This is a very good question. One that any performer/artist/practitioner will be asked countless times in their career and a question that can sometimes take a while to answer. When entering a profession so unstable and unrelenting it can usually mean you’re a bit crazy (we certainly haven’t met artists 100% sane yet) and that’s not a bad thing. It cannot be denied however that, with the risks involved in setting up a theatre company, anyone can be forgiven for questioning that decision.
Drama and performing isn’t something that any of us here and Rendered Retina thought about properly until we came to the end of our secondary school experience. During the course of our Drama GCSE (Tom, Alex and Jordan’s that is) we realised that there is nothing like the feeling of being on stage. The butterflies before a show, the suspense of reality during it and the rush you get afterwards that creates an experience you can’t get anywhere else. But is that the reason we do what we do? No. Well not solely.
The BTEC Performing Arts course we then went on to study only reinforced our desire with the amount of shows we took part in. As well as this the course also taught you every other aspect about working in theatre. As students we would: market our shows, create our own costumes, make our own sets, design our own lights, cut and edit our own sound, source our own props as well as performing. This meant at the end of our course we had an appreciation for every role and a knowledge of how theatre operates. But is an expertise about the field we want to get into and a good college course the reason we do what we do? No, not solely.
After college we were fortunate enough to lead a workshop with secondary school students doing commedia dell’arte. This was one of the most rewarding experiences we have had and was the inspiration for us to begin taking workshops as a company. Seeing the pupils taking our advice and enjoying themselves, not only that but watching their improvement at the end of the session was remarkable. But is giving young people essential and transferrable skills through theatre the reason we do what we do? You guessed it, no, not solely.
So the short answer is to say that we have an unconditional love for creating work that can make a difference. But in reality it is a lot more longwinded and emotional. We’ve had our doubts; I think we would be silly not to ask ourselves the very same question I titled this post. What always gets us through however, are the memories listed above (and many, many, many more) and that there isn’t just one reason we do what we do. There are a infinite number of reasons. Hopefully this helps if any of us have struggled to answer what is, a very tough question.
Keep it clean, keep it comic.