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There is a lot of bad theatre out there. And I mean a lot. It is so easy to make theatre badly; to not care about the acting, the script or your audience. What makes good theatre great? How do you know if a piece of work is good? So, what are the 5 characteristics of truly great theatre? Here they are:
There is no better way to learn about the theatre than to work in one. Since I wrote my first play at age 9, I have been fortunate enough to work in many different facets of theatre. From backstage to onstage, and from every technical position to being a director and playwright, I have been able to explore the world of theatre and gain some insight into what makes a great production…
So today I would like to discuss five characteristics of truly great theatre. As an actor, director, playwright, and audience member, these are the elements that I look for in any performance. They are what make me want to buy tickets to a show. And they are what make me want to come back for more.
Live theatre is an art form unlike any other. The power and impact of a live performance can be profound, moving and unforgettable.
There are many elements required to make great theatre – the best plays, the finest actors, sharp direction, clever design, effective marketing…the list goes on and on. But at its heart there are five key features that can help turn a good show into a great one.
1. Make it relevant
If we’re going to be spending two hours of our time watching your show, we want to feel as though it matters. We want to know why your story is worth telling and why we should care about the characters. In short, what does your story say about us? This doesn’t just mean making it about something important – you also need to make sure that it’s about something contemporary. A modern take on an old story can breathe new life into it. Similarly, if your story is set in the past, explain how its themes are still relevant today.
2. Make it immediate
Theatre should be timeless but not dated. Great theatre is as fresh and engaging now as it was when first written or performed; even if the setting or characters’ costumes have changed over time. It’s amazing how often Shakespeare’s plays
Great theatre is both an art and a craft. The art is composed of the emotional and intellectual aspects of theatre. The craft, or the technology, is the “how-to” of theatre: the physical, tangible skills needed to produce a play. Great theatre successfully combines these elements in a way that inspires us emotionally and intellectually. This can be done in many different ways; however, there are five characteristics that I believe are essential.
Great Theatre is Honest
Great Theatre involves you fully
Great Theatre is Entertaining
Great Theatre Makes Us Think
Great Theatre is Well Crafted
The main elements of theatre are: 1) Audience 2) Performer 3) Text 4) Director 5) Design. Each one is key to creating an engaging piece of work. Without one the others would seem out of place. For example, if you have an amazing performer but no audience to watch them then that performance would never be seen by anyone. The elements all depend on each other in order for a piece of theatre to be great.
The elements are in a triangle to show how they are all linked together. They are linked because they all need each other in order for a piece of theatre to be created and performed. Each element acts as another element’s support, for example the audience supports the performers by watching the performance and giving their reactions which the performers can then use to adjust their next performance if needed.
The history of theatre is long, and it’s hard to say exactly when it began, but one thing’s for sure: it is as old as humanity itself.
Theatre has been performed in every culture and country in the world. It has developed in countless different forms and styles, and its value has been recognised by some of our most intelligent minds. Plato called it “the greatest of the arts.”
So what makes the theatre so great? Why does it continue to thrive even in the age of Netflix and Instagram? Here are five reasons why theatre can always be relied on to deliver engaging stories and memorable experiences.