Should All Theatre Offer Hope?

Guy Hargreaves, 2 October 2012

Session called by: Guy Hargreaves

Attendees: Guy, Alice, Polly, Tracey.

Do we want it to? In general - that would be nice. Do we need to put on tap shoes and top hats and sing jolly songs to make our work hopeful? Probably not - but you can if you like.

We can share with an audience a dark / tragic story and yet an audience may well take away a hopeful or optimistic message from the piece.

We don't really know what exactly we are offering the audience. It is so subjective. The ‘baggage’ we come into the theatre (or theatrical space) influences what we take away from the show/performance.

To stir or evoke any strong emotion was thought positive. To be made to think, to dream, to hope/cry/laugh… rage. Theatre should provoke discussion and ask questions.

People coming together to witness the telling of a story - this was thought to be ‘hopeful’ in itself.

We ended up turning the question on it's head and instead asked: ‘What we hope will happen when we go to the theatre?’

We hope we won't be bored; that we will be surprised; that we will be made to think; we hope that what happens will ‘strike a chord’ .

“I want to weep uncontrollably or laugh until a do a little wee in my pants.”

We hope that theatre we create will stay with our audiences. We shared memories of theatre that had inspired and stayed with us for a long time.

Theatre should offer enough hope to bring an audience back to see another show.


Hope, Hopeful, strike a chord, hope, Provoke, hopeful, bored, provoke, Bored

Comments: 2

Edward Barrett, 4 October 2012

The same piece of theatre may seem hopeful to some, and not to others. I found myself uplifted by the Everyman

production of Beckett's Endgame - though I know some other people found it incredibly bleak.

Guy Hargreaves, 4 October 2012

We talked a lot about Sarah Kane in the session and how her work could (like the ‘Endgame’ production) completely split an audience (Hope / Hopeless)