Actor Life, Theatre

The Most Important Message a Director can Give is Encouragement

I’ve experienced theatre in a lot of ways. I’ve performed, co-directed, stage managed, built sets, and of course, sat in the audience. Through these experiences, I’ve gotten to examine the role and impact of the director in a lot of different circumstances. I haven’t always liked what I’ve seen.

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Actor Life, Theatre

10 Ways Theatre can be a Part of a Genuine Societal Solution

The world is a mess and everything is terrible. Thankfully, community theaters and other local theatre organizations are uniquely suited for helping those in their community and for chipping away at the inequality heaped onto marginalized people. By using influence in local spheres change attitudes, opinions, and realities, and directly assist the communities and patrons they serve, theatre organizations can become genuine, active forces for good.

If your theatrical institution has ever performed Hairspray, or The Laramie Project, or Les Mis, or Ragtime, or Newsies, or Almost, Maine, or Cabaret, or Urinetown, or The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or Hair, or She Kills Monsters, or Miss Saigon, or Rent, or To Kill a Mockingbird, or Billy Elliot, or West Side Story, or Fun Home, or South Pacific, or Once on This Island, or any other musical about poverty, racism, homophobia, or confronting general bigotry and inequality, and you have profited off of or otherwise benefited from that work, then it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Don’t be hypocritical theater: you cannot profit from these works while not ensuring enactment of their anti-bigotry themes and messages in your real-world actions. While performing these works is already important on its own, ensuring their messages are adopted in your organization’s daily activities is far more crucial.

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Actor Life, Theatre

The Comfort in Saying “I Can’t”

I would love to be a belter. One of those pure Broadway belters who can effortlessly hit high notes all day long with their perfect, clear tone, as if it’s the most normal, natural, easy task ever. It’s something I’ve been really trying to work towards ever since I started performing– and, speaking humbly, I think I’ve made some strides.

I’d also love to be a dancer. But I “can’t dance.” Guess how my dancing skills have developed?

If you guessed, they haven’t at all, you’re probably more or less correct. At least, I don’t think my dancing skills have developed. But I haven’t really been looking for improvement in that area, anyway. That’s the beauty of simply saying “I can’t.”

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Actor Life, Theatre

Quiz: Are you Really Prepared for a Lead Role?

Whether you’re a veteran performer always in the spotlight or a theatrical newbie awaiting your turn to step centerstage, chances are, you often second guess your abilities. It comes with the territory. Almost every actor I know holds on to some lingering insecurities. When you start to question yourself, you might start wondering if you really have what it takes to achieve that coveted lead role.

Wondering whether your skill and hard work will be enough to pay off? Why not take this quiz to find out?

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Actor Life, Theatre

10 Signs you Might be Ready to Give Directing a Try

Do you find yourself dreaming of sitting in the director’s chair? Getting into directing is a massive undertaking, and your first directing experience may prove to be a real trial by fire. Don’t make the decision lightly! By waiting until you’re really ready to direct for the first time, you maximize your chances of success (and minimize your chances of crushing heartbreak.) But what does being “ready” look like?

There’s no one answer to that question, but here are ten signs you might be close.

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Actor Life, Theatre

Myths, Half-Truths, and Facts Every Performer has Heard About Eating and Drinking Before a Performance: Explained

Chances are, if you’re a performer, you’ve heard some “voice hacks” revolving around food and drink. “Drink lemon water to eliminate phlegm.” “Don’t eat before you go on stage.” “Eat potato chips to solve a sore throat.” Many of these sound reasonable enough and are offered to us as such absolute truths that we accept them without really researching whether they are true or not. As a result, all performers hold in their hearts a unique set of myths and half-truths gathered over the years which they believe makes them better singers. Is there any truth to these claims, or are they only urban legends? I decided I wanted to learn that for myself.

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Actor Life, Theatre

5 Free Online Resources for Performers who are Social Distancing

With COVID-19 shutting down theatrical venues, classes, and performances across the world, many performers now find themselves stuck at home with little to do. However, the arts are as always indomitable, and many performers and arts educators have taken to social media to do what they do best. Why not use your time at home productively? Here are 5 free resources (and one bonus, sort of free resource) for theatrical performers practicing social distancing!

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Actor Life, Theatre

Rest, Reset, Grow

I write this a week after the Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, declared schools would be closed for two weeks to combat the spread of COVID-19, and days after he’s ordered a shutdown of all events with more than 50 people in attendance. Thus, he wiped out thousands of school, community, and professional theatre productions in the state. All around the U.S. and the world, the decree is the same. As of now, Broadway is not even a week into a month-long blackout.

These preventative measures are necessary, but they exact a price.

A lot of my friends are hurting. As deep into various theatre circles as I am, I’ve been hearing lamentations of cancelled and postponed shows for weeks.

Some amateur department directors fear their programs will never be able to recover financially. Actors mourn roles they’ll never get to play for an audience. Professionals are without pay for who knows how long.

Despite everything, the theatre community keeps art and hope alive. Young actors share videos of their would-be performances, clips of themselves singing and reading monologues. Professional theatre and dance companies like BalletNova Center for Dance post Facebook Live ballet classes for anyone to enjoy.

But we are hurting. Many actors have had something taken from them they will never really be able to recover.

Actors, singers, dancers, professionals and amateurs alike; Performers of every sort who have been effected by the spread of this disease:

Take this time to rest, whether you want to or not.

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