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Importance of Theatre in Society

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“A drama is considered to be all-inclusive. It embraces all types of topics and represents all kinds of natures, as it is intended for all classes of people”. Thus, it is a mirror of human existence intended to be presented on the stage. But as Victor Hugo says, ‘If the mirror is an ordinary one, it produces a poor, faithful but colorless image; it must therefore be a focusing mirror.’(Ramamurti, 1964). Theatre comes in varied forms that have impacted the globe immensely through time and space. Drama principles to spread joy primarily, that advance in the direction of the entertainment purpose in society, however, the theatre has also established itself, over time in belief to persuade or influence audiences, that impact a specific or entire set of people. Theatre has also initiated and acted as a way of communication throughout the world, from varying social and cultural groups around the world, the theatre has been the route of communication. Theatre has evolved most people, theatre is another reason for our globe to undergo globalization and maintain the steady rate of advancements in most fields, a few that are not even related to arts, because art and theatre have the power to change the world, as art is so broad, each aspect of life can fit into the field of art, by its ability and potential to impact every individual and society. Theatre has thrived to spread awareness regarding particular problems our globe faces or impacts individuals and societies to alter specific problems in our world or enhance self-knowledge and understanding. “Theatre and the performing arts teach society about itself, hoping to point out the attitudes and mindsets of current society”.

Theatre acts as a tool used to educate people about their current conditions. Theatre is said to be one of the most influencing and impacting art forms, by the virtue of real people playing various roles in the picture to raise awareness, bring about change, or impact society. Theatre is known for bringing out more impact as it leads to the audiences feeling empathy, they do not just feel the specific mood of the play but usually involve themselves in an act. Theatre also has the ability to impact audiences straightforwardly as acts consist of dialogues with more or less the correct diction or choice of words used to persuade or impact the audience according to the targeted audience of the play, similarly, a play consists of multiple dialogues, expressions, gestures, movements, props thus it provides the audience with a large and deepened idea about its imposed motif.

Theatre comes under the performing arts as movement and voices are involved in the body to convey a message and for the artist to be able to express herself/himself. Other than theatre being one of the most elite forms of art, it provides and showcases a display of history and human nature. This is what leads to the emotional connection between the audience and theatre as an artform making it easier for people to relate. The theatre has importance in people’s lives and therefore creates its purpose. The theatre helps in self-discovery, expression, and education and enhances creativity. All art forms, not only theatre indulge in the ability to communicate different ideas, thoughts, perspectives, and feelings beyond time, space, and language. For instance, ‘the glow of hope’ is a painting by S.L. Haldankar, the painting is also referred to as the ‘woman with the lamp’ which had been painted in 1945. Haldankar made his daughter Geeta the subject of his painting and the following painting is still very relevant in the year 2020, thus art forms are not bound to any specific time period, it is the depth and meaning that needs to be unfolded. The immortal painting distinguishes how women hold the power of light and grace, along with the urge in making decisions and standing up to the world with the same grace, power, and dignity which has been shown through the shining lamp.

Various forms and narratives of theatre include radio theatre and newspaper theatre, which have also been famous in the history of arts, Similarly, newspaper theatre is a technique of the Theater of the Oppressed as conceived by Augusto Boal. Theatre is usually reflected by newspaper articles and headlines, likewise, books and speeches have also aided newspaper theatres’ establishment. It prompts reflection on socially relevant issues by acting them out, engaging with audiences, and initiating audiences to reflect on various issues dealing with the world or personally. It was first officially adopted in the 1970s, Theatre of the Oppressed, a term coined by Augusto Boal, is a series of theatrical analyses and critiques first developed in the 1950s. Boal was a keen supporter of using interactive techniques, especially in the context of theatre. Newspaper Theatre was born as a manifesto of Arena Theater of Sao Paulo. It has in a short time numerous groups of nonactors to practice it and this has made the Dictatorship see Augusto Boal as such a risk that he was arrested, tortured, and finally sent into exile. The basis is newspaper articles, headlines but also books, speeches, etc. The scene is created with the help of news and reports. To start the participants get to know different reading methods so that they can then try to understand the origin and background of the news. The techniques from Newspaper Theater give us as facilitators, artists, and educators the ability to transform the text into theater collaboratively, Bringing the outside world through the news or the inside world of personal testimony and exploring it to make impactful theater with actors and non-actors. Newspaper Theatre was conceived and developed by Brazilian theatre teacher and activist Augusto Boal (1979; 1998) as a set of simple techniques for people to make their own piece of art (theatre). As a secondary aim, it attempts to demystify the media, and educate people to question the notion of objectivity. Newspaper theatre is a form of theatre that is widely spread across cultures, countries, cities, and towns, newspaper theatre has seemed to reach out to an audience in multiple ways irrespective of time, space, and language; as newspaper theatre does not involve actors performing live in front of an audience, thereby it is not very complicated for newspaper theatre pieces to spread through the world and reach multiple people and social groups, as it a form of theatre that can be recorded and sent across, it can also be viewed multiple times as it is not a live act of theatre it does not hamper the reaching out of it on the basis of space and time. Similarly, when we talk about the language problems that can be faced by different audiences, most newspaper theatres have been translated into different languages according to different cities, countries, and towns. The basis of its widespread use is through newspaper articles, headlines but also books, speeches, etc. The scene is created with the help of news and reports. In the beginning, the participants get to know different reading methods so that they can then try to understand the origin and background of the news.

