I was 4 when my dad took me to see Nutcracker. It was my first time seeing a live performance, and I was completely in awe of the dancers and loved the atmosphere. It got me asking for my first ballet class, but it also brought me to the theatre. Flash forward to 2017, I applied for Theatre studies in my university application out of pure interest and curiosity. I couldn’t even explain it clearly to my parents, I just knew it was something I really, really wanted to explore.
Theatre meant different things to me throughout the years. From the ages of 14 to 15, it meant school drama productions, something I felt was really cool to do outside of my studies with my friends. When I turned 17, it pushed (more like forced) me out of my comfort zone even when I preferred staying in my shell. It also meant taking on the opportunity to try out non-acting roles, and learning to feel okay even when, and I don’t want to use this word but I will on this occasion, sucked, at them.
Shortly before my 18th birthday, the director of a musical production I was part of taught me that theatre is more than putting on an entertaining show – theatre can and should be missional, and carries a great capacity to reflect its time and the people who live in it. So, at 18, theatre became a space for me to grow, and to understand the communities and city I was (and still am) connected to in the midst of stressful news and unrest. It also became a platform to express my anger, fear and frustration. Then theatre – along with almost everything else – went online. Between baking and cleaning up my room during my 19th birthday, I found myself looking into what inclusivity and accessibility looked like in theatre. I had the opportunity to interview and discuss with writers, directors and theatre-makers about exploring the use of other senses in creating and experiencing theatre. Now, I’m excited to rediscover what theatre means to me and the direction it leads me to.
Like Rachel, are you passionate about performance? Why not join Box Office and Audience Insights Manager Wez for Live recording of his podcast Wez builds a Theatre on Thursday 9 December. Rachel also suggests getting involved in Drama Drop to hone your performing skills!