Performance anxiety, or better known as stage fright, is something that actors all need to overcome. To start off, you need to remind yourself that the nerves are normal and anyone may experience them before participating in any major event. Second, you need to gain a better understanding of what this means. The article below will help you gain insight on performance anxiety as well as some helpful tips on how to fight it.
What is performance anxiety?
While some may think that performance anxiety is rare, in reality, it’s one of the most common phobias in the United States. In fact, 40 percent of adults in the country suffer a certain degree of stage fright. Despite the name, it does not only pertain to performing on an actual stage with a large audience. It can mean any form of public speaking or artistic performance, such as presenting a project or auditioning for a dance before casting directors.
Performance anxiety tends to worsen when you focus on it more than the actual presentation. Luckily, there are ways to ease it down. You need to know that as a performer, viewing your fear as a threat will only make it worse, instead you have to work with it and use your nerves to your advantage.
Overcoming Performance Anxiety
- It isn’t just you. People never really have to go through anything alone, and dealing with anxiety is no different. Even the most seasoned performers have struggled with their own problems. Singer Adele admitted that she has thrown up a couple times before a show, while Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has been open about her own experiences with performance anxiety as well.
- Find a way to calm you down. Developing an effective way to ease your discomfort will really help you manage your nerves. This could be anything from chewing a piece of gum or taking deep steady breaths to settle down the adrenaline rush.
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. If possible, you can always go to the venue where your performance is held to really familiarize yourself with the environment. Another option is to try and rehearse in front of strangers, that way you get to experience what it’s like to perform in a certain kind of setting.
- Take control of the situation. You are only creating the notion that the audiences have more power than you. Change your mind-set by not materializing your fear. Visualize making a good impression and focus on the positive rather than the negative. During the actual performance, look at the audience and think that they are looking at you approvingly instead of presuming that they are already constructing criticism in their heads.
In performance arts, it isn’t the performer’s primary job to inform the audience. What you want to do is to entertain and to show off your skills. So leave your worries behind and just pay attention to your lines, the character you are bringing to life, the music that is playing, and the passion you have for your performance.