Woohoo! You’ve made it to your first year of acting. Now that you’ve made it to college for theatre, what’s next? The transition from high school to college theatre is made in your first acting class- THEA 113. This class can be a challenge for some who have not been exposed to theatre outside of high school. Below are a few tips to help you get through your first semester of acting.

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1. Be Open

In your first year of acting, you will be introduced to many different warm ups and activities that may seem weird to you. It is important to be open to any of the exercises your professor asks you to do. In order for the exercise to be effective, you will need to give it your all. You will find that you end up getting more out of it giving 100% than you would at 50%.

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2. Be Active

Your acting classes will be small at VCU, so you will need to get to know your classmates. Don’t be afraid to speak in class. You are going to need to be an active participant during class to be able to get anything out of the class. Being an active participant will also help you become more known to your classmates, building your relationship with them.

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3. Homework

In acting, your homework is a lot different than your other general education classes. Your homework is going home and scoring your script, reading handouts written by theatre theorists, and reading plays. It is imperative to do your homework, or else you will not perform well. Being an actor means studying and marking your script. It also mean reading pieces of theatre regularly.

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4. Invest in Blacks

You will need to buy a lot of black clothing. In every acting class,  students were all black clothes and shoes. This is to neutralize the room. By wearing all black, everyone is put on the same playing field; your attention is not drawn to only one person.

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5. Be Vulnerable

In order to tap into your emotions during a scene, you’re going to need to let yourself be vulnerable. Letting down your walls can seem daunting, but it is a necessity for the class to move forward. You’ll find within the first few weeks of working that unless you let your guard down, you won’t get anywhere in your scene. When you step into your THEA 113 class, be prepared to take off your everyday mask and really be yourself.

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6. Be accepting of criticism

Every single class period, your acting will be criticized. Welcome this criticism! When being criticized, remember that your professor or peer is trying to help you. Those assessing you aren’t doing so to be mean, only to help you grow as an actor. It is hard at first to go through such scrutiny, but after a few classes it becomes normal.

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Learning to let down your walls and accept criticism is a hard thing to do, so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen right away. THEA 113 is an introductory course to acting, so you’re supposed to be a beginner and not know how to do it yet. Throughout the semester you will find these tips easier and easier to accomplish.


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Anna Houtz


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