If You Name It, It Will Grow

Categorizing shows like Cirque du Soleil's "Quiddam" is tricky.

Does Cirque du Soleil’s “Quiddam” fall under theater, dance, circus or all of the above?

I’ve been using the term “live entertainment” for more than a decade now, and in the last few years others seem to have caught up with me. I drifted into that term because to me, there’s a strong connecting thread between theater, live music, sports, walking tours, Cirque du Soleil-type experiences and whatever else might happen when people are gathered in a physical space primarily for the enjoyment of it.

This article asks the question if “alternative theatre” needs a new name, and it’s a good question. The answer is no and yes.

The answer is no, because even without a category name, the iPad was a huge success. Sleep No More doesn’t need to be called immersive theater to be a success. Whatever it is, people love it.

On the other hand, the answer is yes, because when you name something, it tends to grow. Apple invented the iPad, not the tablet, but calling it a tablet meant that people began to break down what constituted a tablet, exactly, and then we got a whole lot more of them from a whole lot of different makers. The category exploded, partly because it got named.

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