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The 7 Reasons Seeing Theater is Good for Your Career

August 16, 2016 by CJ Schwartz
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Young professionals are flocking to the theater these days, and there are plenty of reasons why. Getting engaged in the arts scene isn’t just an opportunity to distract yourself from the nitty-gritty of everyday life,  instead, it carries tremendous value for you and your professional development. Here are just a few ways that theater can give your career a boost, all while enjoying the world-class culture your city has to offer.

1. You’ll meet interesting people.

Interesting People

Who goes to the theater? According to demographic surveys of Broadway and touring audiences, over 75% of theatergoers have a college degree, with nearly 40% having graduate degrees. Theatergoers are emotionally engaged, diverse in their interests and lifestyles, and tend to seek out fulfilling cultural activities in their spare time. High-profile celebrities, politicians, and businesspeople are among those who frequent the arts scene, including avid theater fans like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kevin Spacey, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Jon Stewart. By checking out a show, you never know who you’ll meet in the audience, but chances are, you’ll be surrounded by interesting and ambitious people just like you.

2. You’ll have great small talk options.

Small Talk Topics

There’s more to life than happy hour and the weather, and seeing a play will give you plenty to talk about while conversing with your networks. Can’t stop thinking about that show that piqued your interest in a new culture, sparked a debate about a controversial issue, or made you see a situation in a new light? Use these thoughtful experiences to inform the topics you bring to the table in a professional environment. And if you see something special, your contacts will surely appreciate your recommendations so they too can stay in-the-know about valuable cultural happenings.

3. It builds empathy.


If you treat a networking event like a meat market and shove your business card into the hands of everyone you meet, chances are folks aren’t going to be very keen on connecting with you. Being a great networker means connecting with people on a human level. By immersing yourself in a new world and someone else’s shoes, attending theatre helps build empathy and emotional intelligence. Both of these are key to connecting with people, building productive relationships, and finding common ground with those around you.

4. It’s a good client activity.

Client Activity

Want to impress a client with a memorable night on the town? Scope out the scene for must-see performances, and invite your valuable business contacts to experience them with you. The unique shared experience of live theater is an exciting change of routine that’s great for breaching traditional formalities and establishing a friendly rapport, while you’ll still have plenty of time to get down to business at a pre-theater dinner or with a post-show drink.

5. You’ll experience catharsis.


Your passive aggressive boss. Tomorrow’s deadline. Your next vacation. The thoughts, worries, and goals constantly stewing in your head each day go away while seeing a show, providing a much-needed change of pace for your psyche that will open your mind to issues outside your daily life. This mental reboot will help you to refresh your perspective and tackle new challenges in the coming days.

6. You can improve your own professional behavior.


You can learn a lot from watching actors on stage. Observe their posture and body language, notice the enunciation and diction it takes to clearly communicate dialogue. What is each character’s objective or goal, and what tactics are being employed to achieve them? Apply what you learn to your professional demeanor, from clear and confident public speaking to relationship building and savvy office behaviors.

7. You’ll be inspired.


Creativity inspires creativity, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more compelling creative playground than the theater. We all know the principle that your best ideas come to you when you’re in the shower. Well, let’s just call this the theater principle. Whether you’re at an opera seeing a breathtaking spectacle, at a play seeing an in-your-face drama, or at a comedy club crying from laughter, these unique social experiences can shake loose your creative spirit and help you think outside the box.