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The Blue & Gray Press | May 24, 2017

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How one student conquered speaking anxiety through theatre classes

How one student conquered speaking anxiety through theatre classes

By AMANDA HOWAR

If you are an introverted or tend to shy away from the spotlight, a theatre course can seem like an absolute nightmare. Even though the idea of acting in front of people seems daunting, I’ve found that the best way to get over a fear is confronting it head on. This sounds like a crazy idea but it could help you come out of your shell.

A large portion of college classes require you to participate and speak out, and often times this makes up part of your final grade. It would be nice to sit in class without the added anxiety of a professor calling on you. With theatre you can learn to be more confident when speaking in front of crowds.

In theatre you can find your niche in acting, directing or possibly even writing a play. You could find yourself up on stage reading a part or directing your peers in a production. Being forced to participate in acting might not be as bad as you think. This will help you learn how to share your ideas without being insecure. Often theatre will do improvisation and this can help you be quick-witted and make you think on your feet.

Improvisation can be the best way to get you up and off the sidelines. You might find you have hidden talents you have never explored and try out new things such as singing or dancing. Being able to express yourself through this outlet will bleed over into other aspects of your life.

You are not alone taking part in a theatre group or course. Plenty of other people have similar thoughts and feelings about being a part of theatre. You would be surprised how many people that you meet on a day to day basis that have fears about participating in class and speaking in front of others. Theatre is a community.

When on a common path or goal it is easier to make connections with the people within this experience. Often those connections can carry over outside the theatre group. In college your friendships and shared sense of community is an important part of the college experience and can enrich your time at college. It makes college much easier when you have a community to depend on.

These are some of the above reasons why I registered for a theatre course here at UMW. I felt that theatre would teach me to cope with being forced to think outside the box.  This will be a completely new experience for me but trying new experiences is what makes college exciting. Theatre class will push me in ways that other classes might not since it has a more hands-on approach. Trying new creative outlets can bring out a different side of you.  Act up, sing and express yourself in doing this you might find a new improved you.

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