No mater where we start, the conversation of “where are you moving?” constantly works its way into conversation between my peers and I. As the Senior Class prepares to go out into the nation and become active theatre artists, I often find that I am torn between moving to some grand city (alright, lets be honest, New York) and staying in the Boston Community in which I have found a home over the last four years. Besides the fact that Boston has a flourishing community of people excited to cultivate and produce new work, there are also beautiful regional theatres that exhibit both classic and contemporary plays. In short-why would I leave?
Boston is home to not only the Boston University School of Theatre, but also the Emerson College Performing Arts program, as well as many other acting/designing/directing programs in the greater Boston Area. Most Boston theatre graduates move to either New York or Los Angeles, leaving the Boston Theatre Scene with a smaller pool of young actors than desired. What causes so many young people to leave Boston in search of something new? Is it simply because we all want to prove we can have great success in New York despite the limited opportunities? Is it just pride? We all seem to be aware of the great amount of opportunity in staying in Boston, with a decent amount of my peers heavily considering staying and working here. Why aren’t we all jumping at this chance?
This problem seems to exist in other areas of work in Boston, not simply the artistic world. There are several Boston.com articles that ask the question: How do we retain the young workforce to stay in Boston? I have a feeling that there is something universal in the feeling of Boston as a college town, at least for recent graduates. Undergrads flood the streets where I live and many places I go downtown as well. A part of me wants to go somewhere I can start to be considered “an adult”and I don’t think that Boston offers me that sort of opportunity, perhaps by my own limitations.
I am choosing to leave Boston because I feel like I am too comfortable at the age of 22 to stay here much longer. That I’ll cultivate patterns that I don’t want to live with. Really, because I am scared I have exhausted Boston. Now that I say it, how foolish I feel. How could I exhaust a city so full of people calling out for me to stay and collaborate? Maybe then, I’m leaving Boston because Chicago or New York feels like something I need to do as an aritst in her 20’s. Like a right of passage. There is no reason to leave, but I am also finding no desire for me to stay. It feels practical to stay, but not desirable. Young artists! You stay in Boston and work! I have a feeling I’ll be back sooner rather than later.