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7 Life Skills Every Theatre Kid Will Learn

1. Self­-Confidence

Stage-Fright

To command a stage, and deliver your lines or actions takes guts. The more we practice those skills, the more confident we become in trying new things, taking risks, and gaining personal confidence on the other stages in our lives. This kind of confidence definitely carries over into work, home, school­­, & anywhere we need to step out of our comfort zone or “perform.”

2. Creative Thinking & Problem Solving

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Being able to approach a problem from a different angle, or with unique abilities is truly a life skill. Thinking on your feet. Asking questions. Taking notes, adapting movement, adjusting inflection, and trying everything again in a fresh way makes us more creative when we’re tackling other areas in life. It makes us limber mentally and emotionally, and gives us options onstage and off.

3. A Broad Human Perspective

7 Life Skills Every Theatre Kid Learns

Much of theatre revolves around the script, choices on stage, character motivations, and human interactions. We delve into the human condition and strive to understand others through their own lenses. Human behavior and psychology are central to crafting our characters and portraying their social interactions onstage. We also read many scripts, and experience different historical eras, dance styles, and musical styles. We learn to sympathize, empathize and understand humanity everyday, and this helps us when we interact in the real world.

4. Follow Through

7 Life Skills Every Theatre Kid Learns




Deadlines, professionalism and quality control are integral parts to every production, both on and off stage. The perseverance required by the theatre makes us stronger people in our personal lives. Opening Night never goes away, and every audience is new, so our practice and performance has to remain solid for the run. The world needs and expects resilient people who step up and make it happen. In other words, “The show must go on!”

5. Teamwork

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The very nature of theatre is people working towards a common goal, which is telling a story in a certain way. You can’t escape the team nature of theatre (and sometimes there’s drama that should have been left on the stage), but teamwork is also one of the things we love best about performance! The social fun, interaction, and energy of the cast and crew make those inevitable difficult times more than worth it, and this teaches us to push through problems and conflicts by seeing the big picture, which is the team goal.

6. The ability to work under pressure.

7 Life Skills Every Theatre Kid Learns

Live audiences! Technical snafus! Lack of sleep! And yet, we learn to thrive under pressure, when needed, by performing. We learn that challenges often bring out the best in us, and we learn that nervous “butterflies” are a sign of life and energy that we can harness. We start to appreciate the adrenaline, the anticipation, and the rush of the stage. We become stronger people by surviving the obstacles and moving forward every day in the theatre.

7. Sheer Enjoyment

7 Life Skills Every Theatre Kid Learns

Passion for the scripts and collaboration with a team that you care about is deeply fun for those who choose theatre. We learn to bring texts to life. We learn to live in the moment. We learn to improvise when necessary. We inhabit our characters each night on stage. We dance and sing, and call cues, and create something. We face setbacks, but if it wasn’t sheer enjoyment to create and make and perform, we wouldn’t keep choosing this highly demanding work. We find our passion in the theatre. And at the end of every exhausting day, we push forward, for the love of our craft.

Have a skill to add? Leave a reply below…

Written by Rachel Duncan

Rachel lives in Salem, Oregon, and has directed at The Pentacle Theatre, Children's Educational Theatre, Central High School, and Western Mennonite School, among others.

4 Comments

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  1. I would like to tack on a “Practical Life Skills” bit lol. When hems come unstitched, buttons pop off, props break or need altering, sets need a little *ahem* makeshift, theater kids learn to Fix It with the best of ’em. Plus, learning to use tools (sometimes even power tools) when you help the crew, painting, hanging pictures and such when dressing the set. Stuff you need to know, folks.

  2. Theatre teaches us how to be selfless. I have had to perform with severe illness and broken limbs, because there was no one to replace me, and the show depended on it. We pick up dropped lines and prompt others who are nervous without the audience knowing. We learn not to be a diva, because the show is never about one single actor, but every character, even the most seemingly insignificant part can bring down or “make” a performance, so everyone is equally important.

    As for working in the theatre, during years of teaching, I made sure no actor went on stage before they had experience as a tech, so they realized how important all those behind the curtains were in making the show run. They learned that actors were a dime a dozen, but a tech was worth his/her weight in gold.

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