The Importance Of Regional Theatre

As a theatre reviewer, I am always on the lookout to review the next performance and as I start to fill up my theatre calendar for the rest of this year, I find myself contemplating over the theatre opportunities here in my region.

There are many theatre productions out there that I want to review but can’t due to location, whether it is in London or Edinburgh- the shows that are performed there sadly don’t always tour to the North East.

Admittedly I do feel a tiny disappointed when this happens and I worry that I will be missing out. But after that thought, I tell myself- no, I am not missing out, I am not missing out at all.

Perhaps it is those audiences who are missing out on the smaller theatre productions?

That is the beauty of regional theatre, I get the privilege to sit at my local theatres and review some fantastic and original performances instead of viewing a big production that the world and his wife have seen.

There is something special and rather quaint about the put togetherness of regional theatre show, the rawness and edginess of a local performance is refreshing to see.  

I cast my mind back to an article in The Guardian in 2011, and I remind myself why regional theatre is so important to this industry.As I quote from the article written by Lyn Gardner: 

“One regional theatre is not like another. Regional shouldn’t be a dirty word, but a badge of pride like the one worn by many foods or local beers.”

I should be and am proud of the North East theatre, I like the fact that regional theatre is relevant to the audience watching, it is personal to those who living in the area. Correct me if I am wrong, but you don’t always get that same feeling if you see a bigger, a more well known production.   

Dedication and passion

Theatre audiences appear to have a dedication and a passion to their local theatres, as without the venues there would be nowhere to go. With arts funding some venues reply on box office figures and those audiences to turn up to watch the programmes to ensure secure funding.

Understandably, local theatre may not be for everyone- people have different tastes in theatre and they may enjoy the bigger productions in London instead of the smaller shows. But just to be able to see a production that you know is unique to your region has to be experienced. 

Let us know what you think of your local theatre in the comments below or on Twitter @KettleMag!