BWW Blog: Living In A Small Town With Limited Access To Theatre And How To Deal
Having quick access to professional theatre no doubt made an impact on my love for the arts. Growing up in Minneapolis, I was surrounded by a booming arts community with opportunities to watch or perform pretty much whenever I wanted to. I didn't realize how rare and fortunate that was until I moved out of the Twin Cities for college. Now, I live in a wonderful small town in Iowa, but there is no professional theatre in sight. I had no idea how much seeing shows mattered to my emotional well-being until I no longer had anytime access, and it made the first several months of college tough.
The first thing I did was vow to seize every opportunity I could find. If I had a chance to travel into the cities for a show or even see something at the local community theatre, I would take it. My school also does a great job of hiring performers from all over the world to come to the school, so I have gotten to see things ranging from magicians to a capella groups to local bands. Is it the same as seeing a national tour come through the Orpheum? No, but not worse, either. One thing that being forced away from professional theatre did for me was open my eyes to the other amazing types of performances out there that I would have been more hesitant to attend had I had more diverse options.
The next thing I did was cherish live theatre when I got the chance to see a show. In November, my acting class took a trip to the Twin Cities to see a show, my first since August. From the second I walked in the building, I felt something rise up in me, and I realized it was the joy of being back in a theatre that wasn't part of my college campus. I read the details on the old show posters on the walls, I drank in every single detail of the set, and poured over the bios in the playbill, reminding myself that that will be me someday. Above all, I sat teary-eyed in the audience, taking in every single second of the performance. Since this was the only chance I would get to see professional theatre for a while, you better believe I would be cherishing every single second of it. I thought I appreciated theatre before, and in many ways I did. But this was something else entirely.
Is living away from a big city and being involved in theatre hard? Absolutely. But is it doable? For sure. In all honesty I am still trying to find new ways to cope with my lack of accessibility, but it helps to remind myself that this is temporary and there are still a multitude of amazing opportunities around me; I might just have to look a little harder for them this time.