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Things I KNOW I’ve Been Told in Theatre School

April 30, 2013

I’m sure everyone has seen this blog post already (and they need too). It’s full of good things that I appreciate right now. As the Crazy Theatre Artist reminded me, #7! “Developing and producing your own work is the single MOST important thing you can do after you graduate.” Also, #10: “When people said you would be poor thanks to your brilliant career choice, what they really meant was “completely fucking destitute.” And that’s okay.” I suppose at least I’m prepared for that one already.

But the thing that Callam Royda missed was what you do learn in theatre school; and that’s why I am here, to share my theatre major experiences.


  • Make yourself work. You are your greatest tool; know what it can do. Be one thing that makes you absolutely unique. And put that down as your special skills. Get it to work for you and then work on getting paid for doing “it”.
  • Be smart. Learn about everything you can. Read the newspaper. Live outside the classroom.
  • Be the Fool, live out there on the edge. Even if it’s you standing on the edge of a chair right before you fall off it. Reading tarot cards is PROOF of this very good advice I was given.
  • In college, you know who you are”. When I graduated high school, I was mess; a nervous wreck who needed a new environment. Coming up on three years later, thanks to my acting classes and having crossed paths here with some of the wisest people I’ve ever met, I just understand who I am and I’m starting to see where I might go from here even if I’m not ready to look that far ahead yet. Also, observation WITHOUT judgment. I am a flawed human being and yes, some of those flaws are being smoothed out and others I’m okay with having out on display.
  • Always ask. Don’t settle for uncertainty. Ask for a “yes”. You’d be surprised how often you’ll get it.
  • Speaking up is possibly the most important thing you can do (I’m not talking about projection).
  • “If you’re going to wear the hat, you gotta work it.”
  • Four years of college? Now is the time to do everything and anything. College is time to play in the sandbox. “No regrets!”
  • Do all kinds of art. Poetry, interpretive dance, flash mobs, henna, site-specific nature sculptures…
  • Sometimes, the student can teach you more than the teacher.
  • It’s okay to run away for a day. Me personally, I like to go to the bay and watch the water keep coming back to me. Throw rocks for a while.
  • Do what scares you. Includes needles, heights, fight scenes, nudity, anything involving emotional intimacy and absolute trust, being blindfolded, taking contact hits, falling, handling tools that are liable to take off your fingers, handling responsibility and singing.
  • “Say hi to a stranger; you never know whose life you will change.”
  • The primary colors are NOT red, yellow and blue. The world is made up in lights of red, blue and green. Sometimes, you learn you were wrong about how the world works.
  • “I am a work in progress”.
  • Twitter is possibly the greatest technological advance humanity has made since the written word. Use it.
  • Targeting and intensity is everything (I need to work on) in stage combat. That also goes for everything else in life.
  • You are always auditioning. And learning and growing. And you should ALWAYS be doing.
  • What to do when you have to take down that fourth wall. Being put on the spot like that.
  • Do more than just act. Acting is all about portraying life—you got to live first.
  • Creating your own work is the best you can possibly do.
  • Go. Travel. Graduate. Leave this place behind. Go on. Go alone. Get the hell out of here. Look. Explore. Leave the professors and start looking for your own answers. Search. Quest.

AND some things I have yet to learn:

  • How to center. Seriously. I get called out on this is in ballet, combat, acting…what is this nonsense and how do I do it? Does Pilates really help? What can I do to ground myself and find my core?
  • Be more of what I am and being what I am not. How to be comfortable outside the comfort zone. Being okay with being a contradiction.
  • How to fight with Rapier and Dagger. Yes at the same time. Yes with two weapons. Before I graduate, I’ll have studied unarmed, small sword, quarterstaff and next semester’s broadsword. I want to add Rapier and Dagger to that list.

So that’s that. College is passing faster than I’d like. This semester is already half-way done and so much goes on that I don’t feel four years are enough. That’s why I blog, to remind myself where I’ve gotten so far.

College Sig

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2013 9:28 am

    1. Love this!
    2. Love being mentioned at the top (made my morning)! 🙂
    3. It helped me get centered when I did yoga. It’s still a little tricky for me too, but if you have access to a Nintendo Wii with the Wii Fit, it helps train you on how to balance your center (I also realize the odds of having access to one is slim to none, but just in case).

    • The College Theatre Dork permalink
      April 30, 2013 1:41 pm


      I don’t have a Wii but yoga might be something to look into. I’m hoping to take pilates in the fall still but I actually started working with an exercise ball and I’m already feeling the difference – we’ll see where that takes me!

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