(Images: The National Theatre of Namibia)

It is a New Year and the local theatre community is gearing up to stage new productions. Theatre lovers are also gearing up to see their first production for the year. But why is theatre so important? Because watching a play gives you the opportunity to be able to see yourself.

The Encounter (2017)
Jason Kooper’s ‘The Encounter’ (2017)

Here’s why you should make it your mission to see almost every theatre production this year, be it big or small:

It’s Live
Theatre is a living art form, constantly growing and changing. Playwrights are continually working on new pieces. Local theatre embraces the challenge of developing and producing these new works as well as celebrating familiar, all-time favourite plays, some even dating back to the Shakespeare’ era.

Fences (2018)
August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ (2018) Adaptation for Namibia by Nelago Shilongoh

It’s Magical
A stage production can take you into a different world, and this can create a special energy that you can actually feel. Those specific moments in that specific place in time will never be repeated, and that experience is very special. It’s pure magic.

I am John (2018)
Sandy Rudd’s ‘I am John’ (2018)

It Transforms You
Theatre helps you to develop cognitive skills so you can solve problems in new ways. As an audience member, you are given the opportunity to form a bridge between your own values and the ideas and attitudes that have meaning for you which are presented in the plays. It connects you with something new. The ultimate connection is created between the actors on stage and the people in the audience. Theatre also gives you a better look into social problems. It has a certain type of boldness, fearlessness, purposefulness, talent, optimism, and a sense of personal responsibility that is admirable and motivates you in being a better you. You are able to see your surroundings with new eyes and understand how you affect those around you.

Three Woman and You (2018)
Brenda Daniel’s ‘Three Woman and You’ (2018) staged in Namibia by Obed Emvula

It Fuels You
Seeing a show really gets your heart pumping. The exercise-inducing excitement each theatre play offers provides an atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else. It’s an absolute phenomenon. No matter what the plot is, you will leave the theatre feeling upbeat and alive.

Aspoestertjie (Cinderella) 2017 Adapted for Namibia by Abraham Pieters
Aspoestertjie “Cinderella” (2017) Adapted for Namibia by Abraham Pieters

It’s Relaxing
The theatre can be the best way for you to relax after a hard day or week. Interacting personally with artists and fellow audience members has a certain comforting feel to it. For a still hours you are freed from your troubles as you enter deep into the tale unfolding onstage. Then there is the amount of pure talent performers display; it makes you enjoy the results of their labour.

Jenny Kandenge's Sisters (2018)
Jenny Kandenge’s ‘Sisters’ (2018)

Everyone at the theatre has sacrificed time, money and security to live their ambitions and what better way for us to support them other than being present at opening night? Do me a favour, and at least try it out!

“The stage is a magic circle where only the most real things happen, a neutral territory outside the jurisdiction of fate where stars may be crossed with impunity. A truer and more real place does not exist in all the universe.” ― P.S. Baber, Cassie Draws the Universe.

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