The Patriot Press

Jacqueline Rayfield, Opinion Editor

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The lights dim, the actors take their bows and the curtains close. Another successful show has come to an end. After months of grueling rehearsal, the Patriot Players have finally preformed. But as the audience leaves the theater and files into the lobby, and interesting phenomenon can be witnessed. The audience is shockingly small.

This year, I was able to sit in the audience of a liberty show for the first time. It was wonderful. Now, the Fifth Avenue Award Nominations are out to prove that. With ten total nominations including Best Overall Musical, there is no doubt that Liberty Drama has a good thing going. Of the 90 plus schools that entered the 5th Avenue Awards, Liberty was one of only eight that was nominated for this last, most prestigious award.

So why, then, are Liberty’s audiences so small? And why are they shrinking each year?

One possibility is that the smaller cast size (about 25 people this year instead of the usual 50) means less parents, grandparents and friends are coming to see the actors. This certainly has some truth to it, but it then begs the question: why are less and less people interested in participating in an award winning theater program?

The bigger issue here is the culture surrounding theater at Liberty. People see the Patriot Players as a successful group that doesn’t need the ongoing support of the student body, but that is not the case. In order for the plays and musicals at Liberty to remain high caliber productions, the Patriot Players need the Liberty community to audition or come to watch the shows.

The last Patriot Players musical, despite its numerous award nominations, lost money for the program because not enough revenue was generated by ticket sales. Patriots, I urge you, don’t let this program flounder. Spend a little time, spend and little money, and go see an award winning production.

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