BWW Blog: Use Your Voice!
Here's the deal. I'm in my junior year of college, and approaching the scary world of adulthood. I'm almost there, and that's got me thinking a lot about my future career in the theatre and also as a person in the world. I'm a political person. It's something I care about a lot, and was, early in my college career, what I thought I was going to do with my life. Originally, I majored in journalism, with the intent to become an advocate journalist. I wanted to make documentaries, write articles, and call attention to the news that wasn't always given as much attention, but were all really pressing issues.
Then, after getting to school, I decided that a career in English and/or theatre was more what I was meant to be doing, but the advocacy part still really appealed to me. In retrospect, I think that's why I stayed in journalism as long as I did, and maybe even why I thought to major in it at all. I've spent a really long time thinking about how I can marry those things in my career, and, albeit being 20 and thus incredibly naive, here's what I've come up with.
Theatre is political. The characters you write, who you cast to play them, what happens to them--the list goes on forever--the point is, all of those things are political choices. They make statements about the world, about societies, and about ethics widely speaking. Directing, set design, costume design, lighting, sound, all of the other elements of a production add on to the metaphors within the script and that is what makes a story.
So what does that mean? Well, I'm not a professional, and I don't know what it is to work in this business because I haven't done it yet. But, as someone who wants to and thinks about it all the time, this is what I think. It means you need to know what the world is and determine what stories it needs to hear. Is there some way you can bring people together after a tragedy? Is there something we as a society are ignoring that we shouldn't be?
To do that, you have to be informed, and I think you also have to act on what you believe outside of the context of theatre. Whatever your job in theatre is, knowing what you believe, keeping up with what's happening in the world, and continuously learning, growing, and doing what you can for the betterment of mankind is going to serve you well.
Bottom line: theatre gives people a platform, a voice, a loving and supportive community, and a unique way of reaching mass groups of people. If we have all of that, and so many dedicated and talented people who choose to devote themselves to it, why wouldn't we utilize it? As a person, and especially as a person in theatre, you have a voice. Talk about things you need others to know, and listen to what they need you to know. Work together. Then, tell those stories.