I’ve been doing some reading lately on various forms of creativity and it got me thinking about TimeLine’s mission, and the ways in which we ask our audience to participate in its practice.
If you’ve spent any significant time on our Web site (or indeed in our theater), you are no doubt well versed in our mission’s simple credo: “TimeLine Theatre Company is dedicated to presenting stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues.” It is a statement that has proved to be quite resilient over the years and continues to resonate in striking ways as we now enter into our second decade. The family of TimeLine (its core Company members, staff, Board and Associate Artists) spend a good deal of time and energy conceiving how our creative approach to telling stories can inform the greater goal of connecting you with today’s world.
So I was reading this book on what the author refers to as “everyday creativity” — the idea that creativity is not an endeavor strictly for the artistic among us, but can exist in meaningful ways through the daily pursuits of anyone interacting with their environment. We can find creativity in the way we respond to a difficult challenge at work, the way we answer a child’s question or confront a stranger on the street or, perhaps, view a play. It occurred to me that one of the things that really makes TimeLine’s mission come to life is the way in which we ask (implore really) you, our audience, to make your own connections to the stories we present. We are far more interested in the creative associations you may find in The History Boys, for example, than what may have initially inspired the company to produce it.
Certainly we as the company enter into the process with our own perspectives. We provide you with biographical materials, study guides and lobby displays full of what we hope are tidbits of inspiration. But it is our supreme hope that those ideas serve as mere launching points for the greater inspirations that you have to offer. It is, in fact, your creativity that fulfills our mission’s goal each and every time you leave our theater with a feeling that what you’ve just experienced is somehow familiar and resonant, and that what you understand of the world has a deeper context for question and meaning.
So whether or not you’ve ever considered yourself a particularly creative person, please know that everything we do here at TimeLine is for the purpose of encouraging you to join us in this creative process. When you enter our theater and engage with our lobby displays, participate in our talk backs and immerse yourself in the world of our stories (and question and debate the relevance of their meaning), you complete the pursuit of our mission and, we hope, find in yourself an everyday creativity that reveals a richer perspective of the world around you.
And remember: it is not so much what we do that makes us creative, but more profoundly, how we do it.
See you at the theater.