World Theatre Day, March 27th 2017
Written by Véronique Côté
Actress, writer and director
Translated by Peter McCambridge
Here, we have a theatre.
And that theatre is open to all.
To those who doubt, who dream, who don’t speak up, to those searching
To the rebels, the indignant, and the inconsolable. To strangers.
To the brokenhearted, the battered, the families shattered into ten thousand pieces. To the fragile, the overlooked, the heroines.
To those who love and are loved.
To those who refuse to fall in line. To all the skeptics out there.
To those who can’t make up their minds, to the frail, to the mystics, to the confused, to all those who’ve always been given a hard time. To those who have seen
better days. To the exhausted, the overworked, the convalescing, and the worn-out. To those who don’t fit in. To the failures, the knuckleheads, the unbowed.
To the punks, the activists, the demonstrators, and the globetrotters. To the nurses, the actuaries, and the booksellers. To the economists, the accountants,
and the kind-hearted florists. To the amateurs and the overqualified.
Here, we have a theatre. And you’re all so very welcome.
Welcome to everyday folk. Welcome to the brave. Welcome to those who are stuck in traffic, running late, scruffy, grumpy. Welcome to those who had a ticket
for yesterday or for tomorrow. Welcome to all the neighbours. Welcome to those who are never satisfied. Welcome to those who’ve always had to scrape by.
Welcome to actresses over 50. Welcome to hot-blooded teens, and welcome to those who are already afraid of dying.
Welcome to those whose lives have gone up in smoke.
Welcome to the women who weren’t believed.
Welcome to those who are running away, to those who tremble and shake, welcome to the first and last to arrive.
Welcome to you, who’ve been here barely nine months. Welcome to you,
mad as hell that your teacher made you come here, yes, tonight of all nights,
to the theatre of all places, when all you want is for people to acknowledge
your skills and let you play your part in shaping this country as you know you can. Welcome to your anger, your melancholiness, your courage. You think you’ll never have the words to express all you had to leave behind to get here,
but hang in there: those words will come to you. Come back some day, if you like. Come tell us all about it.
We who bring poetry and storytelling to life, we who work to turn words into action, let’s practice what we preach.
Let’s do it in front of and for other people. Let’s do it in the face of these relentless times that want to weaken, divide, and enrage us. Let’s be vigilant, for us
and for those yet to come. Let’s just do it for the sake of it. Let’s never drop
our guard. Let’s be concerned, let’s keep an eye out for dangerous attitudes, starting in our own backyards.
Let’s be attentive. Let’s be equal—and, better still, let’s be for equality in all things. Let’s walk the talk. Let’s be oracles, let’s avoid the predictable.
Let’s open our theatres for real. Let’s open the doors and windows
and minds and possibilities, open new horizons and days ahead, open them wide, roll up our sleeves and get involved. Let’s open our stages. Open our hearts.
Welcome to those who are hurting. Welcome to the children.
Welcome to the dead and the living.
This is your home.
Photo credit stephanebourgeois.com