It has come to my attention that when an audience appreciates a work of art — in this case, theater — they generally have one response that the artists hear. In theater, this is usually applause at the end of the show.
In a university setting, we have the unique opportunity of being able to see the actors and technicians around campus on a daily basis. It is for this reason that I will propose some ways to give these people a fuller appreciation than just applause.
When you see an actor or technician around campus, let them know they did a good job. Verbally let them know what you liked about a show.
One way to show your appreciation can be through a hand-written note. Campus mail is a great way to send people involved in productions notes of appreciation or encouragement during the course of the show. Be specific with your words. Actors and technicians spend hours honing their craft and want to know what is resonating with you as an audience.
Another way to show appreciation is to invite theater people to events. During the rehearsal process, many students involved in a show don’t have time to go watch movies with friends or have a late night hang-out session.
Theater people sacrifice their social lives for hours in rehearsal, putting in blood, sweat, and tears to make a show great.
After the show is up, be sure to invite people to go watch a movie or dive in a dumpster. That actor or actress will greatly appreciate you for including them.
Being a student involved in theater makes for a busy life. Your time is taken away by rehearsals, your body is sometimes abused, and your homework is forgotten. The catharsis and appreciation we receive at the end of a show makes it all worth it.