Meditation on entering a theatre space …

My professional life has been pretty much spent in and around theatres big and small, indoors and out. When I am away from home I tend to gravitate towards theatre venues either to see a show or just lollygag at the architecture, design, the posters – in general soak in the atmosphere and ponder on the potential. I try to catch some of this attraction in a collection of images that I’m adding to all the time. These are housed in a Theatre set on Flickr.

I’m currently in Singapore to visit friends, sample the endlessly fascinating cuisine, and to take in a new production by my friend Jian Hong Kuo, the Artistic Director of The Theatre Practice, the professional arm of the PPAS  (Practice Performing Arts School) established by her father, the late and yes, great Kuo Pao Kun. Jian is currently in production week and at the final tech stages of the Mandarin language musical ‘If There’re Seasons.’ More on the show in another post.

Anyhow, all this by way of saying that Jian’s husband took me on a walking tour via the incredibly efficient SMRT (Singapore transit system) to some of the theatre venues in town – all new to me. From the stark modernity of the huge Esplanade Arts Centre, the rehearsal rooms at The Theatre Practice, to the Drama Centre auditorium in the National Library building where the show will play, it all felt very, very comfortable. Does a pilot feel this way entering a cockpit, a cook a kitchen … I wonder.

I sat in another big dark room yesterday for a while during the tech watching Jian at work. The people in the space had that old familiar energy … heck some of them even looked familiar, even though I’d never seen them before in my life. I speak about a dozen words of Mandarin but I think I even knew what they were talking about.  A tech is a tech is a tech, right?

I’ve been mulling over this feeling since yesterday. Fact is I feel at home in the theatre … any theatre. Yes it’s my workspace and it isn’t always comfortable, but it’s a thrilling, challenging zone to inhabit. I wonder how others feel about this? Is just being in the space – any theatre space – one of its attractions?

Author: Kate Wilson

Actor, director, teacher, dabbler with paint, serial traveller.