Theatre is necessary…
The stories we tell, and the way we tell them, reflect the culture from which they emerged.
Because it defines a civilization and reveals a culture, theatre is necessary to the development of a culturally competent citizenry; one capable of recognizing the interconnectedness of peoples, spaces and eras. Theatre is necessary for the creation and continuation of community; that entity which allows for emotional and physical security required for innovation. As technological advances allow for wider global connections, theatre reminds us of the impact of individual choices, the horror of human failure, and the opportunity for human triumph.
Therefore, theatre must be made necessary, and necessarily made.
This art form fulfills its greatest potential when it does not exist in a void. When it is linked, applicable, influenced and influential, then it is necessary to the health of the broader community. Theatre that is necessary deepens our collaborative capability and our culture’s capacity to inquire. Inquiry, in turn, deepens our ability to be civilized.
Theatre is necessary when it offers both artist and audience a living illumination of timeless social questions, cultural fears and achievements, and individual realizations.
Therefore, the productions I direct are fiercely reflective of human nature and immediately relevant to our understanding of self and society.
It is said that to be a civilized person one must be conversant in the arts. My convictions as a teaching-artist are steeped in this sentiment, and therefore I believe theatre is necessary.
This manifesto provides the foundation for my work as a teaching-artist and stage director.
Copy-write: Janeve West
For a full version of this manifesto, and further discussion of curricular implications, feel free to look at my Philosophy of Teaching and Creative Endeavor