Is Theatre Really a High Class Art?

Theatre and everything that comes along with it has been a part of the human tradition for centuries, but is it too high class for the masses? Before there were actors on a stage, there were singers and orators whose ability to tell a story gained them fame and renown.

According to PBS, the first actor may actually have been a wandering bard named Thespis whose favorite storytelling method was to jump onto carts or tables and recite poetry as though he was the subject of the poems.

Theatre has evolved a lot since the sixth century BC. These days, there are a variety of theatrical works that range from opera to Shakespeare.

There is something for everyone in the theatre, but there is still some debate about whether theatre is “high class.” I argue that it is, in the sense that theatrical productions have so much thought and effort put into making them as good as possible for viewers.

However, I do think that writers and producers in the theatre industry can often get too caught up in trying to appeal specifically to the wealthier members of our society. To attend a Broadway musical like Hamilton, the price of a single ticket is just ridiculous. The show blew up last year, with many performances still sold out. Tickets for the Hamilton performance coming to Salt Lake City in April range from $644 to $1,496.

This elitist attitude is not what theatre is about. Everyone should have the ability to attend a play or musical that is affordable and accessible. Cedar City is lucky enough to have a thriving theatre community with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, community theatre and SUU’s own department of theatre arts and dance that perform on a regular basis for Southern Utah residents. Theatre is an art that should be marketed to everyone, with the potential for anyone to enjoy it.

Story by
Megan Fairbanks

Photo By
Rob Laughter for SUU News