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    Waiting in the wings #LoveTheatreDay

    When I started doing amateur dramatics at school and in community theatres I never took the time to think about how theatre would shape and influence my life in the coming years. The lessons I learned on the stage stood me in good stead through university speech and debate courses, at mandatory poetry readings and even a year-long stint at the university scene shop. Later in my life when I became a teacher in a foreign country I never dreamed how valuable everything I had learned from the theatre would become in my everyday life. But besides the things theatre has taught me and the ways it has prepared me for what was coming next in my life, the theatre has been a constant in my life and has brought me so much joy.

    Waiting in the wings #LoveTheatreDay
    London's West End © Marc Barrot (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    It has been nearly a year since I've been to the theatre and I honestly didn't know I'd miss it as much as I do. I thought that all the shows being released online, the steady stream of new content on platforms like Netflix and YouTube, and the social media appearances by all my favourite actors would be able to fill the gap until theatre reopened. I was wrong.

    I was thinking the other day about how lucky I've been to see incredible theatre in so many amazing places. New York, Washington DC, London, Paris, Cologne, Prague, I've been fortunate enough to attend the theatre in all of these places and more. I've stood outside in horrible weather waiting for the house to open in an unfamiliar city. I've gone to a show alone and stood awkwardly by myself at the interval. I've gone to see a serious play about World War II in a language I barely understand only to find after the curtain rose that the surtitles weren't working. I never thought I would look back on those experiences with longing, but I do.

    I have begun to plan my return to theatre. I plan on doing a theatre ‘tasting tour.’ All the small theatres I’ve walked past and meant to visit will be seeing me in the stalls. The shows that I haven’t seen since I was young will see me return and all the new shows that I told myself I would see next month are going to finally get a visit. This year outside the theatre has shown me how much there is for me to catch up on. So once the world is back to some semblance of normal, you’ll know where to find me.

    Sarah Gengenbach

    Sarah's love of theater was sparked by an enthusiastic drama teacher who wouldn't take no for an answer. These days she's much more comfortable in the audience than on the stage. She's an English teacher and enjoys reading and writing when she's not teaching or at the theater.

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