A “New” Kind of Acceptance

This past weekend was different than most of the time I’ve spent at the Square Foot Theatre Company.  I worked directly with the cast and crew during the production of Shrek: The Musical.  From calling the show, to coordinating the volunteers, and assisting the production team, I learned quite a bit in that short amount of time. BFullSizeRenderut there was something much more important and valuable that I learned during that first production: The love and passion that lies behind the curtains.  The cast and crew find such immense joy from being where they are.  They share a bond greater than most; they have formed more than a community, but a family.  And I was fortunate enough to be welcomed into the Square Foot Theatre Family with open arms.  I shared laughs and memorable moments with some of the most talented and kind people I’ve ever encountered, and for that, I am truly grateful.

IMG_1887I was introduced to a “New” kind of acceptance when I entered through the doors of SFT.  Community Theatre is much more than a place for people to bond over a common interest or hobby.  This is a place where it is acceptable to grow as the individual you wish to be.  There is nothing but love, support and encouragement practiced at this theatre.

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Think About This..

How would you explain theatre to somebody who’s never been?

By Lyn Gardner for The Guardian 

Manchester’s welcoming new art space Home wants to attract unseasoned audiences. But how does it describe to them the unique pleasures it can offer?

Pressing buttons … The Funfair by Simon Stephens is the first play staged at Home, a new venue in Manchester.
 Pressing buttons … The Funfair by Simon Stephens is the first play staged at Home, a new venue in Manchester offering the joys of live theatre. Photograph: Graeme Cooper

In Manchester last Saturday lunchtime I walked past Home, the city’s wonderful new arts centre. Two elderly women were standing outside, and one was reading out loud to the other the offer written on the glass exterior: “Five cinemas, two theatres, a gallery space.” She turned to her friend and asked “What is there for us?” It’s a good question: what is the offer that the arts are making to those – and there are many – who never step inside a theatre or gallery space and think it’s not for them?

Half an hour later, I walked back and the same two women were sitting happily in Home deckchairs outside the building in the sunshine, glasses in hand. No, they weren’t yet in the theatre, but they had at least felt welcome enough to get through the door and buy their drinks and, who knows, maybe they popped their heads in the free gallery space on the way. It’s a start. Home is trying hard to be welcoming to everybody. Leading up to the venue’s opening weekend, 22% of tickets had been sold to students with £5 offers.

There’s been lots of talk recently around the idea that theatre sometimes feels too much like an exclusive club for those who are in the know. Questions are being asked about why so many people think that it’s not for them – something I touched upon in a blog earlier this year. Figures from the Warwick Commission make worrying reading: the wealthiest, best educated and least ethnically diverse 8% of society make up nearly half of live music audiences and a third of theatregoers and gallery visitors.

Night at the Theatre at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
 At home on the stage … A Night at the Theatre at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Perhaps what we don’t talk about enough is the pleasure of theatre, how it makes us feel, and why those of us who go frequently love it so much. One of the wonderful things about the Royal Exchange’s A Night at the Theatre sleepover event was hearing both young and old people talk about their emotional attachment to theatregoing. One of the things that came up again and again was that they had moments in the theatre when it felt as if what was taking place on stage was happening just for them, as if it had been written and staged with them in mind. I’ve experienced exactly that myself: the feeling that a piece of art has been made just for me, and that somehow the artist has glimpsed inside my head and heart. I love that.

Other questions were posed at the Royal Exchange’s event, about who theatre is for and who gets access to it. One of the most direct and intriguing was very simple: how would you describe theatre to someone who had never been? When I tweeted the question, a number of answers came back. @AlexPMcClarensuggested that “good theatre recaptures the feeling you had as a child when grownups who you didn’t know well would really PLAY with you.” @TouchthePlay said: “Imagine telling great stories with friends for a good evening with some of the best storytellers you can ever imagine!” @Oddsockstweets thought it was “like wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, or at times like being at a party without having to make small talk.” I reckon it’s like dreaming with your eyes open. So how would you describe theatre to someone who has never been?

It’s Finally Here!

Here we are, the Square Foot Theatre Blog! My name is Christina Angelicola and I’m the Public Relations/ Development Intern here at the SFT. imagesMy job as an intern is to create and build mutual relations with the theatre community. I will be working on my specialties as a PR Major- blogs, websites, newsletter, ect.  You will be able to find all you need to know here at our blog- from information about our productions, to photos and interviews from our students and staff. As a community theatre, we are all equal contributors to SFT- with that being said, please feel free to share any ideas for blog posts, photos, or other content that you would like to see! Twitter: @SFTCompany Email: SFTCompany@aol.com We’re excited for this new addition and hope you enjoy it!