Life lessons from theatre school


There was a time I thought I was going to be the next Dustin Hoffman or Laurence Olivier. I wanted so bad to be an actor who was so talented that he could pick and choose the films/roles he was in.

Well, my father gathered information on two schools that offered theatre as post-secondary courses. He told me to go and audition, so I did. One school, Studio 58, said no; the other, Grant MacEwan, said yes.

One of the first things I learned was that there were lots of other people my age who wanted to be actors. Some were good at singing, some at monologues, some at dancing, but no one really stood out at all three. That didn’t bother me – I wanted to focus on singing and acting.

I completed the first year of studies with no real friends from the program and no real desire to return to theatre. I learned that, while you can most definitely choose which productions you audition for, you can’t choose who is directing the show / casting the show / putting on the show. And financially speaking, no, people definitely don’t do theatre for the money. There were lots of 30-somethings and 40-somethings who were drifting from show to show without really becoming more famous / well-known.

One of the things I’ve realized since school is that there are lots of people who are willing to help you become better, but they’ve got to make a living too, so they teach you for money. Sometimes those teachers just don’t want to be there – it’s a steady paycheck.

The most important thing I learned from theatre school was that I didn’t want to be an actor. I enjoyed it, but not enough to jump from job to job, production to production, hoping to be seen by someone and make it big time. However, that is the way the game is played, and it’s probably why most of us are blogging now. Gotta be good at something…

photo credit: Fergal Mac Eoinin via photopin cc


An entertainer, composer, blogger and illustrator living in SE Alberta, Canada.

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Posted in Rants
4 comments on “Life lessons from theatre school
  1. broeckerts says:

    “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
    Zig Ziglar, “Secrets of Closing the Sale”, 1984

    And here, Andrew, is the answer to why your success will continue compounding. You are idolized by many hundreds of children- the future generation. You are gifted at entertaining and creating music that we enjoy. But most of all… you offer an attentively listening ear which is what everyone wants.

  2. Andrew Plait says:

    Thanks, broeckerts! Very kind of you to say so.

  3. MomE says:

    I see no reason that you should give up on the Olivier/Hoffman idea. You are very gifted on stage, it is another of your areas of excellence. You will be ready when the doors open. 😀

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