Even if you’re having all the fun in the world, performance week can be grueling for students and leadership alike. If you, your actors, or your tech team are feeling the symptoms of burnout before the rise of the first curtain, On The Stage has some tips to keep you energized.
Most great theatre programs have rituals they enact before the show. Whether you’re superstitious or just want your students to feel connected and engaged before performance time, implement rituals into your warm-up plan.
Some ideas include:
- Mantras to repeat with positive affirmations
- A specific song or dance to do in a circle before showtime
- A minute of silence or meditation to calm the nervous system
- Something special and collaborative that the group comes up with together
Whatever you choose, remember that rituals will make the group feel like they’re part of something truly special.
Just as rituals keep students engaged and excited about theatre programming, pre-show warm-ups can set the tone for a great show.
A few ideas for warm-ups include:
- Vocals – Whether it’s funny or complicated diction warm-ups or vocal riffs, it’s crucial to get the voice warmed before going on stage.
- Get loose – Body movement is key. By allowing your body to move and get energized, you’re prepping for success. Try neck rolls, arm movements and the ever-popular ‘shake it out.’ Make sure to include facial movements, too.
- Improv – What better way to relax into a performance mindset than with a bit of improv? Even for the kids who just want to watch, it’s an ideal avenue to keep the mind at ease and performance anxiety at bay.
- Breathing exercises – Much like meditation, breathing can calm the mind (and the racing heart). For those with a bit more time, yoga or pilates is often an ideal choice.
- Games – From circle work to character walks and other fun ways to get into the right mindset, you can keep your group connected through some light-hearted fun.
Setting the Tone with Stress Management
Most students are juggling a variety of other obligations during performance week – from jobs and school work to other extracurricular activities. Ensure as a director or as the adult in charge, you’re keeping the atmosphere as stress-free as possible during performance week.
Keep things positive, even if you’re frustrated. If an actor or techie makes a mistake, assure them it’s not the end of the world. If you find yourself getting overly agitated, there’s no shame in taking a step outside instead of yelling. Remember – as the leader, you set the tone for the day ahead. Make sure to emphasize balance to your students; ensure they’re eating, sleeping and prioritizing themselves during this crazy week.
One of the most pressing issues facing young students today? Mental health challenges. Mental health challenges. From anxiety and depression to drug abuse, students are coping with mental health issues any way they can. Keep students’ anxieties at bay by creating check-ins to ensure they are feeling okay.
Creating an open and honest atmosphere for your students opens the door for dialogue if someone is truly struggling. You are – or should be – your students’ No. 1 ally this week.
Keep It Reasonable
Remember – these students aren’t Broadway actors. Keep your expectations about their time, stress management and abilities in check. At the end of the day, you want these kids to have the best time possible – that’s what’s most important.
If you’re looking for more ways to energize your students and create the best show you can, On The Stage can help with everything from fundraising to marketing materials and audience engagement. Book a demo today.