Why I Live For Live Theatre (#LoveTheatreDay)

I think it's pretty apparent that I really do love live theatre; live theatre is literally my favourite thing in the entire world and I've been lucky enough to experience it with such frequency for as long as I can remember. My career as a West End frequenter though didn't occur until August 2008 when I went and saw my first West End musical Hairspray (more on that here).

I didn't start to go more than 15 times a year until 2013. I'm happy to say that I've already been to the theatre way more than twice as many times as 15 in 2016 and I never stop being in awe - for me, going to the theatre still genuinely feels as magical and exciting as it was way back when in August 2008. So, in aid of #LoveTheatreDay this year, I thought I'd tell you what keeps the magic of theatre alive for me and how I'll be celebrating.

It's hard to describe what makes theatre as magical as I feel like it is because it's so second nature in my eyes. The most blindingly obvious point is that the acting is live, which in turn makes it more intimate: there's something incredibly captivating about watching an actor perform for almost a solid two and a half hours right in front of your eyes - there's no lies here! They are literally stood there in front of you on that stage performing a show with such incredible perfection. It's something I admire every single time I go to the theatre, and I'm reminded of it every single time I make a conscious effort to remember that these are just characters that actors are playing. For me, nothing beats a live performance actor. I can even add to this love by reminding myself that these people perform the exact same thing for eight performances a week, every single week of the year yet they still manage to perform as if it's the first night. Not only must that be tough and annoying, but it really does take true talent to be able to do that so well.

The audience is strangely what also makes or breaks a show for me and I'm glad that it's something I can still remember from my first major theatre trip to today. The first big thing that really resonated with me when I took my seat at the front of the Grand Circle of the Shaftesbury Theatre back in 2008 was the sound and vibes from the audience. Everybody in that room was about to experience the same magic that I was going to and I could physically feel their excitement that (almost) equaled mine. To this day, I can remember feeling that feeling for the first time and I'm reminded of that each and every time I sit in my seat and look around the auditorium before the show starts. It's a kind of buzz that you really cannot experience anywhere other than a theatre and it's a feeling that I live for.

Of course though, the only thing I love doing more than seeing a show is actually being in the show and that in itself is a big pusher for my passion for live performance. Nothing in the word is as rewarding as taking a book, opening it and exploring the text and score and getting to bring it to life on stage at the end. It takes so many different thought processes and talents to put on a show as a whole and I love that I get to explore different mediums of live theatre (be it performance, set design or even hair and makeup) and appreciate the thing as a whole. It's a beautiful thing being able to love doing what you love and watching what you love and I wouldn't change it for the world. That's why I'm performing on this #LoveTheatreDay: tonight is the opening night of the amateur production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel I'm currently in and I couldn't be more excited. I'm somewhat stressed out because I don't want to mess anything up, don't get me wrong, but it's that stress and those nerves that keep me excited about live theatre.

At the end of the day, nothing in the world is quite like live theatre. There is magic, charm and beauty in every live performance you ever go and see. And that is why I love the theatre.

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