R.I.P. Live Theatre
Are we seeing the slow, agonising death of local amatuer dramatic societies?
I have been involved, some way or another, in amateur dramatics since I was 6 years old. Now, at the age of 33, I am currently Vice Chairman of my local amateur theatre group.
What I have noticed in recent years, is a vast decline in audience numbers. Considering we are an award winning society, I think I can safely assume it has nothing to do with a lack of talent on or off stage. Then what can it be?
For the first time in its fifteen year history, the Swansea summer repertory season has been cancelled for 2014. Why? Not enough tickets being sold. These shows used to sell out, year after year. The repertory season is done by professionals, and if they can’t sell tickets, what hope do us meagre amateurs have?
Many have surmised that it “Must be down to the current economic climate”, “Everyone is tightening their belts these days” – I don’t buy that!
We are all still willing to spend a small fortune going to the cinema to see the latest “Blockbuster” and our favourite “Actor” (I use the term actor loosely) blow shit up and kill a million zombies. Yet, we are not so willing to go and see live action, on a stage, where you are up close and personal, feeling all the tension, passion, fear and every other emotion the cast wish to make you feel, for just £5!
Yes, that’s right, most local productions now are £5 — £10.
Take yourself to the cinema and you can expect that price, after the mountain of junk food you inevitably buy with it, to be more like £20 — £30, and let’s face it, who goes to the cinema by themselves? A family of four are looking close to, if not over £100.
So, if it isn’t the cost, then what is it?
Maybe it’s the TV society we have become. Let’s face it, all the best shows are on TV between 7pm and 9pm on a Friday and Saturday night. Although isn’t that what TiVo and Sky+ are for?
With TiVo and Sky+ now readily available, it must be something else again………
………..I have yet to work out what it is.
So, in the meantime, why not find yourself a nice local dramatic group, find out when they are performing next, and pop along to see what you are missing.
Our group is based in the Neath area in South Wales, UK.
We are currently about to perform “Doubt: a parable” by John Patrick Shanley.
If you happen to be in the area, please pop along and see us perform.