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Life > Experiences

How Theatre Helped Me Break Out of my Shell

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

When I started high school, I was extremely shy and introverted. I didn’t know how to break out of my shell, and even if I wanted to, I had no idea where to start.

I originally intended on majoring in theatre which ironically, sounds pretty insane based on the fact that I just said I was a hermit. Well, when I walked into the classroom, one of the first things my teacher made us do was count to the number 20. Now, that sounds easy, but there were many rules we had to follow. First off, no one could say a number at the same time, each person was required to say at least one number, no person could say two numbers in a row, there couldn’t be a system or strategy in who said the numbers (meaning we couldn’t have a plan, an order or a signal to indicate who was to recite a number) and that if we broke any of those rules we were required to start over. When you are in a room with about fifteen strangers, it’s a bit awkward. The worst feeling in the world is being the reason the group has to start over. Trust me. I know. We spent three days trying to complete the task.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I mentioned that story to you. Well, when I reflect on those three days of class, I barely spoke. I didn’t know how to get involved or how to not get embarrassed when I talked. Most of the time I was so nervous that I couldn’t find the words to speak. My teacher noticed that about me which made her determined to help me break out of my shell.

Throughout the semester, we did many scenes, monologues and improv. I spent most of the time being shy and not willing to take any risks. Almost every time, my teacher gave me the note of needing to let go of my fear. I really struggled with the fear of messing up. She always told me to just go for it and that I couldn’t force it to happen. I would always listen and try to do what she said, but I never wanted to leave my comfort zone.

I wouldn’t say that I ended that semester on a note where I changed and I became the star, because that simply didn’t happen. It took me the next three years to finally figure out how to become the person I had so desperately wanted to be my freshman year. Though, it was my sophomore year that gave me the courage to finally drop the cape that I had used for so long to cover myself up.

My Advanced Theatre Studio class was preparing to perform two monologues that were in contrast to each other. Both of the monologues required us to think of a different person that we could speak to while reciting them. During those days of preparation, we each went up in the middle of the circle to talk about one of the people we chose and then practiced imaging them while we performed. I remember how most people went up there and were extremely vulnerable because of the people that they chose to speak about. Some of us cried, became angry or even felt indifferent about the person. Each one of us experienced something so different from each other, yet there was a piece of every person’s story we could relate to. When it was my turn, I wasn’t sure how to feel. I’d never spoken openly before in front of a group where I had no idea how I would feel while talking. Though I was afraid, I faced that fear. I’m so happy I did. It made me realize that sometimes we have to go up and make mistakes before we can get it perfect. After that day, I volunteered more often and told myself to stop holding back.

Taking theatre helped me find my voice in other classes as well. It made me determined and I spoke out for what I believed in. I was able to make friends and I even ended up applying for different leadership positions in theatre. I had the support of my teachers and classmates that guided me and supported me with whatever I did. I never imaged that theatre would help, but it did.

Kaia Wolfe

Bradley U '25

Hello, my name is Kaia Wolfe! I'm currently a second year and majoring in Special Education at Bradley University. This is my second year at Her Campus and I'm extremely excited to be writing for them. In my free time, I enjoy reading outside or in the library. I love going to coffee shops and trying out new foods or drinks. I did theatre for most of high school, including being the actress, directing my own one act, lights, sound, and I even worked with costumes a tad. For me, writing allows me to be expressive and as creative as I want. It's one of my favorite hobbies and I'm so glad to be able to share my pieces with you!