Witness

I think a lot about the power of witnessing, especially in my line of work as a theatre maker and administrator.

We all have pain, and we are mostly capable of working through it. But what each of us need is to feel seen and heard: we need other people to witness our pain and not place judgment.

The most effective theatre I’ve watched is that which contains a kernel of truth about the human experience. The creators need to be very vulnerable in order to bring that truth to the surface, but more often than not that vulnerability pays off because suddenly a room of strangers can see themselves reflected and consequently understand each other to some small degree.

The act of witnessing on a small scale is effective in that hearing someone say “I see you going through that pain” is immensely comforting. And being surrounded by other silent onlookers as we reflect on our personal truths can be profound.

The art that gets me the most is that which allows us to collectively witness parts of ourselves we tend to keep hidden, revealing that we all want the same thing: to be heard, and to be seen.

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