Self-Confidence and the Actor's Inner Voice

The way we talk to ourselves has a big impact on our acting abilities. Self-talk is the name given to the internal dialogue we constantly have with ourselves. When our inner voice is negative, it increases pressure and potential for failure. As actors our inner voices greatly influence our performances.

If our self-talk is damaging and turns into a permanent critic, it will constantly impede our progress. However by increasing concentration we can calm the inner voice down. Yoga, meditation or simple breathing and visualising exercises will quickly show great results. The secret is to incorporate these practices in your daily life so they become part of your being.

Once a state of calm can be reached and maintain periodically, it is time to invite positive thoughts about yourself and your acting capabilities. To start with, remembering big or small achievements on stage or in the rehearsal room, perhaps a drama teacher’s praise or a friend’s encouraging words may inspire you to find your own reasons to feel confident in yourself as an actor.

Little by little you will notice changes. Firstly, less stress will make your enjoy much more the performing experience. Then, this new confidence will allow you to step into new territories and therefore develop your drama skills: you'll become a better actor. With repeated effort and increased awareness the inner voice will become gentle and will provide support and motivation when faced with the next obstacle.

Creative visualization and mental rehearsal for actors

Creative visualization is the cognitive process of generating mental imagery, with eyes open or closed, simulating or recreating visual perception in order to maintain, inspect, and transform those images and consequently modifying their associated emotions and feelings with intent to experience a subsequent beneficial effect, alleviating anxiety, improving self-esteem and self-confidence, and enhancing the capacity to cope when interacting with others.

For actors, mental rehearsal can make a big impact on performance. Research shows that mentally rehearsing scenes, monologues or auditions in your head is almost as effective as actual rehearsal. The explanation is that the same neural pathways are activated by mental rehearsal as actual rehearsal.

So how should you mentally rehearse? First, relax, find somewhere comfortable and quiet and breathe deeply. In through the nose, then hold and out through the mouth.  Second, imagine in vivid details of sound, movement, feelings and visualisation, whatever you want to practise. Third, imagine it from beginning to end, including a successful conclusion. Fourth, repeat regularly. Mental rehearsal is a technique that athletes, musicians, doctors, soldiers, and even astronauts use to prepare for the worst and perform at their best. 

Playing On Theatre Company Hearing Things

Playing On Theatre company presents a moving and provocative drama that opens a window to the closed world of psychiatry. Hearing Things, by Philip Osment, explores the blurred lines between perceptions of mental illness in society and the many different realities from the point of view of patients, relatives and staff.

This event is part of the new season opening at the Wellcome Collection in September: Medicine, What Now? The program includes many events centre around a major free exhibition, Bedlam: the asylum and beyond. The exhibition traces the rise and fall of the mental asylum by following the story of one such institution, Bethel Royal Hospital in London, know in popular slang as Bedlam.

The display focuses on the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of individuals who inhabited the asylum or created alternative to it - their voices have shaped the meaning of mental illness and the current landscape of mental healthcare. Bedlam juxtaposes historical material and medical records with individual testimonies and works by artists such as David Beales, Richard Dadd, Dora Garcia, whose works reflect or reimagine the institution, as both a physical and a virtual space.

Another event of interest for actors will be run by Siobhan Davies Dance: Moving Conversation. Choreographers and scientists explore the connection between mind, body and feeling, through performance and discussion, as part of research for a new work by Siobhan Davies Dance.

Actors Need To Tour ‘To Keep Theatre Alive’

It is important that actors of all abilities, whether they have just graduated from a London acting school or are well established in their field, travel around the country with their production company to keep the popularity of theatre alive.

This is the opinion of Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage, who said touring is vital to the industry.

“You don’t see younger stars touring the UK any more. It simply doesn’t happen. This is a problem for regional theatre and for drama audiences,” he stated.

The writer noted that the lack of willingness from actors to commit to travelling around the country is causing a huge problem, as touring will “ensure that the theatre industry continues to develop current and future audiences across the country”.

One travelling production that is sure to be a hit with theatre enthusiasts all over the UK is No Man’s Land, featuring Hollywood stars Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart.

The play was originally performed in 1975 and returns to the Wyndham’s Theatre in London after 41 years. It will run at the West End playhouse for 14 weeks from September 8th after going around the country beforehand.

Audiences in Sheffield will be the first to see the production when it opens on August 3rd at the Lyceum Theatre. After this, it will go to Newcastle, Brighton and Cardiff.

With such famous stars on its bill, you might forgive No Man’s Land for not touring the country, as it could easily pull in the crowds by staying in the West End alone.

However, Mr Smith notes McKellen and Stewart are such veteran actors that their generation will be used to touring with theatre shows, as this was the norm with theatre shows in years gone by.

