There are so many reasons that I’m glad I grew up in theater. I learned the obvious things like stage right and left, I learned about Shakespeare, I know the difference between a light-bulb and a lamp (probably not what you’re thinking). But I also learned some things you might not expect from theater. I learned dedication, I learned leadership, I learned responsibility, I learned how to work hard, I learned how to give it my best, I learned to take criticism, and I learned to support everyone.
I know it may sound silly to some people, but those people didn’t spend three hours after school learning blocking. Those people didn’t run lines when they got home. Those people didn’t have paint stained shirts from weekends in the shop (and I don’t mean the mall). Those people have no idea how much hard work goes into it. Have you ever tried to perform a show 2-4 nights a week, that is physically and emotionally demanding, and giving it your all each time? It’s hard, but one of the best feelings in the world.
I learned to lead people my own age, because things needed to get done. I had amazing supportive teachers who trusted me with projects, and trusted me to lead. I learned how to do everything the best I could, because it was going to show. If I messed up, it effected everyone, not just me. I directed projects, which taught this very shy girl how to be in charge. It taught me a lot about what I had to could bring to the table.
I learned to listen, because if you miss one thing a director says, you are a world behind. I learned that everything takes hard work, but it is going to be worth it. You don’t get great results if you don’t put in great work. I know that I’m not perfect, I know I mess up. I also know that when I mess up I fix it. No one fixed my messes for me, sure they helped me if I needed help. But each of us had to own our mistakes.
Now, not everyone is going to agree. You are going to fight. You are going to get jealous of someone who got the part that you wanted. You are going to have a different idea about how something should be done. You are not always going to get your way. But the amazing thing is, you learn how to handle that. You learn to work as a team and support everyone, even if you don’t like them. I promise you, that is very important in the real world. I know, sounds basic enough right? But I meet full grown adults who have never learned that.
I learned things that changed my life and make me come out a stronger person. I learned how to be confident. But beyond that, I found something that makes me happy, I found something that I am passionate about. I found friends that I still talk to, I found teachers who would support me for years after graduation. I’m serious, I still hear from every theater teacher I have ever had, and I graduated five years ago.
Theater changed my entire life. I am sitting on a stage at 11pm right now writing this. I cannot imagine where I would be without this in my life. I tried for a couple years to ignore this part of me, it honestly wasn’t until I came back that I realized how much it had given me. And I will always be thankful that it did.