I have been performing in some shape or another ever since I can remember and I have always loved being on stage. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very different to me enjoying public speaking as that is far from the truth! If I am performing then I am not myself, I am actor or a stage persona, the second I have to be myself all of my self-confidence disappears. I have always been a very shy and quiet person when I meet new people and so performing has really helped me to work on this and be the loud and bubbly person that I know that I am inside! Here are my top 10 reasons as to why I love performing.
- It helps my confidence!
As I say, I have always struggled with confidence. When I have to speak in front of people then I almost forget how to talk, to the extent I have worked at places for over six months and the whole office didn’t even know my name! I know I am quiet in front of people that I don’t know and I hate that about myself and so it is always something that I am looking to improve wherever I can. When I am onstage I forget my anxieties and they no longer seem to matter to me. I am not myself, I am my character and am blinded by stage presence. Performing means that I have to get better as I get to work with so many amazing people throughout every stage of the rehearsal process….and they all remember my name!
- I meet amazing new friends!
Thanks to my “wonderful” anxiety, I unsurprisingly find it a very daunting task to go out and make friends. In fact, making friends at all as an adult – anxiety or no anxiety – is bloody horrible! When you are a kid as you’re at school you have to make friends so that you are not alone, everybody is in the same boat really and it will benefit each of you to buddy up. But as an adult everyone is at different stages! Whether you have just started a new job, moved to a new area or are just looking to meet new people in a bar etc. it can be really difficult to find some common ground. But performing has helped me to meet some of my best friends in the world, as being thrown in at the deep end of the intense world of rehearsals is the perfect place to get to love people!
- It helps me to understand my emotion!
As someone that suffers with a mood disorder (bipolar), wading through the moggy pit that is my emotions can be an impossibly daunting task! But acting is wonderful for that, to be able to successfully portray a character you need to do more than just recite their words. You need to understand their words and the motivation behind them. You need to see the reasoning behind every decision and choice, and the incentive pushing every sentence. Being someone else, helps me to understand how to be me.
- It improves my public speaking!
As I have said, speaking in front of people as myself is absolutely horrifying to me! Knowing what to say is tough enough, but then I have the loud voice of my anxiety telling me that everybody in the room is laughing at me and that I am their own personal and collective in joke. Performing regularly helps me to get used to being in front of people and allows me to start bleeding a little more of myself into the performance to help me remember how to talk at that next big meeting!
- Your empathy improves!
Being placed in a situation whereby you have to portray the emotions of someone else in a situation that you yourself have never been in, then you have to develop a great sense of empathy. Performing helps me to understand how other people may see the world and also helps me to read how they may be feeling.
- It helps me to learn to trust people!
Thanks to many factors I have real difficulties when it comes to trusting people however performing is helping me to get over that. When you are working on a production you have to rely on other people, you simply do not have a choice and so if you don’t learn to trust your production team and cast, things will just quickly fall apart.
- Helps you to learn how to efficiently work in a team!
As I have kind of mentioned in previous points, a theatrical production demands excellent team work to allow everything to gel properly. Your show becomes kind of like your little child and you are determined to make it the best that it can be. Everybody will band together to combine ideas and skill sets to come up with ideas that you would never have even been able to dream of on your own.
- It takes over your life….in a good way!
From learning your lines, to rehearsals God knows how many times a week, promotion work and finally performances (not to forget the after show party!) the performance that you are working towards really can take over your life – but I genuinely do love it! It takes over most of my waking hours, and I am exhausted and so occasionally am a complete ratty bum, but it is something that I actually want to be spending all this time on because it is all worth it!
- You gain experience in so many things!
Since I have been performing, I have learnt to do so many things! I can now direct, put on a show and advertise it, work a set of stage lights, create a props and costume script – even fire plans and risk assessments! When you are putting on a show, everyone comes together and does whatever they can to make the show a success – all hands on deck!
- It makes me so proud of myself!
When you take that final bow and hear just how much the audience have enjoyed themselves, it really is all worth it. The buzz I get from that is outstanding and there is nothing like it in the world! I love everything about my performing life and I don’t intend to ever stop!