Those butterflies you get before auditions, the anticipation of the cast list, the electricity backstage five minutes before curtain; things you've experienced if you have ever done live theatre. I love theatre with an intense passion and I would continue doing it for the rest of my life if I could. You might think theatre is all about glitz and glamour or being in the limelight. While those are perks, there is so much more than that, including 12 hour rehearsals, exhaustion and life altering experiences. In order to exemplify how theatre can affect you, here are just four ways theatre has impacted my life.
It created a safe space.
I can remember being a freshman intimidated by upperclassmen in our theatre program but, because of their accepting attitude I found my place in the world. (ie. Our performaning arts center) I had a place full of people who not only helped me become a better actor but a better person. It was a place where you could go for advice or for an escape from highschool nonsense. There is a spot for everyone in theatre and that's a fact. It doesn't matter who you are or your background, it matters how much dedication you put into what you're doing.
I learned to not underestimate myself.
I always thought that I would never be good enough to be on stage or handy enough to work tech. I'll admit that I chickened out of a few auditions because I was too afraid, which is a decision I regret. I also never talked to my schools technical director because I didn’t think he would want an annoying freshman asking to work backstage. As the years progressed I was cast in amazing shows and worked behind the scenes making sure the show went on. I underestimated myself and what I'm actually capable of. I now know to never to sell myself short because I am capable of more than I ever imagined.
I learned valuable life skills.
Theatre isn't just lights, lines or costumes, it's perseverance, discipline and people skills. You learn how to adapt to changes quickly in an unpredictable environment, which can carry over into any future career. I could go on about life lessons in theatre but my most memorable is this; practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent. What you do now prepares you for what you're doing later on.
I made a family.
According to Dr. Meredith Grey "Friends are the family we choose." and shes completely right. By spending my high school career in the theatre I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.These are people who I can count on for anything, who have seen me at my best (drinking my coffee before rehearsal) and my worst (tech week). Apart from classmates, I have teachers who I now consider family as well. They guided me and gave me opportunities that I am so grateful for. I can't thank them enough for everything that they've done.In this business you get to work with so many different people and it's amazing to make so many new relationships.
I hope this list helped you see a different side of theatre, a side that not many people know about. I hope that if you've ever underestimated yourself or been too afraid to try theatre, remember that everyone (and I mean everyone) is welcome. Go to that audition! Take that technical theatre class! I hope everyone breaks a leg!