Today is #LoveTheatreDay, an annual celebration of theatre around the world using the hashtag #LoveTheatreDay on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Wimbledon College of Arts has a strong connection to theatre. Our undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Theatre Design, as well as our BA Costume for Theatre and Screen course, have seen many graduates go on to achieve fantastic success as creative theatre professionals. Our fully-equipped onsite theatre has hosted dance productions, costume parades, theatre productions and puppet shows, and is an invaluable resource for students where they can test out ideas and further their skills. And we have recently introduced two new acting and performance courses, BA Acting and Performance and BA Contemporary Theatre and Performance, turning Wimbledon into an integrated performance environment and launching the next generation of theatre performers and makers.
To celebrate #LoveTheatreDay, we asked some of our staff and graduates what they love most about theatre.
Jo Howcroft, Production Manager, Wimbledon College of Arts Theatre
I love being part of a process that turns ideas on paper into something tangible, memorable and inspirational (and preferably in budget). Sure, the hours are long and the requests are sometimes challenging, but working in theatre is completely addictive. Above all, I love the regular irregularity.
Craig Nom Chong, BA Theatre Design graduate and Apprentice Producer at English Touring Theatre
People. Friends, colleagues, peers, audience members. The community of theatre is what I love about it the most. We are a hub, a hive of people telling different stories, with varying viewpoints, all collaborating in a million different ways, but we bring people together. In tiny spaces, in vast spaces, in found spaces and spaces created specifically for one production, the relationships we build with and between the audience, the collaborations and long-term friendships we build on and off stage are ridiculously special.
Michael Vale, Course Leader, MA Theatre Design
What do I love about theatre? That it can only be performed live.
Nadine Froehlich, BA Theatre Design graduate and freelance theatre designer
I recently went to the Natural History Museum to see ‘Wilder Earth’. It is a story about young Darwin and his discoveries. What was special about this show, for me, was the array of design elements that went into this production and knowing what a massive team they must have had to bring together such a stunning visual piece. Being a frequent theatre goer and working on shows myself, I have developed a deep admiration and appreciation for the world of theatre and the imaginative things that can happen on stage. You really have to go and see to understand for yourself.
Esther Armstrong, Programme Director, Performance Design and Technologies
Seeing an audience respond to a theatrical moment is a really exhilarating feeling that is completely unique. That live moment when you’re surrounded by an audience that is totally engaged and focused on one thing is breath-taking. There’s nothing like it.
One of the best examples that still excites me thinking about it (even thought its been a couple of years now since I’ve seen it) is Nick Steur’s show FREEZE! which I saw as part of a puppet festival in the Ardennes back in 2015.
Steur creates a fantastic theatre piece with little more than balancing a pile of stones. That’s right; a pile of stones.
It sounds both banal and possibly pretentious but it’s executed and animated with such skill and precision it completely holds you in the moment. It’s dead simple, but utterly breath-taking. Through his performance, Steur has the audience totally in the palm of his hand to the point of sheer genius. Just balancing stones.
That’s the magic of his performance. It’s also the magic of theatre. It’s the magic of having a living audience all focused and concentrating on the event as it simply unfolds.
Tara Usher, BA Theatre Design graduate and freelance theatre designer
I love that theatre can take you to a place where you are completely overwhelmed with someone else’s story – and that by doing this you can see the world through different perspectives, forcing you to interrogate things about yourself and your life that you may never have questioned before.
Natalia Alvarez, BA Theatre Design graduate and freelance theatre designer
What I love about theatre is the ability it has to hold me in an entirely new world. One minute I’m in 1912 London and the next I’m in a post-apocalyptic world. Either way, as a designer, it forces me to see the world through a new lens, and that everyone fits in to a story somehow. In a broader sense, It reminds how many perspectives you can see the world through.
Find out more about Wimbledon’s undergraduate courses in Acting and Performance, Contemporary Theatre and Performance, Costume, Theatre Design and Production Arts for Screen, and our MA Theatre Design.