The theatre is about more than performing in or watching a fascinating story unfold on stage. Beyond the artful sets, amazing costumes and incredible acting are plenty of life lessons that are there for the taking. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the many learning opportunities that present themselves when the lights go down and the curtain goes up:
See the World From a Different Point of View
Some of the best theatre-related lessons come from plays and musicals that introduce you to a new kind of character and a different way to look at the world. A great example of this is the play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” This play follows the story of 15-year-old Christopher, a young man with an amazing brain. Christopher, who has autism, is bright but often unable to accurately interpret what others are saying and feeling. When he falls under suspicion for killing a neighbour’s dog, Christopher is determined to find the real bad guy. This play teaches both the actors and the audience important life lessons, such as determination and perseverance, as well as how to see the world from another person’s perspective.
Ignore the Critics
Being a singer, actor or musician means being subjected to critics’ reviews. Sometimes they may gush over a performance, and other times they may rip apart every note and word. It’s best to learn not to listen to any of it — both the good and the bad — and instead focus on who you know you are as a person. Sure, it’s natural to want to take to heart the wonderful reviews you receive, but ultimately, feeling worthy as both an actor and a person comes from within.
Listen to Others
One of the main differences between a so-so actor and a truly gifted one is the ability to listen to everyone else on stage. If you are a new performer, you may be so focused on your lines that you don’t hear what others are doing and saying. However, a lot of acting involves listening to everyone else and understanding what they are saying. This is a terrific lesson because, often, instead of waiting for your friends and loved ones to stop talking so you can start, it’s better to hush up and listen to what they are saying.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Sometimes you may not be chosen for a particular play based on the most mundane things. For example, the director may have already cast his “female blond lead” or you happened to be the sixth trumpeter to audition when they only needed five. While it stings to not be chosen for a role, job or any other opportunity in life, it’s important to remember not to take it personally. Very few things are dependent on one part about you, so don’t spend a lot of time analysing why you weren’t chosen. If you are passed over, remember that it says more about the other person than you. Accept that it’s not personal and move on.