Radio drama is a form of theatre that is purely acoustic performance, whilst it only comprises sound effects, dialogues, and music, it does not contain any visual component. Radio theatre requires adequate and the correct choice of words/ diction, as well as the sound effects and music completely contrasting with the storyline and the theme so that the audience can easily understand and adapt to the theatre performance as the following aspects lead to considerable imagery which helps the audience to build on their ideas, opinions, perceptions, and feelings related to the play, and most importantly it allows the audience to engage with the theatre type. Radio theatre had been formed between 1880 – 1930. Radio drama was said to be born in the United States, first developed and enhanced by an engineer. Radio theatre achieved widespread popularity within a decade of its initial development in the 1920s. By the 1940s, it was a leading international popular entertainment. Podcasting offered the means of inexpensively creating new radio dramas, in addition to the distribution of vintage programs. The introduction of radio and television has had a profound impact on many aspects of society and culture, particularly on the humanities.

Radio theatre enables the communication of ideas, meaning, and experiences greatly, due to it being spread worldwide and being accessed by the majority in today’s time, it fundamentally agrees with the principle and ideology of Challenging the belief that sound drama is a ‘blind medium’, Radio Drama shows how experimentation in radio narrative has blurred the dividing line between fiction and reality in modern media. It generally displays a contrast between fiction as well as nonfiction in order for individuals to relate. Language in some cases can act as a problem faced by different audiences, however, most radio theatres are translated into multiple languages according to the particular locality, or targeted audience. Thereby, the following form of theatre is able to be related by various audiences and multiple communities due to its form of theatre aiding its spread across seas to be much easier for different audiences to capture. Radio theatre originated from 1880-1930. Radio drama traces its roots back to the 1880s: ‘In 1881 French engineer Clement Ader had filed a patent for ‘improvements of Telephone Equipment in Theatres” (Théâtrophone).

Radio theatre has been important in various contexts such as historically, personally, cultural and global, making this an important form of theatre. Looking at how the theatre was initiated during the times of the ancient Greeks, to the time of Shakespeare and now in the era of technology, we can see the historical context of the and is known to be a huge industry in today’s world, we have seen the evolution of how performing on stage led to performing with voice only in the form of radio drama, therefore making it historically significant as it marked a new trend and a new way of expression available to humans. In earlier times when the radio plays had newly stepped foot and enlightened the globe it had been an extremely effective platform to convey ideas and influence beings, however, the relevance and the effectiveness of radio dramas have reduced over time, with the advancements in televisions, multimedia, social media, etc. the tendency and frequency of people wanting to display radio plays had reduced as well as the people wanting to enhance and watch radio plays. In other words, it can be claimed that other such platforms have overshadowed the relevance of radio plays.

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English-language radio drama seems to have started in the United States. Radio theatre established itself greatly in the world in 1920 which was known as the golden age of radio, Radio broadcasting was the cheapest form of entertainment, and it provided the public with far better entertainment than most people were accustomed to. As a result, its popularity grew rapidly in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and by 1934, 60 percent of the nation’s households had radios. Radio dramas first became popular in 1920 when they were invented. The first radio drama started in America. One of the first radio dramas written in the UK was Danger by Richard Hughes it was broadcast by BBC on January 15, 1924. Radio dramas became very popular in the 1930s as there were many different genres. In 1938 Orson Welles’s famous war of the worlds was broadcast. in 1951 the first broadcast of BBC’s The Archers the longest-running radio soap in the world which still runs today. Radio dramas continued to grow in popularity. Until 1960 when people started to get televisions. After televisions had caused a decline in the popularity of radio dramas they never recovered and became as popular as it was however radio drama does still continue on radio 3 and 4 and even since television, it has had some famous plays such as Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy and radio plays are a lot cheaper to make than television. The purpose of radio drama can be looked at as its advantages as well. Looking at how the theatre was initiated during the times of the ancient Greeks to be able to express and convey their thoughts to an audience on a large scale, and with radio being popular back in the day, it was a great platform.

