The business of theatre and the theatre of business

  • E M Iji


There is a strong operational common denominator between what can be called the Business of Theatre and The Theatre of Business. Both concepts are predicated on “the willing suspension of disbelief,” or “make-believe,” wherein impersonation is a key factor of production. Their relationship in terms of communication between the stage and the auditorium is inalienable and irreducible or sacrosanct. The actors and actresses on the stage communicate intimately, among themselves, for effective reach to, and among the audiences in the auditorium. The message is usually transmitted in form of education cum information through entertainments; via lively productions of plays that mirror human experiences; Individual and collective. The main difference between the former and the latter is, arguably, the degree of emphasis with regards to the production targets. The business of theatre is concerned with the upliftment of humanistic essence; ethical, emotional and psychological elements though moralistic edification via cultural effluence, deemphasizing financial gains. The theatre of business does almost the same, more or less, with its stock-in-trade emphasizing application of business methods towards monetary profits maximization. Both of them operate on the maxim of utile et dulche (utility and entertainment). Both ideally shun entertainment-for-entertainment sake per se. In other words, the business of theatre emphasizes humanistic elements, while the theatre of business emphasizes monetary benefits predominantly. For instance, community and educational theatres belong to the business of theatre. Cultural productions of Shakespeare plays for cultural exchange or moral edification, for instance, can be regarded as the business of theatre. Some examples of the theatre of business include productions of the Stock-and-Resident Theatre, Repertory Theatre or those on Broadways and other commercial theatres with strict emphasis on box ¬office profitability. Thus, the theatre of business are really commercial1y¬oriented, unlike the business of theatre.

Global Journal of Humanities Vol. 5 (1&2) 2006: pp. 35-42

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eISSN: 1596-6232