Supporting the arts is important in any community. In a city that’s rebuilding and finding its feet again, it’s essential.
Christchurch lost so many buildings in the earthquakes and having Isaac Theatre Royal as our home for the performing arts is truly a treasure. Every time I set foot inside this beautifully restored building, I think about how fortunate we are to have access to such a stunning venue. It’s been four years (nearly five since it reopened in November 2014) and I still get chills every time I sit down to take in a performance.
In Toronto, we lived on a shoestring budget. Both fresh out of university (with design and arts degrees, no less) we knew going to the theatre was a luxury we probably couldn’t afford. Thankfully, the National Ballet of Canada had an under 29 deal where you could get $30 tickets to every performance. How rad is that? We ended up frequenting the ballet and soon became regular patrons of the arts. It helped that Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts was only a couple blocks from our one-bedroom apartment.
As a writer, I am occasionally sent tickets to the theatre, and count myself incredibly lucky. Even if this wasn’t the case, Nick and I would do everything possible to go on a regular basis.
How often do we lament the fact that there’s nothing worth doing in our hometowns, but fail to see all the opportunities right in front of us? I know I’m guilty of complaining about how boring Christchurch is, which simply isn’t true.
It’s great to see local attempts to make arts and culture accessible to everyone. Events like Bread & Circus and the Christchurch Arts Festival are an excellent way to take in world-class theatre, live performance art and busking on the streets. And all are free or only a fraction of the cost of a theatre ticket.
When we’re struggling to find meaning in our daily lives, escaping for a few hours can be therapeutic and nourishing unlike anything else. Attending the ballet or a broadway show helps express our values while celebrating diversity and true prosperity. The arts foster creativity and they bring us together regardless of our ethnicity, religion or age. When the world seems cruel or unfair, laughing through a musical can help mend our broken hearts.