Why The Theater: Maeve McCluskey

Maeve McCluskeyBy Maeve McCluskey

Stage Management/Production Apprentice

(This blog post is part of a continued series created by our apprentices about why they love theater)

I could speak volumes as to why I love theatre. I could talk about the community it draws both inside the theatre and out, or about the family I have gained through my participation. I could tell the story of my personal growth and how my involvement in theatre throughout my life has shaped me and the way I see the world. However, I think to truly get to the heart of why I love the art of theatre as profoundly as I do, I need to start with an anecdote about my undergraduate theatre studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

When I was studying theatre at WPI, my drama professor always liked us to tie our presentations and discussions back to one central idea: “Theatre is the only art form that can contain all other art forms.” At first I found this difficult to comprehend, but as I took in this lesson and began to study theatre as an art I started to see why she found this concept so critical. Theatre is universal. It means many different things to different people, depending on their background, interests and life experiences. It can also take many different forms, from contemporary to classical, drama to dance. It can move people to tears or heal them with laughter, and whatever form it takes, it has the power to bring us closer to one another.

My answer to the question, “why do you love theatre?” is ever-changing. I am continually growing as a thespian, and every time I think I’ve found the one thing about theatre I love the most, I discover something new. I have always loved storytelling; as a child I used to make up wild games of pretend to play with my stuffed animals, and I think I have always held a deep love for developing characters and telling their stories. As a visual artist, I take great pleasure and pride in creating characters and telling their stories through cartooning. For those reasons, my theatrical career started off solidly in acting. It wasn’t until I started school at WPI that I realized there were many more ways to tell a character’s story than just through acting. A story can be told purely through sound or with lights, and even the simplest scenery (or lack thereof) can add a world of depth to a character’s struggle, personality, and relationship to the story.

Theatre is powerful. Theatre is moving. Theatre is global. I see it now as the one art form that contains all the other art forms. Even better, theatre can act as a power that brings people from many different backgrounds together to create something that, although ephemeral in physicality, may remain with everyone who experiences it for life.

*GSC Blog posts are the select opinions of individual employees and may not necessarily reflect the views of Gloucester Stage as a whole.