Five Lessons I Learned From Being Involved In Theater

Five Lessons I Learned From Being Involved In Theater

Theater produces more than plays.

I have been involved in small elementary productions and larger scale junior high school shows. I was lucky enough to attend an elementary school that held everyone from kindergarten to grade eight. This school has one of the most amazing theater programs for grades five through eight. This theater company produced high school caliber productions in an elementary school. We had professional-level sets, costumes, and overall shows. I was lucky enough to be a part of this program for four years. When I went off to high school I did not end up becoming involved in that theater program, and that is my biggest regret now that I have graduated. My junior and senior years my friends and I went back to this theater company to assist our former director in two of her shows. The experiences from both onstage and off have taught me some valuable lessons.

1. Flexibility/Improvisation

One lesson I learned both onstage and backstage is flexibility and improvisation. Nothing ever goes as planned, and you need to adapt fast because the show does not stop. If someone forgets to say a line or does not bring out a prop, you cannot freak out onstage, you have to keep going and not let there be any dead space. If stage crew gives you a new prop to use or you need to fill in for a sick cast mate, you have to be willing to step up to the task. If a lead becomes ill, someone has to be willing to step in for them.

This also applied backstage because every night did not go exactly the same. I remember when I was in "Beauty and the Beast," there was a night when none of the flatware went onstage for “Be Our Guest.” Those who were already onstage had to just go for it, sing loudly, and do the best they could. You have to be able to adapt to changes because chances are each night will not be perfect. Backdrops could get stuck, microphones may stop working on stage, props may break, but you have to put on the best show possible anyways.

2. Trust

At the end of the day, you need to be able to trust your cast mates. Each of you has a job to do and you are responsible for doing that job. You can not worry about someone else’s job; rather, you need to have faith that they will be focused and will perform to the best of their abilities. You need to know where you need to be and when you need to be there, and you need to trust that you cast mates will know the same for them. While I was working backstage in a junior production last year, I overheard some of the younger kids frantically looking for someone about to go on. One of the leads turned around and simply said, “She will be here.” This young actor demonstrated that trust that you need to have in your cast mates. A sense of trust amongst a cast leads to the cohesion needed to put on a fantastic show.

3. Teamwork

Theater includes working with a myriad of people, and there is always the chance of having to work with someone who you do not particularly like. You need to remember that you each joined the show with the common goal of putting on a fabulous production. All differences must be put aside in order to allow the show be a success. You need to be able to work with not only cast mates, but also the tech crew and director. You should be capable of leaving all differences or grudges at the door. When you step into rehearsal or the show, you become your character. If you cannot work well with others, the cast will become detached and the show will not come together.

Generally by the end of a production the cast is more than a team - they become a family. Before each show my theater company would play Pass The Pulse in a circle, sing "Amazing Grace" (still holding hands), and then our director would say a prayer for the cast and crew. The key to an amazing show is a cohesive cast and crew. One of the most amazing byproducts of theater is the bonds formed within the cast and crew. You have the opportunity to meet some of the best people in your life, and it would be a shame if that was missed.

4. Acceptance

This goes hand-in-hand with teamwork. You need to accept differences amongst your cast mates in order to be able to work with them successfully. Theater is diverse, meaning it contains people of all races, genders, ages, and sexualities. Being a part of this program showed me how different people can come together. This year I was a peer tutor and when the eight-year-old girl I was tutoring laughed that a boy would want to be in a play, I was taken aback. I forgot that at her age it seemed a little weird. Theater does not have a gender or a sexuality. It is open to everyone. It was nice to be exposed to this at a young age.

5. Time Commitment

In order to put on a fantastic performance, you need to rehearse. This does not mean simply showing up to the weekly rehearsals. You need to put the time in at home to learn your songs and your lines or you will look foolish at rehearsals. You need to show up to all of the rehearsals because you will miss something important. It could be a dance number, or blocking a scene. You need to be there for it all because the director will not reteach it just for you. Also, if you miss too many rehearsals, there is a chance the director will cut you from the show. When you are considering skipping a rehearsal, think about your director. They spend their entire life for a good chunk of the school year on this show. Think about the amount of time you have put in and multiply it by ten. They are blocking numbers at home in their spare time, they are out shopping or making costumes and they are staying after rehearsal three hours later to work on the set. They come in on school vacations to put the finishing touches on. They work their butts off to make you look good. When you get a standing ovation, it is because of the work that they put into the production. You are only putting in a fraction of the work that your director and stage crew put in.

The night before one of the morning shows that I worked on for stage crew, we were at the school until 11:30 p.m., and back at the school at 6:50 a.m. the next morning to make sure the set was prepared and we were ready to go. While all this time is put in from by the director, you need to be willing to put in the small amount that he or she is asking of you.

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Simmons

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

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30. Curious

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Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!


I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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