At The Penny Stinkards, we believe that theatre is essential to the development of each human being; it is able to teach empathy, to inspire the mind, and to raise the spirits. More specifically, we believe these artistic qualities can reach their fullest potential when unbound by dense design and the over-stimulation of special effects. In a world where everyone is digitally connected from birth, theatre has the ability to cut this cord and create true, human connection. At the heart of this connection is the relationship between the actor and the audience. For this reason, The Penny Stinkards believes theatre is for the masses and therefore strives to create high-quality art, accessible to everyone.
What We Do
The Penny Stinkards produce low-tech theatre in order to amplify the connection between human beings (actor-to-audience, audience-to-actor, and audience-to-audience). Wherever possible, we dispense with stage lighting, canned sound, and physical distance of the audience from the stage. We perform in fields, parks, schools, community centers, and beyond. We engage with the audience. Most of all, we have endless fun and we want you to, as well!
What's a Penny Stinkard?
In an Elizabethan Playhouse, the penny stinkards were the commoners in the audience. You might have also heard them called "groundlings" or "yardlings." These penny stinkards stood in the mud and rain through the full performance, they paid a penny to get in, and - well - they smelled bad. Yes, the term was often used disparagingly. Penny Stinkards were roughians. They were uneducated. They were vocal. They were common...
But they were the heart of each performance. No one was closer to the action. If an actor couldn't connect with these folks, the performance would fail to thrive. Unlike today's commercial theatre where the "commoners" are seated as far from the stage as possible, the penny stinkards had the best view in the house. We named our troupe for these people. We reclaim the term "Penny Stinkards" and use it not as an insult, but as a badge of honor. The penny stinkards are worthy of each actor's fullest effort and won't be pushed to the outskirts. We ARE Penny Stinkards, and we are FOR the Penny Stinkards.
"Think you to delight yourselves by keeping company with our poets? Proh dolor! their Muses are more sullen than old monkeys, now that money is not stirring ; they never plead cheerfully but in their term times when the two-penny clients and penny stinkards swarm together to hear the Stager-ites.”
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