Tuesday 3 September 2019

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My Love of Theatre

A photo inside a theatre, at the back of the stalls looking over the red seats towards the stage with it's red safetly curtain down

Photo by Peter Lewicki on Unsplash

My Love of Theatre

Today, I thought I would talk to you about my love of the theatre. I have been a huge fan of drama and theatre - especially musical theatre - for as long as I can remember. To me, musical theatre is the best form of storytelling - yes, even more so than books! As a child, I would always ask to borrow my grandma's videos of My Fair Lady, The King and I, and her video of Cats live on stage, when Elaine Paige played Grizabella. As a ten-year-old, I joined my primary school's after school Drama Club, and there I discovered a love of acting. The club went on a trip to see Bugsy Malone - sparking my love of musical theatre - and then put on our production. I played Roxy Robinson, the second character on stage and the first character to die(!), and, of course, Baby Face - because, really, with my face, who could be better for the part?

My love of acting and theatre continued as I moved to secondary school, and I took Drama through to GCSE and A-Level. I wasn't particularly good, but there is nothing quite like the freedom felt on stage, playing the part of someone else and entertaining a crowd. As someone who has always been terribly shy and quiet, doing presentations in class was something I found terrifying, but it was a different story when it came to acting. Stepping onto the stage allowed me to shake off the person everyone thought I was, and surprise us all - myself included - that this timid girl was throwing herself around the stage, laughing manically, and collapsing more times than I can count (I just wish I was taught how to fall properly - I also banged my head more times than I can count). A highlight for me was playing Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, a medium who's a little on the quirky side!

Through Drama I got to see a number of plays, and because of my love of the theatre, I would also see plays and musicals outside of school. I would give and receive tickets to see various shows at birthdays and Christmas, and sometimes I would buy tickets for my Mum and I if I wanted to see something and wanted company. Other times, when we could afford it, Mum and I would buy tickets for a particular play we wanted to see - in 2011 we tried to watch a different play each month, but we couldn't keep it up in the end. Here is a list of all the plays and musicals I've seen to date, in chronological order

1. Bugsy Malone - roughly 1996

2. Starlight Express - roughly 1997

3. The King and I - 2000

4. Stones in His Pockets - 2001

5. The Mousetrap - 2000

6. My Fair Lady - 2003

7. The Woman in Black - 2003 & 2012

8. Hamlet - 2003

9. Tricky - 2003

10. Grease - sometime between 2003-2005

11. Tom, Dick & Harry - 2005

12. Wicked - 2007 & 2014

13. Blood Brothers - 2009

14. Sunset Boulevard - 2009

15. Calendar Girls - 2009

16. Flash Dance - 2010

17. Love Story - 2011

18. Legally Blonde - 2011

19. Les Misérables - 2011

21. Chicago - 2011

22. Goodnight Mr Tom - 2013

23. Miss Saigon - 2016

24. Ghost - 2016

25. School of Rock - 2017

26. Phantom of the Opera - 2017

27. Carousel - 2017

28. Dick Whittington panto - 2017

29. Young Frankenstein - 2018

30. Matilda - 2019

31. Harry Potter & the Cursed Child Parts 1 & 2 - 2019

32. Come From Away - 2019

33. Waitress - 2019

The kinds of musicals - because I do prefer musicals to straight plays - tend to be those that bring out an emotional reaction in me. I adored Blood Brothers, Les Misérables (which was my favourite up until recently), and Miss Saigon. But my favourite has to be Waitress, which I saw last month, starring Lucie Jones, Ashley Roberts, Marsha Wallace, Blake Harrison, and David Hunter. Not only is it incredibly moving, with an outstanding soundtrack with so many favourites, it's also so bloody funny! There was a hell of a lot of laughter as well as tears, and I just absolutely loved it. I definitely have to see it again.

Theatre is a big part of my life, and I've decided I want to reflect this on the blog through reviews of the shows I see from now on. However, I am aware I've seen a hell of a lot more plays and musical than a lot of people, and I'm quite lucky. I'm not a big fan of how the theatre seems to shut people out - if you can't afford to, you can't go. I don't think tickets should be so expensive, and I think it's pretty classist. I hate the thought that someone who loves the theatre as much as I do isn't able to go as often as I have. Tickets should be a lot cheaper to make theatre accessible to all.

Over to you graphic

Do you love the theatre? Do you prefer straight plays or musicals? What are some of your favourites? Have you seen any of the plays/musicals I have? Let me know in the comments!

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