Online, it’s pretty easy to call someone a fascist. Or to make a joke of their faith. On TV, you can refer to a whole state as a bunch of idiots. In a theater, however, you have to look that person in the eye. Theater forces us to listen and to see.
The Republican Theater Festival is a new play festival dedicated to providing a platform for conservative plays and playwrights in a serious effort to present a conservative perspective in the predominantly liberal medium of live theatre. Despite the name, this event is not meant to change or try to persuade how people vote. Instead, it is meant to change how people listen.
The Republican Theater Festival is being relaunched by Chambers Theatrical Enterprises in Spring of 2018 and will feature several original full length, one act, and 10-minute plays with conservative themes and messages. These plays are written by both liberal and conservative playwrights, directed by both liberal and conservative directors, and performed by both liberal and conservative actors. This is an initiative to unite and diversify the theatre and art industry.
What is Conservative Theatre?
Depending on who you ask, conservative theatre has different meanings. We believe that conservative theatre is not meant to be political, first and foremost, and is not meant to change how people vote. However, we believe that conservative theatre is the accurate portrayal of conservative characters and plays with an overall conservative message that do not stereotype or vilify conservative principles.
In theatre, when staging a show, actors must put themselves in their character’s mind, through character development. You can’t avoid talking about what motivates the characters, you have to understand what justifies their choices, or you can’t do your job on stage. When a liberal actor puts themselves in a conservative character’s shoes (and vice-versa), they’re able to understand why and how conservatives think and feel the way that they do. The actor asks themselves “what is my characters motivations?” In turn, when we understand why and how someone thinks/believes the way that they do, we can better understand and empathize with them and hopefully find some common ground.
Liberal audiences may not agree with conservative themes in a play, but, again, they’re able to understand conservative ideology and (hopefully) realize that conservatives are not bad people after all. Conservative theatre truly puts you face-to-face with your friends from “across the aisle.” Therefore, lastly, we believe that conservative theatre is the initiative to create an even more diverse and truly inclusive theatre and art industry.
Example of Conservative Themes: Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government, Pro-Life, Free Market Economy, Personal Liberties and Responsibilities, etc. Read about the plays from the 2012 festival.
History of the Republican Theater Festival
The Republican Theater Festival was founded in 2012 by Forearmed Productions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The festival faced much criticism in its first year from liberal theater artists and critics. In 2016, Colt Chambers and Chambers Theatrical Enterprises acquired the rights and plan to relaunch the festival in Spring 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.