Washington DC’s theater scene has suffered a blow this past year after The Washington Post stopped reviewing Theatre for Young Audiences, or Children’s Theatre. Multiple theaters reported a drop in ticket sales, as well as traffic to their websites.
At first glance this story (analyzed very well in this article) raises concerns about the future of Theatre for Young Audiences, jobs for theatre artists, as well as the next generation of theatre audiences. However from a slightly different perspective this story asks modern theatre artists (once again) what is art?
If Children’s Theatre isn’t considered art, does that mean art is dependent on the viewer? Is art qualified by the age/maturity of audience members? This story comes at an interesting time when companies like Pixar have spent many years successfully drawing in adult audiences to their movies targeted mainly for children. College graduates know the lyrics to “Let it Go” from Frozen better then the average six year old. Although not every animated film strikes a chord with older generations, adults still find many of these “children’s movies” enjoyable. How are plays and musicals any different then movies in this regard?
Here is my perspective, as simple as it is: there are enough enemies of theatre. Budget cuts (which the Washington Post claims to be the reason for cutting Theatre for Young Audience reviews), lack of audience support, dwindling theater spaces, etc. Every theatre artist is constantly aware of these enemies of the art. Why would we act as enemies to each other? Even if I don’t enjoy watching or working on Children’s Theatre why would I allow it to flounder unsupported?
If you feel the same was as I do, just click here to send a letter to The Washington Post and let them know. The DC theatre scene thanks you in advance.