In every area of the performing arts, there are alternative independent spirits, breaking away from the mainstream to produce something unique and exciting. Street Theatre however, doesn’t just take on one area of the mainstream arts, but all of them put together.
This is an art form that dates back to the medieval times, where its earliest form was a Tableau Vivant, or ‘Moving Picture’, often seen at weddings and royal celebrations. Court Jesters, Clowns, and Actors were also known to take their shows out to the public.
Street Theatre as it is today is far more diverse, encompassing music, dance, comedy, mime, and acting in a bizarre or awe inspiring fashion. There are performers all over the world, who take their finely tuned acts to Street Theatre events, fairs, corporate events, and art festivals. Whereever they come from and whatever act they perform, these artistes all have one thing in common, a finely tuned knack of interacting with, or getting a reaction from, their audience.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to see some Street Theatre, then there are many events held annually throughout the U.K, including the National Theatre’s outdoor summer program in London, Street Diversions in Essex, which is the largest festival in East Anglia, and two rather more famous venues, The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, and Covent Garden in London.
The Edinburgh Festival is world famous for its music, theatre, and comedy, and its street theatre, which forms part of their ‘Fringe’ events. Covent Garden in London attracts artists from all over the world, who perform in the Piazza all year round. Acts are selected through auditions and then granted a license to perform there.
If you have suitable experience, and the imagination to create a spellbinding act, then why not get involved in Street Arts yourself? Street Theatre is a widely recognised and varied art form, receiving growing support from arts councils. There is also the National Association of Street Artists, and the Independent Street Arts network to turn to. Both these organisations have similar aims, to encourage participation and funding in their art form, to offer training to ensure all artists are the best they can be, and to promote networking opportunities between artists and event organisers. There is also an organisation in Ireland called Sparoi, which along with an annual festival of Street Art also offer training, from workshops to full time training programs. There are millions of people all over the world already embracing the bizarre and beautiful world of Street Theatre/Art, so this is one sector of the performing arts with an exciting future ahead of it.