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Stadsschowburg Sittard Auditorium  /

By its nature a Theatre is a world of secrets. The whole premise of the building is a place out of reality, where actors, musicians, dancers and performers can conjure another reality for an audience taken away from their everyday lives.

Here and there the audience is allowed a glimpse at the inner workings of the machine – a pulley here, a lamp there, the occasional cable - almost as if to remind people that what they are seeing is a fantasy, a mere production.

But these views of backstage life are kept to a minimum as behind the scenes technicians toil just out of view to create the magic that allows an audience to collectively experience a moment of suspended disbelief in another time, another place. In many ways it’s the underground made official, a place where we can escape the rules and regulations for a moment without reprimand or recourse.  Perhaps that’s why it is viewed as a waste or an excessive luxury by those that seek to grasp power through fear, it being a rare place where as an adult thoughts of alternative worlds, different realities and possible futures are not just sanctioned but encouraged.

Even when things go wrong in the theatre a strange clash of the real world and the fantasy mingle to create new stories; the Stadsschowburg having many tales from a pig being found drinking from the green-room bar, to performers being encouraged to take their cue to an empty house or a magician disappearing during his act only to reappear covered in very real blood. But it is when the theatre reaches out to the real world to influence a production that it becomes its most powerful - it allows a city to take control of its own image, engage with the creation of its own memories in the present and create new stories rooted in a specific place for future generations.

It’s no surprise then that the Sittard Revue is one of the best selling shows in the venue – it joins people together in a space to play that allows for fun to be poked at the influential without the restrictions of everyday life or the agenda being set by those in power. In this sense the theatre could be seen as the greatest threat to politics, the format of elected players acting out pre-rehearsed stories to a crowd enraptured by the moment being the art form that shares most similarities with politics. That’s why in Britain there’s an adage: “Politics is nothing but show-business for the ugly”.

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