What Being a Theater Kid Taught Me About Life

When I tell people I used to be (and honestly still am) a theater kid, I’m often greeted with pity smiles and judgmental glances. With theater, comes the reputation of being loud, over-dramatic, and overly willing to share personal experiences, especially through song. It’s hard to understand the beauty that is theater without experiencing it firsthand. I wouldn’t trade my time on the stage for anything in the world and I’m convinced it played a huge role (no pun intended) in making me the young woman I am today. Here are some of the life lessons I learned from being a theater kid.

Empathy

Playing a role completely different from who you are in real life forces you to develop empathy for those that aren’t like you. In theater, every time you’re given a new part, you’re given an opportunity to not only learn more about yourself but learn more about the people in your life. I can say without a doubt that the empathy I learned through different shows has helped me immensely with my patients in nursing school as well as in life in general.

How to Fail

Failure is never easy for anyone and when you’re a theater kid, you learn the importance of failure pretty early on. Regardless of the hours of prep on 16 bar cuts and 1-minute monologues, at some point, you won’t get the role you were hoping for. While this may sting at first, it helps you develop a sense of respect for failure. I am grateful for all the parts I didn’t get because they forced me to develop resilience.

Problem Solving

In live theater, eventually, something isn’t going to go as planned. People get sick. Props break. Lines are forgotten. You learn quickly as a theater kid how to problem solve and think on your feet. You learn how to keep calm in a crisis and quickly find a solution to a problem.

Public Speaking Skills

Fear of public speaking? Can’t relate. When you’re forced to confront your inner emotions, every day, in front of your peers, you develop confidence that stays with you through any situation that may require you to speak in front of others.

Maintaining friendships

When you’re a theater kid, you often make friends with people from all different walks of life. They may not go to your school or even be close to your age, but theater friends are like no other. Being in theater taught me how to maintain friendships that aren’t as convenient as your friends from school.

 

So, the next time you hear someone tell you they’re a theater kid, take a minute to stop and ask them about their experiences, you might just learn something.

Thank you to all my theater teachers, mentors, and friends who played a part in making me who I am today. I am forever grateful for the lessons you have taught and continue to teach me. To the theater kids –don’t stop pushing limits! You’ll be surprised at how much it will benefit you in the long run.