Today’s post is something a little different from me but it was quite nostalgic going back into my dissertation for my undergraduate. I have a love and a passion for theatre not only from a spectators perspective but also from the viewpoint of someone who studied tourism for 6 years both in college and in university.
Almost two years ago I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on ‘The impact of Theatre on London’s Cultural Tourism’ and now two years later I am working on my masters dissertation and I was looking for a little motivation because unlike my undergraduate thesis I was unsure of my topic.
During my undergraduate degree in Tourism Management, I knew that I wanted to include Theatre within my dissertation. Theatre shows have been a massive part of my life and something that I love. Alongside books going to watch Theatre shows had become one of my favourite escapes from reality. There is something incredibly beautiful about losing yourself in the beauty of Theatre.
Reading back through my dissertation looking for inspiration for my masters dissertation reminded me about all the incredible people I got to speak to about their opinions of London’s theatres and the impacts that it has on the cultural experiences on offer to them when they come to London.
Personally my love for the theatre started around 14/15 during a school trip for GCSE drama to see The Phantom of the Opera. I was under severe protest that I was not going to like it and the show would be boring. But in her true fashion my drama teacher knew this would not be the case, she had told me before we saw the show she knew I would love it. Not that I liked to admit she was right but the show had me in utter awe. The atmosphere, the emotions just everything. I am almost certain I cried at one point to. This kick started my love for the theatrical arts. Then there was Peter (RIP) who became someone I adored not only because he had a habit of singing Georgia on my mind anytime I saw him but also he would share with me all these stories about different shows he had been to see. One of his favourites however was Wicked. Sadly I never got to see it with him but Mum and I went to see it and I now have seen it like 4/5 times (it will be more) it quickly became a favourite of mine. You may wonder why I am telling you all of this but I think it makes it more relevant when I say I knew that in some format I wanted to include theatre in my dissertation topic way before my dissertation became a main focus in my studies.
What I was not expecting however was to become so intrigued by others opinion of theatre and its effect on culture. During the data collection chunk of my thesis I got the opportunity to speak to some incredible people all of whom spoke of theatre with such passion, maybe not always agreeing on the connection between theatre and tourism but either way the passion and love they had for the arts was crystal clear.
One person always sticks in my head when it comes to my dissertation interviews. He was someone who surprised me in their response. The way he spoke about theatre and the arts was something so incredibly moving. In all honesty I could have spent hours in his office talking to him about his experiences both industry and career related and his personal love of the arts, theatre and the love he had for the written word. He just radiated pure joy and passion when he was speaking about this topic. Although I could not include his entire interview in the results I could have spent hours just writing about his views and passion. Not that he is aware of this but he played a major part in the fact I started looking into how to build my career in a different sector. Not only did his passion inspire me to look further into the relationship between theatre and tourism, it drove me to look into how I could include the things I am passionate about into my career.
Alongside him I was incredibly lucky to speak to so many people who had similar opinions about the relationship between tourism and the theatre, however a common theme they seemed to express was the concern that as theatre shows gained their popularity and more people came to see the shows, they would be losing their authenticity. The more shows put on would the show lose its spark. This for me was one of the most interesting perspectives. For me I had not looked at it like that as I thought the popularity could only drive passion for the industry and the shows that are put on but if you do choose to look into this further it does hold some ground. For example you have found a movie you loved so much the first time around that you choose to watch it once a day for a week sometimes maybe even two times a day, would the movie loose its spark. I wonder if sometimes this is how the actors feel when the number of shows they put on a week is increased due to popularity.
Whether we choose to admit it or not Theatre and Tourism in some capacity or another will always be interconnected. Is it a positive or negative relationship? We will never be certain but in my eyes it will always be a little bit of both.
What do you think about Theatre and Tourism are they star crossed lovers looking for a way to work together or are they a villian in each others stories?