There are so many valuable life lessons that are learned through the Performing Arts, and though I could probably write this list forever, here are 10 of my favourite lessons learned in my 32 years on the stage.
1. Live Life Full Out
Though it can be scary to be vulnerable there is so much more to be gained by playing large and taking risks than there is to be gained by playing it small and safe. In improvisation and in life, it is always better to make a bold move and risk making a mistake than it is to sit idly by while life, or a scene passes you by.
2. Playing Is For Everyone
Ok I know it sounds obvious, but playing is really fun and so many adults forget that. Children play so naturally, and when acting it is during play that magic moments happen between scene partners. So the next time a child talks to you in a funny voice, or uses a stick as a sword, get into it with them! I bet you’ll be glad you did.
3. Be On Time
Some people never had a stage manager to answer to and it shows. Being on time is so important in life! If you are not 5 minutes early, you are not ready to start right on time and therefor late. Show you are responsible and professional by always being on time to class, rehearsal, or anything else!
4. Preparation Is Key
In the Performing Arts, we do all kinds of preparation before actually getting on stage. We take dance class, do script analysis and character development, drill lines, rehearse blocking and more. When it comes time to get on stage we can forget about it all. When you do the preparation work in anything it becomes ingrained in you, and becomes the anchor that steadies you when the nerves kick.
5. How To Use Your Voice
One of the most important things you learn when and acting and auditioning is how to say your name with confidence. This is a skill that comes into practice during school or work presentations, interviews and social settings.
6. Spacial Awareness
For those of us who spent hours at theatre school doing drama exercises where you need to keep 3ft away from others as you moved around the space, physical distancing has never been an issue. There are so many acting exercises that make us aware of our own bodies and the bodies of those around us that have come in handy during social situations and especially during these trying times.
7. Every Person Has A Story
Being in the ensemble of a show teaches you that every single character has an interesting and deep history, and there is so much more to a person than what meets the eye. When you play smaller ensemble character roles it teaches you to look deeper at people, and that life actually becomes much more rich and robust when you take the time to get to know a person past what they are putting on display for the world to see.
8. How To Handle Rejection
Anyone who has been in the Performing Arts a long time has faced many rejections. Times that you pour your heart and soul into an audition and callback, feel that you nailed it, and still received that fateful “Thanks but no thanks” call or email. It’s possible you even shed a tear or two, but more likely than not you took that supporting or ensemble role that you were offered, and ended up learning a lot and having a great experience anyway. Though rejection may be tough to take in the moment, the experiences and lessons learned through NOT getting the part you want often end up making the experience more valuable to you than if you had.
9. How To Have Someone’s Back
When you go onstage with someone there is an unspoken trust between the two of you. You both agree that you are going out there prepared and ready to do your best; that if you make a mistake or lose a line, both scene partners will do their very best to keep the story moving and keep both of you looking good. When you go into many life situations with friends the same sentiment rings true, be responsible for yourself but also be alert and ready to jump in and protect a friend when necessary.
10. Reacting Is Everything
Acting IS reacting, and the same could be said about life. How we choose to react, or rather, respond to any given situation is what is going to determine it’s outcome. Choose your reactions wisely.