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Exposure to, understanding of, participation in/with Great Culture is enriching. It expands our minds, gives us depth, expands our world view, makes us smarter and more compassionate, elevates our station, allows transcendence over grief and banality, gives us a reason to strive for something better.
Even though my family of 4 is what many in this country would consider well off, the price of tickets to cultural events like plays, musicals, and ballets gives me great pause. I just purchased tickets to see a show, with a dinner reservation at the theater for my friend and I and the total bill was $220. That is a lot of money. We could certainly not afford that kind of theatre going very often, and this is being written by a person who got a university degree in the dramatic arts, spent a number of years as a professional singer/actor in plays and musicals, and has spent the rest of my life participating in the arts in one way or another.
Being a performer, I intimately understand that creating a production of any kind is expensive and requires the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of many. Creating a new work of art is a gift to the ages, as Stephen Sondheim wrote in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, “Look, I made a hat…Where there never was a hat.” And the people who do this creative work, deserve to be paid well for it.
But the cost of going to the see a play or musical, ballet or symphony is exorbitant. The thought of taking the whole family to see a show makes us consider what else we could possibly give up that same month.
This begs the question: WHO IS THEATER FOR? Shouldn’t grand culture be for everyone? Most of society is starved for cultural experience and cannot afford it. Individuals benefit greatly from exposure to great culture, yet it can only be regularly consumed by a select few. The benefits of an individual’s cultural literacy extends to the larger society. Filled with people who have an appreciation of fine art, theater, music, and dance are more likely to expect more from life. If only great cultural experiences could be delivered and consumed in an affordable way!
We live in an era of technology.
If live performance is too expensive to be consumed in person, it can be recorded and electronically delivered. Kids get so much from experiencing live performance live and in person. Btu they can sitll get a lot from watching a recording of it. If it is not AS good, it is still pretty close.
Can’t more venues record the performances so kids can see them at home or at school?
If there is not a budget to take children to the great museums of the world, schools can and should make an effort to go online and help kids discover the art as it is available online.
I sing to kids in schools. Some of these schools are designated as Title 1, meaning
These children NEED and deserve exposure to cultural experiences just as much as anyone.
Human capital must be recognized, understood and appreciated, nurtured and cultivated.
Everybody matters. Everyone should reach their potential, their Divine Design.
The world NEEDs every person to achieve his or her Divine Design.
Exposure to Great Culture is an essential element in allowing this to happen, for the transcendental treasures it gives.
On the other side of the coin, however, I recently bought tickets to see
Recording of live performances could be shown in movie theaters (like some opera events are currently being shown), libraries, school multi-purpose rooms, church basements and community centers. If people can’t get to the theater, bring the theater to the people.
Some opera performances are being live broadcast to movie theaters, but this could be done with recordings and on a much larger scale to include Broadway, Off-Broadway, West End, Ballet, Cabaret, Regional Theater…all of it.
Artists and arts professionals would flourish by the wider audience and culturally under served audiences would flourish from their exposure to the art. It is win-win.