Writing Political Theatre Panel Discussion

I don’t know about you but when I think about theatre, I automatically think about entertainment, human stories, emotions – basically how a piece of theatre makes me feel.

Never how it changed my point of view or how it provoked me to improve my lifestyle or the world that I am living in.

Well thanks to Live Theatre’s Writing Political Theatre Panel Discussion, presented as part of this year’s Live Lab Elevator festival, it has changed the way I think about theatre.

The panel included Live Theatre’s Literary Manager Gez Casey and Artistic Director Max Roberts along with the current writer in residence with Northumbria University, Lindsay Rodden and writers Vinay Patel and Zoe Cooper. And it is thanks to them that my outlook of theatre has totally changed.

I never thought that politics and theatre could even be close together, from what I learnt in the panel was that theatre can dissect the matters in our society today. Though it can’t force audiences to make a change – that’s not what theatre is about. No, political theatre is about making the issues aware to the audience and to create a discussion about it.

I found that a rather interesting point, the panel were saying that art is a great platform for politics. Writers are great storytellers – they can engage with the audience and tell them what they are worried about.

Theatre is a place to make thought provoking work, the role of the writer is to deconstruct the issues of today. Turn that into a metaphor and produce a powerful play that can connect with their audience.

And it doesn’t matter if an issue has lost its shelf life in terms of when a story happened. The beauty of political theatre is that it can make an issue pertinent, just focus on the recurring themes rather than the particular event.

Theatre makers can’t have control or power over what happens in the world but they sure can highlight the issues of our society.

Gemma Hirst
February Blogger

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