Looking for a new tradition to shake up the holiday season? Well, I have the perfect suggestion. Going out to see a play or show is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. Not only does it allow people an opportunity to spend time with their loved ones and those within their communities, but it represents the spirit of philanthropy, giving back, and uniting communities.
Going out to see a play is a great way to support your community. Most community theaters try to put on some sort of production for the holidays, and taking the time to go and see what they have been working on is a great way to acknowledge all of the time and effort that the cast and crew put into the show during months of rehearsals. As someone who has performed on stage many times, I can say from experience that having a full audience makes a huge difference between having a good show and having a bad show. That feeling of support and excitement from an audience energizes those on stage and makes performers want to give the best performance of their lives. In the theater, everyone’s presence matters.
Additionally, going to the theater often presents people with an opportunity to give back to their communities. Ticket sales go towards cast and crew paychecks, as well as back into the arts. Oftentimes theaters will save what is left after paying salaries and put it towards future shows. Any money audience members might spend at a show- whether it be just on a ticket to secure a seat, on concessions, or even donations (as many theaters will also request donations from audiences)- will go toward funding future productions, often being spent on things like rights to certain shows, new lights for better sets, costumes, props, different venue spaces, etc. In a sense, going to the theater is like investing in the arts, which enriches communities by broadening their cultural experiences.
Furthermore, some theaters operate as nonprofits. When people go to see plays and shows by non-profit theaters, they are being charitable with their time and money, and we all know that the holidays serve as a reminder to give back to others as a means of expressing gratitude for one another. Being charitable means more than just sacrificing time and money for others’ well-being, though. It can also mean giving a platform to communities of people that are often overlooked. I spent my summer volunteering at one such community theater called, Theater in the Cloud. I worked as the stage manager on one of their productions, and after working on it and getting to watch the final performance, I learned a lot about the ways in which theater empowers people. It can be particularly empowering for those with disabilities who struggle to feel seen and validated. Going to support theaters that give platforms to voices that are often ignored is something people can do to educate themselves while also uplifting others. I have found theater to be a very enriching experience, as it brings people together under our shared sense of humanity. Finally, if being charitable isn’t enough of a good reason to go see a play for the holidays, then do it for yourself. In this instance, I give you full permission to be selfish. Go with your family, go with a friend, go on a date, or go by yourself. At worst, you’ll walk in skeptical and walk out cultured. Even if you’re the type of person that’s not ‘into the theater,’ going to see a play can still make for a fun outing to shake up your routine.