4 Steps to Facing Your Fear of Being Onstage By Yourself

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

June 28, 2017

Being onstage by yourself can be scary if you’ve never done it before. Whether it’s your first time or fifth time performing a solo or monologue…well…solo, there’s a four-step process for getting over those stage fright jitters.

Step 1: Remember to take a deep breath.

Fine, fine, fine, everybody and their mother has told you to breathe, right? Well — it works. When you get nervous, your breathing will either quicken (so you’re not taking in as breath as you should, making you feel dizzy) or cease altogether (cutting off oxygen to your brain which will, uh, make you pass out). Make sure you breathe. This will help you feel more confident and physically capable of walking (and performing) onstage.

Step 2: Remember that the audience wants you to do well.

No one paid $8 to $1,000 (ahem…Hamilton) to throw tomatoes at you. They’re rooting for you. They’re on your team. These are your friends in the audience. And anyone who wants you to do poorly is only jealous that they didn’t get the chance you got. Show your audience (your friends — seriously — they’re your friends) how much you love them by bucking up and knocking that solo or monologue out of the park. So before you walk onstage, remember that the audience wants you to soar.

Step 3: Remember that you’re playing a character, not yourself.

But when you get onstage, remember that you are not you  —  you are your character. Oftentimes, stage fright comes when we’re not totally immersed in our characters. We think, “What are these people I don’t even know going to think of this ridiculous gown I’m wearing?” or “What are the girls sitting third row center going to say when I do that monologue?” These questions indicate that we’re not committed to our characters and that we’re thinking about external circumstances that literally have nothing to do with the story we’re telling. Let go of the audience. Realize they’re just faces who happen to be outside the fourth wall. Your job is to tell the story you’ve been entrusted with.

Step 4: Remember that you’re an actor. And this is your job.

Half of the terror that comes with getting onstage is being embarrassed that you’ll be judged for, well, doing your job. But you’re an actor. You’re a singer. You’re supposed to act. You’re supposed to sing. This. Is. Your. Job. Just like Frodo Baggins was chosen to carry the one ring to Mordor, you were chosen for this mission for a reason. Did anyone else have the guts and the gumption to get up there and do what you’re doing? Look how magnificent you look onstage by yourself. You are powerful. You are fierce. You can bring down the house. You hold the audience in the palm of your hand. Go get ‘em.

Need some advice? We’ve got you covered.

Ashleigh Gardner received her AA in Theatre/Drama/Dramatic Arts from Valencia College and her Bachelors Degree in English Literature and Masters Degree in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies from the University of Central Florida. She is a playwright, an actor, and PerformerStuff.com’s Editor.