*Insert cringy photo here on when I thought I was the best thing to ever happen to my high school*
On a real note, it is crucial to be part of something real in the dark depths that are high school. For me, theatre was as close to “real”, as I got, despite the superficial divas. I believe theatre is the way to go for various reasons, but I’ll keep it short.
It humbles you.
Being cast as “Whore Number 1” (in my case of Les Miserables) brings you right down off of your high horse. Going into music theatre, lots of high school students believe they are God’s gift to the music industry, but going through the audition process quickly snatches that mentality out of you. Casting results teaches you to wait your turn, and give yourself credit where credit is due. You are expected to take criticism lightly, with a grain of salt. It makes you proud to be part of something, regardless of your placement in the program.
It teaches you hard work.
I’ve personally never put as much effort into something like I did in high school theatre. Although physically draining, it is well worth it. My eighteen-year-old self felt no greater joy than seeing something I worked hard for in first period Music Theatre pay off. 7am call times are no joke, so you better get caffeinated because chances are you will be there until at least 7pm.
…And team work
Remember that time “so and so” dropped their lines and risked embarrassment in front of the entire student body? But, someone else saw them suffering like road kill and jumped in to grab their line from them? This happens all too often in the business of high school theatre. A musical or play only runs smoothly if everyone has each other’s backs. I mean, there is always going to be drama. It is theatre after all. But the point is, you have each other’s backs no matter what. You are a team.
You find like-minded people.
I have always loved theatre, ever since Mum took me to see Grease in the 5th grade. It was my hidden guilty pleasure for a long time. Then, you find people in theatre that know all the words to obscure musicals such as Avenue Q or Next to Normal, and it feels like home. I fit right in with the self-proclaimed theatre nerds, and it was a beautiful thing.
It has lasting effects, unlike any Football Team.
The lovely thing about this atmosphere is taking these skills to enhance your life for years to come. Theatre kids were the first people to show me love and acceptance, and I believe it is something everyone deserves to partake in. Everyone’s fifteen minutes of high school fame will resonate with them forever, as they bask in the good moments of post-secondary.
For me, it was always much more than putting on a show. Instead, it is the resilience that are behind the songs, the message they emulate. The content of the musicals often inspire and teach more than we give them credit.