Many actors and other performers experience stage fright. What are some of the feelings and thinking that drive this anxiety?
For some performers, their inexperience can lead to insecurity, but a number of people report these feelings even after establishing themselves for years as accomplished actors, musicians and other artists.
Elisabeth Moss has said: “I don’t like public speaking, and I get a little bit of stage fright. My knees and hands will shake.
“I have this thing where my heart pounds so loud that my mike can pick it up.”
(The photo of Moss is from The Handmaid’s Tale.)
Ann Dowd was quoted in a 2015 New York Times article: “I have stage fright. I suppose every actor has a degree of it. It’s tedious.”
(Ann Dowd co-stars as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale.)
Beyoncé has said, “I get so terrified before I go on stage. My secret is no eye contact.
“I find that if I don’t look directly at people and just concentrate completely on the singing and dance moves then I can get through.”
Emma Roberts has commented: “I have stage fright. I can’t ever do theater because I would pee my pants.
“It’s way too nerve-racking. There’s a comfort in being able to mess up when you’re on a movie set.”
The above two quotes, plus others by celebrities on having stage fright, are included in the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader For Girls Only! by Bathroom Readers’ Institute.
How can anticipations about your performance increase anxiety?
Psychotherapist Mihaela Ivan Holtz works with creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts.
In an article on her site Creative Minds Psychotherapy, she explains some of the inner dynamics of performance anxiety and what to do about relieving stage fright.
When you perform, you walk a fine line between excitement and fear.
In fact, fear and excitement come with similar hormones and bodily responses, like increased adrenaline and heart rate. Both making you ready for action!
The anticipations of the performance can take you on different journeys.
So, when you next perform, what journey will you embark on?
Is it the journey of feeling pure excitement? Is the journey of excitement mixed with fear?
Or, is the journey of fear taking you in a “freeze up” state?
As your automatic or unconscious anticipations get triggered, without your awareness or consent, the journey starts to unfold.
You don’t get to choose your journey unless you are mindful of your emotional responses and their link to automatic or unconscious anticipations.
Let’s explore how you can tune into your anticipations so you can create your own performance journey.
How does your anticipation create anxiety and impact your performance?
The clues are in your feelings, thoughts, and body reactions about the upcoming performance. …
You can tune into your unconscious anticipations and help yourself create your own performance journey.
Read much more in her article:
Performance Anxiety and Unconscious Anticipations
Mastering stress and anxiety – a collection of articles, programs and other resources.