Theater needs more attention, appreciation

Growing up, my family instilled a passion and love of theater into me. 

One of the first musicals I saw as a child was “Rent,” a musical about a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and make a life in Lower Manhattan.  Some might say that’s not appropriate for a child at age seven, but I adored the musical. Some other favorites in my house were “Grease,” “Cats,” “Annie” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” Growing up with these stories made it possible for me to seize a creative mindset.

When I started in high school, it was made clear that theater was not considered art in the eyes of the faculty and other students. Even though theater is considered part of the fine arts department, when people think of art, they think of the basics such as painting, pottery, sculptures, etc. Theater isn’t mentioned as much when they think of art. 

One factor might be that art is perceived as a thing one can physically touch. You can touch a sculpture and painting, but it’s weird to go on stage and touch the actors. Things like paintings and pottery are thought to have a deeper meaning behind them. Everyone thinks Van Gogh used his mental illness to inspire his art.   

People think theater is about telling a simple story, but it’s so much more than that. There’s a great meaning behind the stories, that’s why we remember the best ones. Stories like “Cinderella,” “Robin Hood” and “The Great Gatsby,” all have something to take away. 

The best stories can be put on stage and made into visually interesting and entertaining performances. People who create things with beauty and deep meaning are artists. Performers are a unique form of artists because they use their bodies and words to create art. 

We even have people like that right here on campus. Theater majors are incredibly talented and have promising futures. Theater majors are not as appreciated as they should be. It’s all about the movie stars, but a lot of those actors on the big screen started out on the small stage. 

Theater drives creativity and curiosity. If you see a theater production, it was inspired by other art. The people on stage and behind it want to tell a story that comes from the heart and should be recognized for it.