Snobbery in Theatre

26 Jul

(An article you’d read – if it was in the Sydney Morning Herald.)

Recently, an acquaintance asked me if it was true that the theatre world was filled with pretentious wankers and self-indulgent children.

‘Of course not,’ I answered, ‘You’re forgetting the stuck up snobs.’

Jokes aside, if you were to come across an example of snobbery or unfriendliness in the world of theatre, the understandable reaction (apart from surprise) would be to ask for its cause.

If snobbery does exist in theatre, it would be for the same reason it exists anywhere – a lack of confidence.

And, let’s face it, in the theatre world, there’s plenty of reason to lack confidence. There’s limited opportunities and loads of competition. Evaluation of our work is arbitrary and therefore unpredictable. And the majority of the population doesn’t even notice what we’re doing.

But why does a lack of confidence so easily lead to snobbery and a general unfriendliness?

In the simplest terms, we choose to fake it until we make it.  If we don’t feel superior, one solution is to act as though we do. Feelings follow behaviour. It’s a remarkably powerful psychological tool. And, in this case, a tragic one. If I choose to deal with the challenge of others by dismissing them, I’m committing a crime against humanity, and I’m the primary victim.

Choose the view

Choose the best view

Snobbery creates the shallowest of theatre. (And that’s probably the least of it.)

So what’s the solution?

Be more confident.

Is that ridiculous advice?

I don’t think so.

If I can decide to act as though I’m better than others, I can just as easily decide to act as though I consider myself their equal.

And then watch the theatre I make.

Theatre that speaks to my audience.

Veronica Kaye

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