A world without performing arts is not a world many of us would want to be in. Performing arts have the power to soothe, distract, entertain and shift many things within us. Performing arts benefits the artist, the wider team, and the audience. The benefits for our community are infinite and varied. This is not an exhaustive list but some of the reasons why we need to value and support performing arts and artists.
The performing arts can help shift our thinking and offer up a new perspective. Through watching and participating in performing arts we can put ourselves in the shoes of the characters, we can reflect on themes and concepts that are reflected in the performance, and come to new conclusions about things. We can build empathy and performance can shine a light on a story, or an idea we may not have considered before. Performing arts can challenge existing preconceptions of things and bring new understandings.
Bring about change
The performing arts can be a great tool in societal change. They can cover big concepts like war and love and distill them. They can give us space to talk about issues that are important. It can bring young and old people from diverse cultural backgrounds together and can break down stereotypes. They can change us internally or change society’s viewpoints and ideas on things. They can move us forward and help us be better.
Hold a mirror
We can through the arts illustrate the human experience and hold a mirror up to it. A performance can teach us about people and places we would never have known otherwise. It can connect us to the world around us. We often get so busy in our day-to-day lives that we miss that moment to reflect and see our lives through a different lens. Holding a mirror up to our lives or our community can often make us want to be better.
As well as entertaining us, performances can bring joy and move us. They can take us on an intellectual, emotional, or spiritual journey and delight us. Part of a good life is to feel joyful and our community is richer for the experiences of watching and participating in performing arts. They can comfort us in our grief and sadness and energize us in our happiness. They can be a form of escapism that the world desperately needs. Another key part is the performer themselves who has a creative outlet that brings them joy and they can share their talents with others.
The performance brings the perspective of the artists to others and helps to shine a light on the things that we all understand. Everyone’s story matters and by sharing this through performance art, we can find connections and mutual understanding. So often these days people feel disconnected and the mediums they use to connect, such as social media and messenger, often don’t help them feel that connection at all. We need as humans to connect on a deeper level than just a quick text, ping, or like. We need to relate and feel a shared sense of lived experience and the arts can really help us fill this void.
A performance can teach us about something we may not have considered before. Whether that is a closer look at an idea or concept or insight into someone’s life. We might learn about a new culture or religion or way of life. It can teach us empathy. How often have you left a performance and felt that you left with a deeper level of understanding of something or someone? Often that is a deeper understanding of humankind itself.
Bring stories to life
Reading is a fantastic medium but when you can bring a story to life on the stage it can have a strong impact and reach a bigger audience. When performance is played out, the audience can be left with a deeper understanding or unique insight. It can often be played out in a different way, say an older story played out in a contemporary setting, with modern twists that bring a story to a perhaps younger audience who can relate more to the medium of contemporary performing art.
All these reasons and more are why a thriving performance arts sector with performing arts courses and training to support up-and-coming talent, can help a community thrive and be better.