Under the Influence: An Old School Theatre Norm

It’s no secret that the arts and creative industries have long had a reputation for being associated with drugs and alcohol. From musicians and actors to writers and directors, the creative process has often been linked to substance use. However, in recent years, there has been a shift in attitudes towards drugs and alcohol in the theatre industry. This shift has led to a movement away from intoxicants on the job, and it’s changing the way theatre is made.

The Culture of Substance Use in Theatre

For many years, drug and alcohol use were considered an integral part of the theatre scene. The stereotype of the struggling artist, fueled by a bottle of whiskey or a line of cocaine, was romanticized in popular culture. In fact, it was often seen as a rite of passage for young artists. The belief was that drugs and alcohol enhanced creativity and allowed artists to tap into their deepest emotions.

Unfortunately, this culture of substance use often led to addiction and other negative consequences. Substance abuse was normalized, and many people in the theatre industry struggled with addiction in silence.

The Shift in Attitudes

In recent years, there has been a shift in attitudes towards drugs and alcohol in the theatre industry. This shift has been driven by several factors, including increased awareness of the negative consequences of substance abuse, a growing emphasis on mental health, and a desire to create a safer working environment.

As a result of this shift, many theatres and theatre companies have implemented policies and programs to support sober artists and technicians. These initiatives range from substance-free spaces to counselling and support groups. Additionally, many artists have become more open about their struggles with addiction and the negative impact that drugs and alcohol had on their lives and work.

The Impact on Theatre

The movement away from intoxicants on the job has had a significant impact on the theatre industry. Without the haze of drugs and alcohol, artists are finding new ways to tap into their creativity and emotions. They are exploring different techniques and approaches to their work, and they are collaborating in new and innovative ways.

The shift in attitudes towards drugs and alcohol has also had a positive impact on the industry’s culture. Rather than promoting a toxic and destructive lifestyle, the industry is now promoting a culture of wellness and support. This has led to a more inclusive and diverse community that is focused on creating a safe and healthy working environment for everyone.

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