to transfer to actors. Actors are often reluctant to see theatre, or at least don’t make it a priority. Actors must see theatre.
I understand that you can now watch high quality TV and Film in the comfort of your bedroom, and to go out and spend three hours at the theatre can seem like a lot of work, but it is necessary work. Watching brilliant TV and Film is very important, but assuming you want to be a versatile actor that doesn’t just act for camera, you must also see theatre.
1. It’s too expense. I totally agree. I think theatre is too expensive and not accessible for a lot of actors. That being said, you can always find ways of seeing theatre cheaply. If you can’t, suck it up and make it a priority.
2. It’s usually terrible. There is a lot of bad theatre being produced but we can learn as much from bad theatre as we can from good theatre. It allows us to see more clearly what we like. Try and learn from each experience and investigate why we didn’t enjoy any given theatre experience? You can, however, combat this by reading reviews, getting trusted recommendations from friends and going to see theatre from established and respected theatre companies.
3. No one wants to go with me. If this is the case and they are an actor, throw a bucket of ice water in their face and send them this article! If they are still unconvinced and you have to go alone, great! Seeing theatre alone is awesome. There is a great book called The Artist’s Way that talks about taking yourself on ‘creative dates’. This is where you go see something inspiration to get fuelled up with ideas and inspiration.
Benefits of seeing theatre
- You learn what good acting is.
- You learn what bad acting is.
- You learn what you like to watch.
- You’re intellect expands.
- You become more confident in language.
- You learn story structure.
- You support your peers.
- You have something to talk about at auditions.
- You learn stage craft.
- You become a better actor.
- It should be enjoyable.
- You get inspired.
I try to see theatre once a month. I think this is a good baseline goal. Of course this is not frequent enough, but you can easily go for months without seeing anything so setting an achievable goal is a good place to start. Find a friend, or many, who enjoy seeing theatre and keep each other accountable. At they end of the day no excuse is good enough; actors must see theatre.