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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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