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Saturday, May 15, 2010

There's a Sign Across the street...

...from Walterdale Theatre that says something about the Varscona offering Professional Theatre all year round and it makes me pause. I don't pause in an "us and them" way, but in a way that wishes that all artists, whether paid or not, could recognize that it is the work, not the compensation, that matters. I have seen wonderful theatre on both professional and amateur stages. I have seen some not-so-wonderful theatre on both types of stages as well. I also know that a lot of the amateur actors and designers and directors that I have worked with go to and pay for a great deal of professional theatre.

Last summer, Trevor Schmidt wrote a piece in Theatre Buzz ( page 10) about how theatre in New Zealand worked. He talked about how there was no separation between professional and amateur theatre, that sometimes you got paid and sometimes you didn't and that was how it worked. He said more than that, but I liked the idea that people just respected each other as artists and didn't judge or rate the legitimacy of the art based on whether you get paid or not. I know that I work just as hard and strive for the same level of quality in my performances whether I am paid or not. If I do get paid, I am happy, to be sure, but I don't value one more than the other. That's the way it should be. Art is art. Now I am sure that the Varscona is merely trying to highlight what they do and applauding people who support and appreciate professional theatre. I am pretty sure that the sign is not meant to be malicious in any way. I just hope that they realize that since they are right across the street from a Community Theatre, that many of the people who do their work there might feel slighted by the sign rather than encouraged to attend.

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