Exploring The Types Of Live Theatres
Once upon a time, long before big silver screens, loud speakers and special effects, people flocked to theatres to catch a show. Live theatre goes back a long way. One can travel back in time through the centuries and discover the works of Eugene O'Neill in the, Oscar Wilde, Matthew Lewis, Moliere, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. Live theatre goes back even further to such attractions as Commedia dell'arte in 1500s Italy.
Today, theatre is still alive and well. Broadway in New York City and London England's theatre districts are among the famous places to catch a show. While it lost some steam somewhere in the late twentieth century, theatre has made a comeback by offering new and exciting scripts and large set pieces on extravagant stage settings as well as smaller theatres performing experimental scripts and scripts that tackle tough topics of today.
There are a few types of theatres you can attend. These run from a small community theatre in your neighborhood to a large Broadway stage. You can also choose from a little black box theater, regional theater, summer stock and shows performed on the go.
A community theatre is generally made up of volunteers who perform on a local level. The actors in these shows are not paid for their time and are instead donating their time for the benefit of the community's cultural well being as well as to practice the skills as they hope to move on to paying gigs eventually. Other folks just love the stage and want to be active in this art.
Summer stock is as the name suggests. Usually a company will run a series of shows during the summer months only. Often, the same cast members are used in all the shows and it gives audiences a chance to get familiar with the actors as they continue to see them all summer long. Some summer stock theaters are members of the actors' union, known as "Equity". Others are not and some will hire union member actors as guest artists to help draw crowds.
Guest artists can be hired to work at non union theaters, as long as they are paid. So while you won't find union members at a community theatre, you may find one pretty much anywhere else. Regional theatres as well as local professional companies will often use a combination of union and non union actors. These actors are generally all professionals, whether members of the union or not.
Regaining popularity is the so called black box theater. It gets its name from the fact that there is usually no or little set dressing and props are used but only when necessary. Lighting plays a key role in such a setting. And of course, script and acting are the main focus. The idea behind a black box is to attack serious scripts and keep the audience locked in on the words being said and not getting distracted by fancy set pieces and wide open spaces. A black box is often described as "intimate".
You may find theatre being performed just about anywhere. Traveling companies may utilize space provided by bigger theaters. Shows may pop up in warehouses, art galleries or museums. Restaurants may host performances. Live theatre is so much a part of the history of humanity. No matter what type of venue you attend, the outcome will be enrichment for you as well as the artists working there.