Does Theatre lose Quality on the Move?

Does Theatre lose Quality on the Move?

A few weeks ago I wrote about the best theatre festivals and performance arts in general. We mentioned 24:7, a festival in Manchester that recently took place. For those that are unfamiliar, this festival is exceptional because the scripts are anonymous to the judges and the performances are scattered around clubs, pubs and many other places.

The matter of the fact is, I personally find travelling theatre performances a bit of a gamble. Instead of the home ground, the actors breakout into new stages, to new audiences. In essence, instead of people coming to see actors, actors come to the people. And that’s a whole different dynamic that may influence the quality of the performance.

For example, if a play would be shown in a bar or some cool gambling site just outside Las Vegas instead of the small, intimate surroundings of the theatre? Like what happens when, mostly to promote their play, the cast goes to a festival where instead of a couple of hundred, there are thousands of people chatting, drinking and having a good time.

I walked backstage of many theatres before and after the shows, I’ve watched warm-ups and post-show discussions. This is the atmosphere that can really leave you breathless. However, often playing on tours, changes the atmosphere dramatically. The actor’s attitude changes and the audience is not as focused because instead of being the only show they will see that night, it’s one of many. Often, during these festivals some plays are performed simultaneously.

But what if it weren’t a festival? What if actors move out for one or two nights and, just for the change is scenery, perform somewhere different? Macbeth could be performed in a castle, Dealer’s Choice could be held in a cool gambling site like the Copenhagen Casino that used to be a very beautiful theatre. Well, you get an idea.

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Fitting the scenery to the play could do wonders and actually help actors give even the better performance compared to the one at home. Because theatre is as much about the play as it is about the audience. It is live.

If you have never been to a play on tour and at any point find out about a performance such as this, make sure not to miss it. It really has potential to be extraordinary. But while I speak from experience, I am curious to know what sort of experiences has you had in theatres on tour? Did you feel more distracted? Was the performance good?

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