5 Activities for Easing Stage Fright

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

February 14, 2017

Every actor has been there: sweaty palms, nervous pacing, stomach aches, line flubs, the shakes. STAGE FRIGHT. It’s a thing, but it’s not a thing that can’t be overcome. After receiving a lot of requests about how to handle this age-old actor’s problem, we decided to do a three-part series on what stage fright is and how to manage it. To start, here are 5 immediate ways to banish stage fright from your performance routine.

1. Avoid caffeine.

This means all day! Instead of waking up and having a cup of coffee (or ordering that double shot cappuccino to get you through the night’s performance), brew some decaf chamomile or lavender herbal tea with honey and lemon. This will calm your nerves and soothe your throat at the same time.

2. Exercise.

Whatever your favorite method of getting active is, do it! Yoga, running, walking, lifting weights, or shooting some hoops will ease tension in your muscles and release endorphins. Exercise for at least 30 minutes the day of your show, and your body and mind will be more prepared to work later on.

3. Meditate.

On the day of your performance, take 15-20 minutes and devote your time to meditation. Meditation helps relax your body and clear your mind of nagging thoughts — including the ones that plague actors like, “What if I forget my line?” or “What side do I enter from?” Whether your meditation includes sitting in silence while focusing on breathing or enjoying a guided meditation, find your personal style of meditation and use it to get yourself centered. (There are some great meditations on Spotify and YouTube.)

4. Get there early.

Sometimes, the frustration from thinking we won’t have enough time to prepare or arriving late will cause feelings of stage fright. To combat this, get to the theatre 30 or 45 minutes early. This gives you time to meditate, drink some tea, or listen to music. Giving yourself more time for you is always a good idea.

5. Set a time to turn “off” your anxiety.

Because stage fright is a mental obstacle, use your mental faculties to counteract your stage fright. Set a time during the day when your anxiety will no longer be allowed to rule your brain. Anytime after 2PM, 4PM, or 6PM, whichever suits you best, tell your feelings of stage fright to “get lost”; they must wait until you’re offstage for the night. Doing this will allow you to get all the jitters out before the specified time, and it’ll let you focus on getting ready for the show without the cumbersome fears of stage fright.

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.