Going into high school, I hardly had any concept of theatrics and was a remarkably quiet and timid person, to the point where a good majority of the people around me had no clue who I was -- and with how averse to social activity I was, I preferred things that way. Going into my freshman year, I signed up for Theatre class because I had taken a similar mandatory class in middle school, and being that the prospect of transitioning to high school incited a deep and profound terror in me, I was craving a bit of familiarity in my daily schedule. And so, I took the class for a semester, and then signed up for another semester, and now, a couple years later, I'm on my 5th semester of the class and have four shows under my belt with no intention of breaking that pattern.
Theatre has become a huge part of my life, and I think it is an excellent way for high school students, regardless of their grade or social status, to build relationships with a wider variety of people and manifest their creativity through being on stage.
I would say that the greatest effect my participation in theatre has had on me is an overwhelming increase in confidence. As previously stated, I was quiet and highly nervous around the vast majority of people, and three years later, I can be proud of how I've developed as a person, and I can say with confidence that my time on the stage has played a principal part in that development. Confidence is built through experience, and as far as I'm concerned, there is no experience that builds character like making a mistake on stage in front of hundreds of people. Conversely, I've felt no joy equivalent to the rush that I get when I'm performing well on stage and entertaining the audience to the best of my ability. The combination of experiencing these two opposites has humbled me and made my confidence significantly sturdier, and consequently I feel indescribably more secure as a person.
In regards to the sense of community that students tend to search for, I genuinely couldn't think of a sense of unity stronger than that which is created when a cast and crew spend several hours every night after school throwing their hard work and talent at a show so that the performance can be the absolute best it can be. The community that comes to be in the process of putting a show together is something I find to be truly unique, and it has caused me to branch out and become more social than I could have ever expected to be as a former unconfident, corner-dwelling freshman.
My experience with theatre has also given me a more in-depth knowledge of the kind of person I am and the things that interest me. After being in my first ever musical, I was encouraged to audition for Canterbury's Chamber Choir, and that has caused me to develop an ambition for singing that has quickly become one of my primary focuses in life, and is something I might even consider as a future career. I find this to be exemplary of how theatre can not only be a great experience in its own right, but also a means to gain a better understanding of one's own strengths and interests.
I honestly believe that theatre has been the greatest influence on my character in high school, and I'm ecstatic with all the possibilities it has presented me with, and I cannot stress how necessary it is for students to find something similar that intrigues them or fuels their creativity. I believe there is nothing more valuable than having an idea of what you want in life, especially for high school students, whose adulthoods are approaching with college on the horizon, and theatre has proven to be a great way for me to get a better idea of my own character in preparation for college.
I've been unspeakably fortunate to have found the hobby that sparks my creativity, and I cannot express how crucial it is for any high schooler, regardless of grade level, to devote as much time as possible to exploring new interests and hobbies before college. I truly believe that finding a passion to be devoted to is one of the most important facets of life, and a hobby like theatre is always a good place to start.