CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Why isn't theatre vital to youth culture?

WhatsOnStage.com: When you're young is when you feel most alive. You're at the edge of things. You fall in love for the first time. You want so much, and you feel so much. It's why our youth makes such great theatre. They live (we lived) in an unfolding, perpetual present, dreaming of the future.

It is also why young people make such great theatre audiences. When they love something it's explosive. They tell all their friends to go. They come back for a second viewing. They fall in love.

6 comments:

Angel Zhou said...

With today’s party and hookup culture, younger people have started to take to bars and clubs instead of going on movie and theatre dates. This article made a very good point about how youth have begun to shy away from something that is very much so geared towards them: theatre. I had never thought about it this way until now, but Jay Miller has opened my eyes to this new realm.

As for the “No Empty Seats” ticket scheme, while I think the idea behind it is a good one, I can see how it can also backfire. This sort of a scheme discourages youth from buying tickets until 45 minutes before a show because why pay more for a show that you can get into for 5 pounds if no one shows up? Now, they will get a crowd right before every show, making it more hectic for those who have properly bought tickets.

The author also heavily emphasizes that this is not a scheme to make money, but rather a way to encourage youth to watch more theatre. While I appreciate the gesture, a little too much time was spent on “defending” the fact that this is not a make-money scheme (which makes me think it is a make-money scheme).

Tahirah K. Agbamuche said...

Love really is explosive, and that is why it is so powerful.Love and support for theatre is a driving force, which is why involving youth is so important. The torch needs to be passed down, or else theatre will flicker out. Our society today has indeed departed from sweet movie dates and puppy love, to grinding it out in sweaty clubs.Theatre is not an attractive, or relevant pastime for many young folk, so the easiest way to reel them in is with a deal. I completely understand why this would be the goto tack-tic. However, this encourages procrastination and is not a stable way to make plans since there is still a chance you will not be able to get tickets. A happy hour of sorts might be more appropriate where students are designated a time to buy tickets in addition to the 5 pound no empty seats.

Annie Scheuermann said...

This article is not what I thought it would be, but I really enjoyed it. I think the idea of a full audience is so important for the cast and crew to have, and the more people seeing theater the better. So often I do not go see shows because the price is too much. I can go an see a show for $50 dollars but certainly not every weekend and some shows I really would want to see are often more than that. Having student priced tickets is really good because it opens it up to the younger people at an easier cost. While the theater shares their number of ticket buyers and the younger people are not coming as much, I think their are many factors that play into it and limiting it to a lost of interest is not always true. I do think that their is an explosive passion for theater in younger people that can be ignited but, perhaps they need to look at their season and aim more for those people with works they can relate to more than a classic piece or a 1940 story.

Vanessa Ramon said...

What an interesting article. I think that what this theater has talked about and what it is doing to solve the problem is really cool. I can agree with the article when it says that young theater goers can bring in a large audience because when they love theater, they become obsessed and want to tell everyone they know to go see it. As I was reading this article, I too was pondering why we don't see younger people in the audiences. MY first thought came to the ticket prices. Often times you can go see a movie and get popcorn for the price of seeing a show. Also the blockbusters do a lot better at selling themselves to young audiences than the theatre does. So,when I read that they were bringing down the price of the tickets to such an affordable amount, I thought that this was a great solution to the problem.

Lauren Miller said...

I really don’t think that the “youth of today” are obsessed with a party and hookup culture. I believe that those areas of society have always existed and are actually dying out now. The largest thing that prohibits young people from going to the theater is the cost. There have been countless plays in Pittsburgh where I have really wanted to go and experience the story but I never did because I couldn’t afford the money or time. You become cheap when you break down all expenses into how many meals that would be. Eating out on campus is half a week of groceries. Paying $20 or more for a ticket is over a week of food. Which is more vital to my life. This system closely mimics the lottery system in New York. It provides people who can’t afford it the opportunity to see the show. I don’t think we will see a drop in ticket sales, due to the insecurity. People who can afford the prices will buy tickets so they can sit with friends and go on the night they want to. I don’t see a problem with this system.

Cosette Craig said...

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of millennial incentives to come see theater. Just last year, I purchased half price season tickets to east bay and san Francisco theaters that was cut down simply because I was under 30 years old. I think a lot of theater’s waning popularity among young people has to do with the viral factor. We are inundated with so much new media in our lives from social media, to news, to the ways were communicating with eachother, that it is just 24/7 data overload. This leads to a gradual lack of patience to sit through something as extended as a show. I’m saying this because I myself have experienced it. If a show is longer than 2 hours /I start to wiggle in my seat and fade in and out of focus simply because focusing on one thing at once is not as familiar to me. I think this is a tool that gives our generation unique abilities but maybe theater needs to move forward into a new era. Interactive/immersive theater is gaining popularity for that reason alone.