Monday, August 25, 2008

Theatre Education

So, last night i drank some coffee, which seems to have kicked in starting at 7am, leaving me wide awake in a NYC warehouse full of sleeping musicians and artists (we hooked up with this crazy band from baltimore last night). Fortunately, i found someone's laptop, and then i found this interesting blog post about theatre education. It reminds me of things some of us have talked about in the past, so i thought i'd share.

my position on this is: if theatre education programs are too narrow, and only preparing people for careers in the established theatre institutions, a field that as it declines is becoming more and more arbitrary, close-minded and exploitative, then theatre students ought to drop out of those programs and instead get their theatre education the way that most of the theatre artists these programs teach about and romanticize did: by  self-guided experimentation and creating their own theatre on their own terms.

Theatre education programs are an institution that profits and perpetuates itself just fine under the current system. The few actors who make it big give millions of students something to dream for. Theatre education programs will maximize their income from tuition if they encourage these dreams. The few educators who object to exploiting their students in this way will be taking a pass on that income, and like everything else in a capitalist system, doing the right thing gives you a competitive disadvantage, which over time will result in your replacement by less scupulous competitors. This is an institutional problem, one that will only be solved by escaping the flawed institutions.

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