The theatre form chosen is radio theatre which comprises multiple elements and techniques including narration, music, dialogues, and sound effects.

Narration is the use of a written or spoken commentary to convey a story to an audience. Narration encompasses a set of techniques through which the creator of the story presents their story, including a narrative point of view, the perspective through which a story is communicated. It is a crucial element and technique used in radio plays, as it provides better clarity and understanding to the audience, narration helps the audience engage back into the story if they lose interest, as it directly informs the audience what exactly is happening at that specific moment, what are the actions followed by the actors, expressions, etc.

Dialogue is extremely crucial in radio drama as it provides clarity and information, reveals each character, directs the path of attention (or foreshadow), reveals the theme of the drama, establishes the level of reality, and lastly dialogues aid understanding the rhythm and tempo of drama. In theatre dialogues are a conversation between two or more people as a feature of the act, thereby playing a very major role in a drama piece.

Music is another element present in radio theatre, it helps connect with two distinguished scenes and helps build the tone and mood of the drama, which enables people to deeply understand the feeling and mood of the play.

The sound effect makes a great means of shifting the scene or transitions from one scene to another, it works best when the setting of the new scene is foreshadowed by the concluding words of the old. It is also more effective where the sound background is repeated/repetitive (as such sounds can be faded out easily without creating confusion).

A few techniques and aspects to look at while performing a radio theatre include, critiquing your own work Once you have recorded your work, it is important to listen to how it sounds so that you can judge for yourself whether your intentions are being communicated to the audience. This is also a useful thing to do while you are rehearsing your play. Along with techniques such as voice modulation, use of breath, projection and delivering of tone, pace, pitch, volume, rhythm, and use of the pause.

Tip the waitress, a radio theatre piece that is set in a restaurant, featuring two men who come to dine and a waitress. The two men comprise dialogues that display mystery, curiosity and urge for higher intensity of the act. Later ahead, the radio has been turned on by the two men who hear news about themselves and their acts, the news talks about two armed gunmen who break into a division of Jefferies banking at approximately, along with two officers confirmed to be dead at the scene. Further ahead, the two men have an assertive argument regarding the news as they are the two gunmen that the news talked about and they both might be caught. The play ends with one of the gunmen called David telling the other to tip the waitress, thereby the title of the play is ‘tip the waitress. The following play was extremely relevant, it was a nonfictional play it did not comprise any aspect that was unfamiliar to the world of theatre and reality, the content was not very complex understanding the radio theatre piece was quite easy, due to the sound effects aiding the imagery and scene to be more prominent and specific as the sound effects also helped to visualize the setting and the space in much more depth and clarity, whilst the great use of sound effects had led the audience to completely emerge into the play while feeling the mood of the scenarios and engaging with the performance on a far better note. The radio theatre piece did not have any social or cultural biases or comprise any social norms or claims that could lead to offenses within various societies and different audiences, the piece was generalized and did not focus on any one ethnic cultural, or societal part of the world. The choice of words or the diction was well chosen as it also is a factor that makes a play complex to understand, however, the diction and use of dialogues in this performance were not complex, thus it can be easily understood with greater clarity. A few creative choices made were regarding the character’s utilizing their own voice for greater sound effects, there wasn’t much modulation of the voice, except for when the two men had begun an argument their voices had to be modulated into a louder voice with a lower pitch. There had been no background music, however, the bridge between the characters and the audience had still been created through the dialogues, diction, and sound effects alone. The following piece proves how art can communicate beyond time, and space as the following was a radio play which can be displayed to audiences across the globe and whatever time it is presented to audiences via radio which can be heard at whatever time and place. Similarly, the language spoken was English in the following play which is again the most common language, one that most of the globe is familiar with, thereby language was also not an issue in this play consisted of. Therefore the play is a form of art that can communicate a message, experience, or idea throughout the world without having to face barriers of language, time, and space.

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Importance of Theatre in Society. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Importance of Theatre in Society.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
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