I Can haz Value?

O Hai!

Slay over at the Hub of the Theatre Blogging Universe asks the Theatre Think Tank initiative question "What is it all about?".

He said it in more words.

The Value of Theatre

by Unasked Theatre Blogger Travis, Age 3

What is the Value of Theatre?

What is the Value of Church?

Strip away the Supreme being and what is church?

Without Diana Ross, or any other Supreme, church is a ritualized gathering to examine belief and to enjoy community.

"But Travis, why not film or visual art? They can create community or challenge belief!"

Indeed they can, and do, but when the art on the other end of the wire is a person there is a very different level of audience commitment and audience accountability. That accountability and the vitality of the connection between a live performer and an audience member changes the level of interaction.

Simple. But True.

Theatre is secular church.
We are it’s preachers.

Why do we need to discuss the value of theatre?

Because we want others to pay for it.

We don’t need to apologize for our art. This examination isn’t for the audience,
it’s for when Johnny Deeppockets asks.
We need to know, and we need to be sure.

Evangelism requires deep, true faith. 

Other folks (longer, more eloquent) answers all over the place,

Theater for the Future, Rat Sass, Theatre Ideas, Parabasis, The Next Stage, Steve on Broadway, Theatre is Territory, Freedom Spice in the New Mash-Up World, Mike Daisey, An Angry White Guy in Chicago, Bite & Smile, That Sounds Cool, A Rhinestone World, GreyZelda Land, On Theatre and Politics, and The Devil Vet.

and back at Slay’s house as linked above.


  • Simon

    Great post Travis, and synchronous, I had this very discussion with a young guy at work today. I have referred to myself as a member of the church of theatre many times, but the veracity of that statement really popped out at me reading this.

    And our creed encourages the exploration of free will at that, and not only examines belief, but can challenge it.

    Good value for your money, I’d say.

  • GreyZelda Land

    This church idea is something I’m into exploring, as well … so, how do we make our audiences as devoted as the weekly church-going crowd?


  • Nick Keenan

    The only doubt I have about the theater as church angle – and don’t be fooled, it’s religious for me as well, though I tend to keep that bit to myself – is that church to me means spiritual experiences felt through the institutionalization of dogma, and for me theater shouldn’t be about institutionalization or dogma… it should be about rediscovering individuality and self-generated energy (two of the values that were bandied about elsewhere yesterday), and the community is secondary to that experience – though still a big part of the theatrical experience. What do you think?

  • Devilvet


    I think one way to look at your description of the church is how the most successful theatre companies brand. They are corporations/institutions that offer experience. The Canon could be their Dogma.