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World Theatre Day 2013 – Message from Theatre Alberta Board President Michele Fleiger

Brave Girl – Lunchbox Theatre
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World Theatre Day 2013 – Message from Theatre Alberta Board President Michele Fleiger

Michelle FleigerWe asked Theatre Alberta Board President Michele Fleiger to write a few words in honour of World Theatre Day 2013.

Michele (BFA/MFA) currently practices THEATRE in classrooms, stairwells, lobbies, art galleries and other assorted spaces with students at the University of Alberta in the Departments of Drama, Music, Medicine, the International Student Centre and at Portage College in Lac La Biche.

People who practice THEATRE

meant to be read out loud

People who practice THEATRE don’t just work on plays.
They also work in libraries,
sell houses and cars and clothes and drinks,
They go to school.
They are 8 and 22 and 45 and 88.

People who practice THEATRE don’t just write, act, direct, design, manage, publicize and produce plays.
They also raise kids, teach, practice law, practice medicine, play music, play sports, run for office, run businesses, legislate and oppose, rally and occupy, protest and defend and celebrate.
Because people who practice THEATRE understand that the practice of THEATRE extends waaaayyyy beyond the walls of a theatre.

It happens in alleys and elevators and abandoned storefronts and bars and shipping containers.
It happens in classrooms and lobbies and hallways and stairwells and on the street.

People who practice THEATRE understand that theatre offers us a chance to connect.
to ourselves.
to each other.
to the world.

Because at a time when we increasingly engage with our communities as siloed soloes, going to see a piece of theatre gives us an opportunity to enter into a silent communion with people.

with people we know but,
more importantly,
with people we don’t know.

When we make the choice to go to the theatre we are making ourselves available to the present and all of its vagaries
We make ourselves available to the possibility of a renewal of faith, of spirit, of grace.
for ourselves and each other.
buy a ticket,
go to a play,
make a donation to a theatre or
to a theatre organization whose mandate is to serve its community of theatre!!
but know too,
that the essential power of the theatre extends waaaay beyond the performance of a play.
People who practice THEATRE get this.
They get that those so called “soft skills” like
collaboration and creativity,
the importance of openness to diversity,
and cooperation
and peace making that are part of the practice of any creative process like making theatre are critical to the practice of EVERYTHING.
Every relationship. Every workplace. Every city and province and territory and state and country.
They are the strategies of an attendance to the present that make the future possible.
People who practice theatre also understand that when you trigger passion you also trigger the potential for conflict and that somehow you have to find a way to deal with this often inexorable fact.

Now, I’m not saying that people who practice THEATRE have all the answers but

We do know where to start.

We start by knowing…

that we are all made out of shipwrecks, every single board
washed and bound like crooked teeth on these rocky shores

so come on and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief 
and fold our lives like crashing waves….

if we hold on tight we’ll hold each other together
and not just be some fools rushing to die in our sleep

all these machines will rust I promise, but we’ll still be electric
 shocking each other back to life

(an excerpt from Wooden Heart by Dan Smith)

Now more than ever the world needs people who practice THEATRE.

Happy World Theatre Day to you all

Michele Fleiger
Theatre Alberta Board President

Created in 1961 by UNESCO, World Theatre Day is celebrated annually on March 27 by theatre communities around the globe. The impetus behind World Theatre Day is to honour and further UNESCO’s International Theatre Institute’s goals to:

•  Celebrate the power of theatre as an indispensable bridge-builder for mutual international understanding and peace.
•  Promote and protect cultural diversity and identity in communities throughout the world. Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited to craft an International Message to mark the global occasion.

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