Fun is a Good Thing

We are unfortunately made to think that work has to be overly laborious and financially successful. Any job that seems fun is deemed frivolous. Theatre, for many, seems like a strange and unnecessary career path. Why wouldn’t you choose something that makes you more money? It’s almost unthinkable that someone might want a job because they have fun doing it.

I’ve had discussions with other theatre friends about how our jobs should be taken more seriously. When working on a production we should treat the process just like a surgeon would treat a surgery: all serious-like.

There are many reasons why people don’t take theatre seriously, especially those who’ve never been involved in it before and don’t see the many high-level skills necessary to make it all come together. But it’s even more crushing when fellow theatre lovers think they always have to approach the work with a high level of professionalism and seriousness.

Theatre is fun. And it should be. You’re working together with friends and creating something out of thin air. Ideas are shared and supported, you play interesting characters, new discoveries are celebrated… The inherent process of theatre-making almost requires a good time. It can get stressful, yes, but a healthy amount of playfulness and vulnerability is necessary. We can’t take risks and make important creative decisions without being vulnerable to mistakes, and that means we have to trust each other. That trust is strengthened with lighthearted understanding and humour.

Let’s start ignoring the pressure to make work dull. I’m so grateful to be working in an industry that’s as ridiculous as the theatre. And I’m tired of being shamed for having fun.

This post is inspired by a wonderfully articulate essay by Seth Wilson, called “The New Antitheatrical Prejudice”. Read it on Howlround here.

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