Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.
August 12, 2008, by

Why is theatre imporant – survey results

“We need it to see ourselves.” That’s the most popular answer among the 25 respondents to our Why is theatre important survey. The rest of the votes were split between “It’s a shared experience” and “None of the above.”

Given the small sample group, this is hardly conclusive polling. Still, it’s heartening to see a front runner emerge – especially given theatre’s current challenges communicating its value proposition to the non-theatregoing public.

Incidentally, the phrase “We need it to see ourselves” is a direct lift from Daniel MacIvor’s “10 questions” interview, here.

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  1. Paul Rekk says:

    I missed the poll, but here’s another vote for none of the above…

  2. ian mackenzie says:

    Cool. Thanks Paul. Could you offer another answer to the question? Or are you weary of this entire line of inquiry? Not that I’d blame you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    "We need to see it ourselves" ??

    What? & movies & tv you can outsource other people to see it for you?


  4. ben says:

    First of all, mr. anonymous, the quote is “We need IT ( to see OURSELVES (ie. humanity in action or whatever). The point being we see stories to watch the universal “self” in conflict. It’s a survival instinct, to learn about human nature. Not that surviving is very hard anymore…

  5. Paul Rekk says:

    I was actually on the verge of picking “It’s not important.”, but the word choice doesn’t seem right. Had the question been Why is theatre special? or Why is theatre more important than ______? or something like that, I would’ve gone with the negative, but this question is very well worded.

    It’s not the line of inquiry that makes me weary so much as the hokieness of the answers (in general, not just this poll) and the insistence that people have about them.

    Why is theatre important? Some possibilities that flash to my mind:

    It’s what I do.
    I don’t know.
    It just is, asshole.
    Because I said so.
    It exists and has existed with or without me.
    Because some of what happens in my brain is in a theatrical format or something similar to it and how the fuck else am I supposed to drain that into something resembling reality?
    None of the above.

    And I’d probably still pick none of the above.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Uhhh, but we can “see ourselves” in movies, tv, the internet, and the mirror. AND I hope Theatre can show us more than just “ourselves”.

    WHY do we need live theatre, specifically? And before you start using the word “community”, let me mention churches, concerts, parades, and sports events.

    Specifically Theatre.

  7. ben says:

    You’re right anonymous, we don’t need theatre. No one does. Nor does anyone need film, tv, the internet, or mirrors. None of these things are necessities. Therefore they are not important. Unfortunately that’s all they do, is remind us of who we are. Show us “ourselves”. Pretty dumb, hun?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bingo. As King Lear pleaded: “O, reason not the need!”

  9. ian mackenzie says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I need $100,000,000 high concept Jerry Bruckheimer films starring Piper Perabo and John Goodman to see myself.

  10. Anonymous says:

    FYI, I have NO DESIRE to see myself on stage or screen. Thanks anyway.

    Excessive love of one’s own reflection is called narcissism.

  11. ian mackenzie says:

    OK Anon. But isn’t the spirit of the statement more along the lines of “we need theatre to help us get out of our own heads so we can see how the cultures and histories and societies around us are shaping our world so that we can be in a better position to help alleviate the suffering of the other creatures we share this place with?”

    I know. I know. Fuck hope. You and George Carlin.

    And for the record, I would LOVE to see you on stage.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ian! I'm only responding to MscIvor's rather glib words. I like your paraphrase much better.

    Oh, and I would be happy to appear in a ballet / standup comedy performance piece … if you & Wheeler will direct me.

  13. Michael Wheeler says:

    Can’t we do something Shakespearean? I really want to reach out to the new generation of theatregoers.

  14. ian mackenzie says:

    Wheeler’s the director Anon – but thanks for including me. You should let him and Simon Rice direct you in a standup ballet comedy performance of The Merchant of Macbeth. I’ll work the door.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wheeler, bite me, sirrah.

    Ian, you’re on.

  16. Michael Wheeler says:


    2 points for insulting me iambicly.


    if you keep that joke up we will end up creating that show.