21 October 2019 at 3:32 pm
Are the ‘Arts’ for everyone? – A blog
Are the ‘Arts’ for everyone?
This is a question I’ve been pondering a lot recently. Working in a bar within an art venue I often feel on the edge of both worlds.
I’ve been lucky enough to work in a performing arts venue for most of my adult life. This has given me real insight into the world of theatre. It is a very unusual world if you are not used to it. I have enjoyed taking my children to various shows and have seen how the arts really open their young minds.
When you are inside the bubble of the theatre world you can see all the hard work that goes into every part of putting on a show. From the moment the buzz starts, usually with a manager coming down the steps, all excited, to say that someone wants to perform in our venue. Right down to the detail of the technical department who work out if we can manage all the logistics and practicalities that this show may require. All these complex arrangements require reams of emails, discussions and meetings. Then the news reaches the box office who busy themselves with working out the seating plans, ticket prices and the big task of deciding how best we are going to promote this specific show. It takes a whole team of committed people to put on a show.
Once the details have been sorted it’s a big task for everyone who works in the building to make this show go as smoothly as possibly. We are look at riders for the performers, check on the stocks in the bar to ensure that we have everything food and beverage-wise that the customers for this show could possibly desire.
Our team at the venue can be as passionate about a show as it is possible to be…but the hard part is persuading the customers to take a risk and believe in the show that they don’t know about and take a chance on buying a ticket. We want people coming along to an evening with an open mind and hopeful heart ready to be entertained, amused, moved and enthralled. There is a famous quote by artist Picasso which reiterates this “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Life can get dusty or boring, sad or mundane and art can counteract this. When I see a great play or musical I can come away uplifted or made to think in a new way.
Recently the arts funding has been somewhat stretched due to government cuts but there are still new drama groups opening and the local colleges and universities are oversubscribed for people wanting to work in theatre. Creativity does not die even when there are no resources. People are still creative and want and need and outlet. With the onslaught of negative world events and serious social issues we all still want to be entertained, provoked and transported into another world.
I understand that when you are a family on a working-class wage it feels as though you cannot justify spending what would be equivalent to a week’s shopping on theatre tickets. There is still a real sigma around theatre being for the upper class but there is an overwhelming amount being done to try and encourage accessibility for all.
When you are in the zone of looking, you can see there are some affordable shows and good offers to take advantage of. But if you’re not in way of noticing you may not be able to see what your local theatres have to offer. For instance, at our venue we have started a ‘Pay What You Decide Scheme’ which seems to work well. This idea is that we give control to the consumer, so they don’t feel the pressure of forking out a small fortune beforehand for a show that they aren’t sure about. It really is as simple as it sounds…you get to pay what you think it is worth at the end. It is also a great opportunity for local or new artists to showcase their work to a captive audience.
This is an amazing world we live in. Our country is well known for its art heritage. Running a successful theatre is a lot of hard work for everyone involved- from the C.E.O.’s to the cleaners. It is not your standard job where every day is the same – which makes it so special. The effort that goes into putting a show on, for everyone involved is something money can’t buy. It is inspiring. It’s not about money for the people that work in the theatre or for the theatre itself it is about passion. The truly amazing feeling you get inside from seeing a unique piece of theatre is priceless, and the joy on the faces when people come out of an amazing show is what it’s all about.
So please check out your local theatres and believe me when I say they want you to go and see their work. Keep an eye out for offers encouraging you to go and visit, as we need your support more than ever to keep the arts alive.
Written by Carly Brookes – Lincoln Drill Hall Cafe Bar Manager.