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The Beauty Of Street Theater

The Beauty Of Street Theater

Cities are cultural wonderlands. They offer a number of ways to express your art or see art. You might be a painter or sculptor, attend arts and crafts shows, make jewelry, attend poetry readings, or visit museums. A cultural activity that is becoming more and more popular is watching or participating in street theater performances.

What Is Street Theater?

Street theater is a type of performance where people play in public spaces without a paying audience. You’ll find them on shopping center lots, in car parking garages, in parks, and on street corners. The actors are either individuals or part of a group or troupe. Sometimes, they use the public spaces to promote their mainstream performances. For the most part, street performers earn their living through the generosity of people watching them. However, occasionally, they will be hired to perform at festivals and children’s shows or parades. These performers use few costumes and props so that they can easily travel to new locations. Since they have limited budgets, they also often buy used clothes and other accessories.

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The beauty of watching street performances is that they can appeal to all people regardless of their economic status. If you can’t afford tickets to the local stages, you can pull up a chair and watch a street performance.

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Street performers have various reasons why they use public spaces as their stage. Some might be not accepted by mainstream theaters or might be working their way up to those prestigious theaters. Robin Williams, David Bowie, Jewel, and Harry Anderson had their starts doing street performances. Others might choose street performances to make a statement either socially, politically, or artistically.

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7 Top Street Performers Worldwide

If you are interested in watching street performances, you might want to check out these troupes on your travels around the world. You might want to start with Spiderman, a performer who climbs skyscrapers as featured on CNN. Here are a few of the others.

  1. Anu Worlds: This German troupe is popular for its poetic theater in public spaces. The troupe has been performing for 10 years. It performs in tunnels, parks, and churches, among other places. When the members entertain, they invite the audience to imagine other worlds and to experience those worlds through their performances.
  2. Free Street Theater: In Chicago, you will be entertained by the Free Street Theater. Since 1969, the company has provided an outlet for youth, adults, and professional artists and scholars to create performances that look at artistic form, language, and the meaning of humanity. It is a part of a network of theaters in Chicago.
  3. Commedia dell’arte: This troupe began in Italy in the 16th Century. It began modern-day improvisation and scenario performances. The name means Comedy of Craft, which is the shortened version of Comedy of Craft of Improvisation. They rely on outdoor performances on temporary stages, and use a number of props.
  4. Guerrilla Theater: From its humble beginnings in 1965, the San Francisco Mime Troupe has turned into Guerrilla Theater. The troupe’s goal is to perform publically on topics that promote “revolutionary sociopolitical change.”
  5. Sarwanam Theater Group: This troupe is based in Nepal. The nonprofit group has been operating since 1982. Sarwanam is known for using few artificial props on the stage or none at all. It is proud to be an alternative from traditional and conventional theatre in Nepal. Although conventional theater was the most popular before Sarwanam came on the scene, it isn’t now. Sarwanam performs for the common people in the country, which is the largest population. It has given performances in conjunction with the Asia Foundation. It is also organizing a 10-Minutes Play Festival that promotes dedication and imagination over formal training.
  6. Close-Act Theater: The international street theater company Close-Act Theater is based in the Netherlands. It has a partnership with designers, actors, dancers, choreographers. and musicians, along with an audience of 5,000 to 10,000 people.
  7. Welfare State International: Head to Great Britain for this group. The experimental theater group was founded in 1968 by John Fox and Sue Gill. The members are radical thinkers and performers who celebrate all forms of art.

These are some of the most amazing street theatre groups out there. You can watch their acts on YouTube and other online platforms, but there’s nothing like catching it live.

Featured photo credit: Christian Spies via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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