Noticing the lack of attendees

April 12, 2023


Sarabeth Wester

Performing to an empty audience is disheartening because the art that you are sharing is not being received.

The curtain rises, the lights come up, and the music begins; in an instant, my performance begins. The bright white lights blind me as my eyes adjust to the intense gleam of the spotlights. The act begins, and I move down stage to hit my mark. I transgress the line of lights, my eyes dilate and the audience comes into focus. I’m in awe– astonished by the dismal amount of attendees– the theater was at half mast.

The 330-seat theater was nearly barren. The Manatee Performing Arts Center, which in the past was filled with eager theater goers, was desolate. The absence of attendees was unlike anything I had ever seen. In all my years of performing, I had never been greeted with a more depressing sight– after all we had done to prepare for this show, barely anyone came. As an actor who had poured time, effort, and passion into the art, it was disheartening. Performing arts is a craft that is meant to be seen; the beauty is lost without its audience.

As a performer who has received eight theatre credits in the past, I have seen countless audiences and I can’t help but notice a recent trend: live art is dying.

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