There’s a porous boundary between collecting and hoarding. I see I wasn’t paying attention when I crossed over it. Way over it. These are Theater Programs — just a small portion of the ones I, um, collected.
I can’t think of anything else to do with them but recycle. I don’t think there’s a museum of theater programs to donate to, although a little conscious googling reveals that MoMA has a collection of Parisian Avant-Garde theater programs (here’s a link). Too bad mine don’t fit that category.
Yet, I am thinking of keeping a few, silly as it sounds. I’m a country girl. I’d been to the opera on a previous international trip, but I’d never gone to plays until my first trip back to London after I started working for the airlines. I went to A Chorus Line at Drury Lane, and I was hooked. From then on I went to the theater every trip, sometimes every night. Programs were large and glossy, all through the 1980s and even into the 2000’s. After that? Here’s program-shrinkage from the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, 2001-2014 —
In the beginning, I collected programs so I’d remember which actors I’d seen in London or New York. I kept that interest over the years through subscriptions to Missouri Repertory Theater in Kansas City, the Alliance in Atlanta, and trips to the Shaw Festival in Ontario. Now, looking back through the programs, I realize I’ve seen so many productions over the years that there are many I’ve forgotten.
Some theaters encourage us to leave our programs there for the next audience, and I realize that anything else is wasteful. I wonder how long it will be before we can download them or view them on our phones while in the lobby? The Met Opera already e-mails program notes before its cinema simulcasts, so I expect help is on the way.
In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo’s mandate is to discard any possessions that do not spark joy. Examining the programs did give me joy, but I have to admit they’ve fulfilled their purpose. Now I can cross that boundary back into “collection” and disperse my hoard …
Can anyone think of a good use for old theater programs?
More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries
An official collection of programs and playbills