Theatre: it's bigger than myself.

I am fortunate enough to know a lot of talented people. My socialmedia news feeds are bursting with drama-school japes, west-end opportunities, up and coming musical writers, film-makers and much more. I love these people, I love their talent, I love their personalities and I love that every so often I get to do life with them. I am also never jealous of them: I see no need for jealousy because everyone is an individual, every voice is different, every interpretation is unique and therefore everyone has their own individual part to play. It is our duty as performers and artists to encourage each other no matter what our own circumstances are. 

However, sometimes I question my decisions, I wonder why on earth I'm stumbling around the continent, trying to be good at something I'm averagely good at,  when all I really want to do is learn the craft and get myself on stage. Yes I am working in theatres, but I am really observing more than I am participating. I wonder whether I'm wasting time, whether I'm good enough, whether it's actually possibile for me to pursue a career on stage. My impatience wraps me into a selfish sushi-like roll and I start panicking, I start doubting and I get so annoyed with myself for doing this degree that delays my plans.

Then I remember: my love for the theatre is bigger than myself. It has never been about fame or personal success, but rather a deep and genuine love for the art and its influences. The theatre has the power to teach, to empathise, to tickle, to inspire and to create a place where people can be themselves and express who they are. For me the theatre has never been about stars, but rather the joy of storytelling, of beautiful music, of rousing dance numbers, of imagination and different perspectives. This may sound pretentious, but things are only pretentious when they aren't genuine and these are my honest, heart-felt reflections.

Yes this year abroad has delayed the process of pursuing a career, but it has inspired me and shown me that the theatre really is a worldwide passion. I have seen young people of all ages commit themselves to the art of storytelling, I have seen productions that have surpassed anything I have seen on the West-end, I have met actors who are divas and actors who take their work beyond the rehearsals and performances to inspire the next generation, I see successful directors turn their focus to their local communities, who provide training for free and bring the local people together, I have seen how much effort goes into a production and how every single person counts. I love where I am in Italy because Mario brings theatre right back to it's roots, away from the complications of fame and reputation. Most of his actors are people from the local area, teachers, receptionist and teenagers who meet in the evening to learn and to put on humble, yet brilliant performances. His candid approach to theatre is incredibly successful and he manages to pull in some of Italy's most renowned directors to work on his plays. 

It's made realise that if theatre is just about me and my goals and my success, then it is not worth pursuing. But if theatre is about giving, if it's about sharing, collaborating and instilling an enthusiasm in others to engage with the world around them, then it is something I can dedicate my life to. I never want to lose my hope and belief in theatre's purpose and possibilities, if I do then there's the danger of giving into the character-compromising insecurity that festers in the underbelly of the industry. It must always be about community, it must always be about empathy, it must always involve hard-work and discipline and it must always come from a humble spirit.

Theatre was created by the people, for the people. It's more US than me. It's a direct discourse, direct connection, direct interaction between actor, director and audience. It's connection, it's relationship, each rely on the other for success and understanding. The theatre is bigger than myself - thank goodness!

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