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How Your High School Theater Experience Can Help You in Real Life

August 15, 2016 by Juliana Panzera
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Whether you had to literally be shoved on stage for your 2nd grade holiday pageant (thanks, Mom!) or have always had an innate hunger for the spotlight, most of us have had a brush with the art of acting in some form or another. And whether or not you went on to pursue a career in the arts, all that money spent on character shoes and Throat Coat tea was not wasted. Here are some ways we think studying acting can help you function in the real world.

1. Be Present

honeymoon, silhouette of couple on the beach, dream vacations

As a young actor, one of the first things you learn is to be present in the moment. This seemingly simple task is also one of the most challenging. Being present is much more than simply being somewhere physically, and learning to be fully aware and engaged in one’s surroundings is useful for anyone who wants to experience life to the fullest.

2. Know What is Expected of You

Close-up of a page containing the third act of William Shakespeare's "The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice". The words "sweating" and "exercise" are highlighted with coloured pencil. Focus on few words only. Paper texture visible where in focus. AdobeRGB

Just as an actor has a deadline by which he or she must be off-book, or completely memorized, it is important in any work or life setting to know what part you play and what you are expected to do. Knowing how you fit into any scenario gives you ample time to prepare for the situation and always emerge successful.

3. Prepare for the Unexpected

Actors on stage performing in front of audience.

On stage, much like in life, anything can happen at any time. Technical malfunctions, uncooperative weather, and good ol’ human error are not problems that affect only the theater. Being ready to play whatever hand you get dealt is much like an art, and knowing how to roll with the punches will come in handy in anything you do.

4. Interpret Emotions

Theater group rehearsing a play on stage.

Ah, socializing. It can be daunting to those who have trouble interpreting the emotions of others. Luckily, character analysis and scene study have made you an expert in dealing with other people’s feelings, and can help you navigate the confusing waters of living with others. Because unless you are reading this on a deserted island, other people are probably going to factor into your everyday life.

5. Take Direction

Female graphic designers sitting at the desk

While it is always important to speak your mind and be true to yourself, knowing how to take direction and criticism is a crucial life skill. The ability to work well with (and for) others is a major determining factor in landing any part or job. No divas need apply.

6. Project

Business Team Training Listening Meeting Concept

If you have ever done a show, you’ve most certainly been told to project, which means to speak loudly and clearly. Making yourself heard, both literally and figuratively, is an empowering thing. Be confident in your own unique voice, and know that there is no one else who can speak your mind for you. Don’t mumble. Speak up!

7. Have Fun!

Students Taking Singing Class At Drama College. Student Singing

People act because they enjoy it. Find something you enjoy and do that thing. Your life will thank you for it.