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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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