• Aerial Cheryl

Theater is many things, safe is not one of them.


beautiful empty theater, performing arts center

That is what I read on a friend’s facebook page last week. And it felt like a punch to the stomach.

Because my first reaction was “I love theater! Why wouldn’t it be safe? I can create anything and be something different. I’m inspired when I walk into a theater.”

I sat with these thoughts for a few moments because I knew that the person who posted that sentence also loves theater, and has found a home and a career in it. So how could he say it isn’t safe? Why would someone call theater dangerous? Why would he inspire fear about something we love?

Because when I really think about it, the inspiration I feel is from the risks that theater takes. Because when you really dig into theater, there is less room to hide. I love theater because the illusion is safety, the reality is scary. Because theater is more than the walls and floor. Because when I think about It is more than familiar lines, bright lights, and simple storytelling. It is creativity, expression, and pushing boundaries. It takes courage.

Theater is standing in front of a crowd of people and telling a story. Theater is superseding expectations. Theater is knowing your work is constantly being judged by ever moving opinions and social norms and doing it anyway. Theater is knowing that you might be critiqued in the news the next day or on social media in the moment. Decades ago, you might have been ridiculed by thrown tomatoes or the hook. We still say, “Break a leg,” for good luck, hoping someone gets the chance to make it onstage.

It’s an adrenaline rush. And it can be terrifying.

For those involved in it, theater is not steady or entirely predicable. It’s opportunity. And opportunities involve risk. Risk takes courage. And so it takes courage to step onto a stage, in front of a crowd. It doesn’t take courage to enter a space that you know is safe.

As spectators, we go to the theater, or to the circus, to be transported. To be changed. And change is scary. It’s why we don’t leave a steady job we hate. It’s why we don’t end bad relationships. Acknowledging the fear, summoning up the courage, is when change and growth happen.

If you have courage, you enter the theater. You step into the spotlight. And you are changed.

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Looking for change or inspiration? Are you an event planner or organizer looking for aerial entertainment? Or are you an artist who needs that extra push to make your work yours? Stop doing exactly what everyone else is doing. Take a risk and talk to me! Email aerialcheryl@me.com or click the contact link above. We'll work something out, I promise.

~Aerial Cheryl

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