By Adrian Rush.
Drama, or acting, can be a great confidence builder. Why is this? I think because you are challenging yourself and working outside your normal comfort zone. Performing on stage can increase your confidence. So how does it work?
Answering this is not easy. In my own case I can honestly say the process has worked for me. In effect, the actor is putting him/herself on view for their audience. Regardless of what your career is, you are unlikely to have to do work and perform publicly at the same time. By engaging with drama/acting, you are putting yourself in a position that may be uncomfortable and possibly alien. For the newcomer, it is certainly a new situation or circumstance. By believing in yourself (confidence in you) your brain says to you that you can do this. Hence your self confidence develops. This will generally happen in any situation when you have stretched yourself and achieved something new and different.
Confidence emerges from drama because, as I said earlier, you are challenging yourself to do something out of the ordinary, sometimes to be another person entirely. When you succeed, when you achieve your goal, your sense of self deepens and is affirmed.
I have noticed it in myself and in the way I interact with people and can talk to people, I have seen significant changes in some teenagers and adults in my own drama group.
I can see changes in how they talk to their equals and their peers. They are more assured and can hold a good strong conversation. For example, two girls this year had challenging roles in that one aged 15 and the other 13 were asked to play male characters. Previously they had both had small parts and one had taken a three-year break. Last year, the 13–year-old took the lead role. When I first started, the young woman who has now directed two pantomimes was a shy girl playing a drummer boy. No one expected her to go on and direct. The young girl who played the lead role this year started with small dancing and non-speaking parts.
In my view it is simple and logical. By putting yourself in a position where you can either succeed or fail and you then succeed you can say to yourself: “I DID IT”. And people will see a difference in you. Again by challenging yourself and putting yourself in a succeed or fail position you can choose which way you go.
I think choosing drama can make you believe in yourself, give you more self esteem. You are placing yourself on stage for scrutiny by your fellow cast members, production crew and the audience. You know you have made it when you hear them say “well done” or “you did great”. Also the more you engage with drama the more confident and self assured you become. I am certain that my continued involvement continues to make me a stronger and more self-assured person.
Finally, drama has changed me and people I know into stronger more confident people. Nothing breeds success like success. It has given me the confidence to go for extras roles in TV dramas. Over the years I have been able to talk to absolutely anyone. I have and still see changes in myself because every year I get very different parts and I have to adapt and refocus and tell myself that I am good enough to do it.
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