Theatre as a Career

14 Aug

I regularly tell people I don’t want a career in theatre.

I am regularly misunderstood.

It is assumed I’m not serious.

But I’m deadly serious about what the art form can achieve.

I want more than a career.

I’m not suggesting the absurdity that there’s something wrong with being paid for creating art. I’m not peddling the conservative myth that somehow it’s more noble to starve.

And I fully appreciate that being paid for creating art over an extended period of time (which I guess is how you might define a career) could prove to be exactly how some great art is made.

(But there was a poster doing the rounds of facebook recently suggesting something like this: ‘Art work is work and should be paid.’ It struck me more as a mischievous slogan rather than a serious attempt to engage with an issue of economic justice. Of course, if you paint a picture and it sells you should get money for it. But why should you get money just because you paint a picture?*)

When I say I’m not looking for a career in theatre, what I’m saying is simply that the most important thing is not that I get paid.**

And when people speak as though it is, I think it is they who aren’t serious.

Veronica Kaye


* Yes, I’ve answered a slogan with a slogan. More on this later.

** And what is the most important thing? That we give the audience a twofold gift: Joy, and the ability to pass it on. Much, much more on this later.


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