Culture is essential for human well-being!
Joseph Beuys (and others) have pointed this out throughout the years and it is definitely difficult to put into words what culture, what the arts, actually gift us with on a daily basis and we often are not fully aware of these gifts.
Throughout the month of November I attempted to shed some light on the hard work and the dedication, the commitment and passion that artist have and then share with us. In other words, philosophizing about the “what is culture (what is art?)” question and “can humans survive without culture”?
When is the last time you went to the theater? The opera? The movies? Or maybe a concert?
Maybe it has been a while… so let me ask if you have been listening to music, though or enjoyed an animated movie with voice over artists? Have you been looking at pictures or been reading books? (yes, ebooks and audio books count as well).
You see for us to be able to enjoy these events, others work hard every day, whether it is the performers I met through Stagecoach in Hamburg Mitte or the event organizers, does not make a difference.
Annie was very clear on the show that she really desires to impact the thought processes of her audience and Anna agreed, pointing out that this can be facilitated in a variety of ways when performing and/or teaching. Ronja, for example, believes in creating a safe space for interacting that she opened up for old and young to figure out who they really are.
Alex and Roimata shared their experiences and openly addressed the question of how they feel as mothers about possible pressures “in the biz” and how they support their own children now, while continuing to live their passion and inspire others.
Then there is Holly, who is not only a performer and teacher, the manager for Stagecoach who helped me put the November guests on the show. She is not only a Meisner teacher and practitioner, she also is a cofounder of the EDUtainment Production Company and BitArt Profuctions, both of which are focused on using entertainment to educate people – young and old – on issues that affect all of us, from CryptoCurrency to Confidence.
In their teaching these performers aim to share with the youth how to have and/or regain confidence, how to speak in front of people, to deal with rejection – all skills and abilities we all need every day. More than that, they support our youth and each other, do live one’s passion and calling-whatever that maybe. In that, they not only encourage and support this path: they live it – as they share in the interviews, which you can view on our ROKU Channel.
What is especially fascinating is that these individuals have come together because of their passion and desire to positively impact our world. They come from very different background, different cultures and countries, and together they provide our youth and any audience they perform form with an escape and at times with something to think about during and after the performance. This is what matters to me so much: focus on what connects you, what similarities you have instead of the differences, and YOU can BE the change you wish to see.
Of course, these Stagecoach teachers and individually accomplished artists are also connected to the second guest I had in November, Perrin Manzer Allen, one of the leaders of the school. Perrin has a history of performing and of coaching performers, assisting in productions, and working with performing arts teachers. His resume speaks for itself and he just recently posted a beautiful picture of the Theater Akademie August Verding at the Prinzregentenplatz in Munich, where he is now working for us for 2022.
Due to the restrictions during the pandemic, he also has taken his skill set online and opened up a unique way to coach and work with artists through Vocal Barre. What a way to continue doing what you love – and yes, to keep working and providing us with an escape if we need it.
Last and not least, he was actually my first guest in November: Johannes Mock-O’Hara. Johannes is one of the visionary leaders of Stagecoach Germany and has a long, fascinating history of events creation across the globe though his company Mock-O’Hara GmbH; ranging from Legoland, to Stage Entertainment, Circque du Soleil to now Cavalluna – an amazing show presenting the deep-seeded partnership of performer and horses and providing an avenue for horse therapy through their non-profit “Cavalluna hilft e.V.” This show was finally able to be back on tour after it had come to a screeching halt due to the pandemic. Johannes mentioned that it took about 594 days of waiting, hoping, and not being sure what would happen next.
This is something that these performers and, indeed, performers and freelancers went through when there were lock-downs and travel restrictions across the globe. Suddenly, they had to figure out how to survive – very few countries provide a safety net for those who create experiences for our body, mind, and soul to stay healthy. In most places in the world artists (freelancers) don’t have unemployment benefits and thus they needed a Plan B. As Johannes and my guests pointed out, the situation for them is a little different in Germany and some were thus able to support their teams who did not have any support in their home countries. This means, that every single one of my guests were impacted by the current pandemic and they — as artists and performers across the globe – had to figure out what to do and if they could ever return to what they love and are brilliant at. As some of my guests shared, they were pivoting, finding other gigs (such as voice-over and online teaching) and yet, due to their responsibilities they also were considering leaving their passion behind to be able to provide for their families, not knowing how long this all would take.
On the audience side, we suddenly realized how empty our lives were – or are – without those performances. Many people started feeling depressed and they started to binge watch tv, to overeat, and more … in other words, without access to culture audiences across the globe began to go through withdrawal and the 7 seps of grief.
There now is more of a realization, I hope, with how important culture is for us. It provides us with life and motivation. That’s why people jumped at the first announcement that live Entertainment way back. And yet, my question (and I did bring this up with my guests) if we rely so much on arts and especially performing arts as part of our lives, part of our culture, why don’t we honor and respect it more?
When do we sometimes talk during a theater production? Why do some people walk in and out during the act? Why do we not clap in acknowledgment of the hard work that went into any production – regardless of whether we enjoyed it or not?
I invite you to think of performers as those that gifts us not just with their talents but also with an escape, with inspiration and motivation, opening up our hearts and minds to different possibilities. This is so precious to me, especially when we realize that most performers are not “in it for themselves” – they are not seeking personal glory and fame, they are simply passionate about their craft. To illustrate that point, yes – there are some high-profile artists and then there are those that I had the privilege to welcome to my show and all of them, without fail, were nervous to be themselves on the show as that is not why they do what they do. Remembering that they become the person or the part or the show they participate in instead of changing the role to fit them was something I wanted to highlight. These artists and teachers give, and give, and give with passion and dedication and they know rejection and have learned persistence because they know their path. How many can say that and are willing to pursue that purpose?
Just think of our own Los Angeles Tribune Columnist Goldy Locks , who is so much more as she travels across the US with her band, provides others with the spotlight on her podcasts and shows to bring music and an escape from everyday life to us. The Goldy Locks Band bring music to those in need, and give it their all. They practice, rehearse and then they performs for us and they receive raving reviews every time.
When I set out to dedicate my November shows to culture and give thanks to performers I did not know these individuals stories; I only knew how much I appreciate their work, their craft and persistence and their individual skills and passion. I wanted to shed light on their work and their daily impact and ask for respect for all they do.
So next time you consider going to a live event…don’t just think about the price for the tickets or whether you’ll really enjoy it or can make the time for this event. Think about the weeks and months of work put in to make it possible, the sweat and love, the practice… and then remember the benefits you’ll receive because culture is essential to our human lives.
Think about the importance of what our young ones are learning through attending cultural events and participating performing arts programs. Support those programs, those teachers as they help assist our youth to be confident, able to give presentations, and most of all: follow their purpose and passion in life, which will positively impact humanity as a whole.
To me , as a confidence and self-love coach, their work matters because we work on similar aspects of the human experience, in similar ways and thus share a common goal.
This holiday and any time you are considering giving a gift to someone, consider the gift of the arts!