Attitude in the arts

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“Sometimes it skips a generation”. This is a quotation from a conversation between well established actors who were seen to be the torch bearers for English theatre making, several decades ago. Many complain that performing arts seem to offer limited access to folks from diverse backgrounds and heritages. Those who grow up with the customs and traditions around them are likely to be fluent in the vocabulary of the business before most others.

Having an early advantage in the trade doesn’t make those practitioners more talented or imaginative than those who come from elsewhere. In many cases, people are probably following a calling that is linked to genetic inheritances from other societies and communities. The outcomes of what we do over several decades offer stronger indicators of what happens in the arts, than events that happen in the present.

In many cases, one discovers that a person who gained notoriety for creative work in their young days ends up doing something completely different after a few years in the spotlight. He or she might have had the technical skills to perform or present things fluently, but his or her urge to express creative ideas might not have been as intense as it might have seemed in the first place.

A leading show person described this urge as a sort of drive, which she didn’t see in her own daughter, even though the offspring has a wide range of well developed skills and talents.

In the words of a great creative musician, this urge or drive could be simply described as “having attitude”. Arts lovers often have to sift through a lot of chaff to find the wheat. When an artist truly “has attitude”, what can she or she do to protect and nurture it?

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