While the theatre has had its ups and downs throughout history, it has always been an integral part of culture and the development and refinement of society. The theatre has been a place you could find every social class at times and at others the place to be seen to demonstrate your position and standing. It has also been a way of being noticed and illustrating your affiliation with a certain movement or philosophy.
Over the centuries its success and influence has seen great temples to the arts being erected all over the world whether it’s in the glorious late nineteenth century neoclassical style of The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, the “aesthetic of broken forms” modernist architecture of our National Theatre on the South Bank or even the historical reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre with the only thatched roof in all of London. So how has theatre fallen from grace in the public eye?
For a lot of people just hearing the word theatre sends shivers down the spine. I’m sure there are some people out there who have had a negative childhood experience. Their parents having sat them in uncomfortable seats where they were forced to sit still, in silence, almost in the dark for what seemed like an eternity for most youngsters. You may well have a similar memory. In cases like that I’m sure even the best performance would be wasted on the watcher. It is easy to understand that now these children have grown up and had their own children, how they not only have avoided the theatre ever since their traumatic experiences but they would certainly not even entertain the idea of putting their children through the same torture.
From personal experience I can assure you that ballet is not to everyone's tastes, but in larger cities you will find a wide variety of theatres, whose repertoire will be even more varied. There’s something for everyone within the realms of opera, drama, tragedies, comedies, histories, romances and musical theatre.
Since the advent of the television we have been subjected to a near constant barrage of dramas, sitcoms, quizzes, game-shows, documentaries, cartoons, reality TV and soaps. We have been desensitized by it, letting it wash over us while checking our phones in one hand and eating dinner off our laps with the other.
If you’ve never been to the theatre before, you’re in for a real treat. When you make an event of it take the time and really watch something. Concentrating on the real people who are almost close enough to touch, listening to real voices and sharing the experience with a friend or loved one.
If you like horror, you’ll LOVE The Woman in Black. Originally a book that was very successfully transfered to the stage to become the second longest running play in the West End. You become involved with the story even part of it. The sights and more importantly the sounds are truly haunting. It took me a week before I could sleep without checking under the bed and leaving the light on!
THE TOP 10 REASONS TO GO TO THE THEATRE
- Your personal, intellectual and cultural development and enrichment. Experiencing something new and impressing your friends, colleagues and superiors in the process.
- You’ll have an opportunity and a reason to take off the trackie bums and hoodie and get dressed to the nines. Brush off your best outfit, treat yourself to a few final flourishes, and you’ll feel like royalty and look like it too.
- Within 2 hours, you will have read the whole book! The entire story whether based on a book or written for the stage will have been played out right in front of your eyes. Whether it’s an opera like Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” or Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”, or a play like Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” or Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” your understanding and knowledge of the arts will continue to expand as you absorb the works of “The Greats”.
- Theatre clears the mind. You’ll feel your troubles leaving you in the foyer surrounded elegantly dressed and sweetly fragranced member of the audience and they will finally be lifted away as the curtain rises. The perfect escape.
- While I’m sure every one of us has dozed off at least once, or even just left the cinema because of what having looked like a great film turned out to be a dull flop. That would never happen in a theatre. Each performance follows a huge amount of work by the staff and the actors themselves, and even if the play isn’t really what you were expecting, it will still fascinate you with impressive work with sound, lights or even sophisticated costumes.
- Although the experience and the cultural and intellectual value of theatre performances is much greater than that of a film in the cinema, theatre tickets are often cheaper. A little paradox ...
- Theatre develops imagination and your senses. In the movies everything is served to you on a plate. Within the first five minutes you know who the bad guy is and what he’s going to do. In the theatre the actors challenge you a little more, and you’ll appreciate the story that much more for having to work a little for it.
- Not even 3D glasses at the cinema will give you the real deal. Why pay stacks of cash for a faint imitations of life, when you can be like a fly on the wall.
- Our relationship with television is quite a dismissive one. Think of the last TV movie you watched… Can you remember the names of the Hero and the villain? A good theatre performance will stay with you for years to come.
- You will be supporting the arts. Theatrical arts have very long, strong traditions and have been internationally influential throughout history. The theatre is a living breathing entity and it needs support. The best way for most of us to offer our support is attendance.
BUT WHAT DO I WEAR?
Some people shy away from opportunities to get dressed up, and the idea of sitting in a suit for a couple of hours fills some men with dread. Have no fear, not all theatres and not all performances have a restrictive dress code. You can enjoy the theatre in a little more comfort.
Men should wear smart trousers, shirt and possibly a jumper, but do not forget about the right shoes! Don’t worry I’m not talking about a perfectly polished pair of the finest handmade Edward Green shoes. Leather and clean is all you need to make sure of.
Most ladies don’t usually need an excuse to get their glad rags on. Most women enjoy the finer things in life, and the preparation for it is half the fun. These are some of the few occasions when they get the opportunity to treat themselves to spending the evening looking like goddesses.
So what’s the ideal outfit for the ladies? Well, the fairer sex have more options, but one rule: Simple but elegant. Choose a dress, leave the brash colours and complex patterns in the wardrobe. Choose heels but leave the studs at home, and girls, it’s not a competition. Go as tall as you want but remember the higher you are the farther you’ll fall. Choose a jacket or a coat that is well fitted and well suited to the season. Remember the rule, a clutch is always elegant. Just make sure it’s big enough for the essentials like the cash for a big glass of a nice wine at the intermission. The place where you have a little wiggle room, accessories.
Let your Jewellery and your watch stand out, they can really make you stand out. Like for the gents, when you don’t need to pull out all the stops, we can tone it down. A skirt and light blouse and you’ll still look divine.
Of course we can’t leave out the “invisible and yet unforgettable accessory.” You mustn’t leave the house without wearing your favourite fragrance! The icing on the cake that highlights your personality and tantalizes as you walk past.
So are you ready to take the plunge?
"Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world!" Marilyn Monroe