350 Actors To Showcase Regional Theatre In BAC Festival

More than 350 performers who have tirelessly taken acting classes in London to hone their skills will take part in a festival pioneered by Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) to showcase the talents of regional theatre.

A Nation’s Theatre will launch on March 29th and continue for two months, with production companies across the capital joining forces to reveal their most gifted stars and celebrate the skills and ideas of smaller theatre companies around the country.

Some 17 venues will be involved in the event, including Leicester’s Curve, Norwich Puppet Theatre, Camden People’s Theatre, and the Young Vic.

Speaking to The Stage, Curve associate director Suba Das said there is still suspicion when it comes to regional theatre, with many people thinking it means ”amateur, ‘on the cheap’, ‘half-done’”.

However, artistic director for BAC David Jubb told the news provider the “best” theatre is frequently created outside of London, despite what people think.

“As a group of theatres and artists, we thought it would be fun to reverse the stream: to encourage more partnerships between those based in London and those around the UK, as well as shine a light on where this already happens,” Mr Jubb was reported as saying.

More than 60 shows will take place during the two-month festival to encourage more celebration and enthusiasm about regional acting.

 Theatre companies in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the East Midlands, the north-west, the south-west, the north-east, East Anglia, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and London are taking part in A Nation’s Theatre.

Andie MacDowell: Self-Confidence Is The Greatest Gift

Teaching your children self-belief and self-confidence is the greatest gift you can give them, according to Hollywood A-lister Andie MacDowell.

In a Daily Mail piece, the actress said that when she was 20 she struggled to find work as a model and her self-belief took a hit, with her acting dreams seeming a very long way off at that time. Her confidence hit an all-time low after she landed an acting job but someone else's voice was dubbed over hers in post-production.

"Faced with rejection, you have two options: believe you're no good and give up or prove yourself. I chose the latter ... It's easy for young women to feel disempowered and worry they aren't good enough. I never wanted my girls, or my son, to ever feel like that," she wrote.

If you're concerned that your children are lacking in self-confidence or self-belief, why not sign them up for a few acting lessons at a drama school in London. After only a few classes, your youngsters will really come out of their shells and any nerves will have completely disappeared. There's nothing quite like getting up on stage and acting the part of someone else to really give you a boost in confidence, after all.

To find out more about how children could benefit from taking acting lessons, get in touch with us at City Acting. We'll be able to advise you on the best classes for your child to take and have a range of different workshops that are sure to suit.

Why You Shouldn't Mumble Dialogue

It seems that some of the cast of BBC drama Happy Valley could have done with attending the best workshop in communication skills London has to offer after the series has attracted complaints over not just the quality of the sound in the series, but also mumbled dialogue as well.

The show, which airs on Tuesdays, was described as inaudible by some Twitter users who had their hands glued to their volume button, trying to get the right combination between the dialogue they could hear and background sounds and music that didn’t explode their eardrums.

Despite its name, Happy Valley is a gritty crime drama, and often issues with dialogue clarity come up when actors are trying to make a scene as realistic and full of emotion as possible. In real life, of course, not everyone speaks with perfect diction and annunciation all of the time.

While channelling reality is a great skill, when it comes to dialogue, we love this quote from perpetual TV watcher Scarlet Moffatt from Gogglebox. Though she was talking about the lighting in another BBC series, Wolf Hall, the point stands: “I know it’s like pretending to be olden days, but for the purposes of actually being able to see what’s going on?”

Of course, actors for TV and film are creating something to be watched and entertain the nation, and while gritty reality might sound like a surefire way to make an actor the critic’s sweetheart, no one will much be feeling the love for a performance if they have no idea what’s going on.

Improve Your Communication Skills With Acting Classes

The start of the new year is the perfect time to work on your self-improvement and if you think you need a confidence boost, it might be worth taking London classes in communication skills as part of drama workshops.

Don't feel bad if your interpersonal communication skills are perhaps not as strong as you'd like - not everyone is a natural born communicator, but you'll be pleased to hear that these are skills you can acquire if you're willing to put the work in.

Deciding to take an acting course is one brilliant - and fun - way of giving yourself a confidence overhaul quickly and easily. By communicating on stage as you take on the character of someone else and by being appreciated by an audience as you perform, you'll find yourself growing in confidence in next to no time.

So perhaps the next time you know you've got a big presentation coming up or you've been asked to do some public speaking, why not book yourself on a few acting classes in London to see if they can make you feel more at ease about getting up and speaking in front of others?

If you don't feel up to taking an acting course or workshop just yet, consider using a Dictaphone and recording yourself so you can find out more about your tone of voice, confidence and what you think makes you communicate well or badly. By identifying weak areas, you'll be able to work on them immediately. You might be surprised at how quickly you see results!