Theatre as Life Skills
Welcome to blog series, “Theatre as…”. In this series, I will demonstrate the multiple ways theatre can be used as a tool for education, restorative practice, and simply, life. Throughout my lifetime, I have had the opportunity to experience theatre for entertainment and enjoyment, but also beyond the stage, as a means for change; those experiences are the ones I will be reflecting upon in my series.
It is comforting to know that theatre, a place and activity to which I have devoted a great amount of time, has allowed me to establish applicable life skills. I’m not talking about being able to master a quick change in five seconds or operate the occasional light board, but to gain life-long confidence, problem solving skills, and skills that have helped become a better group worker and leader. Below I will highlight some of the ways I have witnessed theatre utilized to produce life skills.
Public speaking/confidence: It is no secret that an actor will develop public speaking skills on stage. But what is unique about theatre is that one is able to advance public speaking skills without really publically speaking; rather while playing a character, someone outside oneself, which makes having to address a large audience much easier.
Thinking on your feet: An actor misses their queue, a moment of panic is shared between the players on stage, the stage manager, and the run crew impatiently waiting in the wings. It is up to any one of them to move on— someone needs to do something. Quick!
It is this kind of action that live theatre allows developing quick problem solving skills. You have to be ready for anything, and incidentally that mentality applies to life and work.
As a part of an improv troupe, I was able to develop and advance these kind of flexibility skills on stage. Improv allowed me the space to be completely vulnerable and allow myself errors while developing crucial problem solving abilities.
Working collaboratively: No matter the capacity in theater you work in, you are working with others towards a shared goal. The interworkings of a theatrical production function much like structural machinery without a gear or screw in place, the end result isn’t nearly as efficient. Theatre is a fantastic outlet to learn how you work with other people and help to identify one’s strengths and weaknesses as a team member.
Skills that I have enhanced in the multiple roles I have played as a member of a production are fit enough to be on my CV. I’ve learned to think and develop my ideas more creatively, solve issues quickly, and understand group dynamics better. When you work with humans and all the humanisms that come with that, you gain a greater understanding of what moves us, what we are inspired by, motivated by, and how we can tell our stories… What greater life skills can you hope to acquire?