All I Know I Know from Theatre: 6 Lessons Learned from Theatre

Hi, firstly, please tell me someone understood the reference that I used in the title? Secondly, theatre has shaped my life in so many ways and it has taught me so many lessons that have changed my outlook on life so I thought I’d share some of these things with you.

“It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap”(Wicked)
There are times in life, when a thousand things  and all the voices in your head are yelling at you to stop and reconsider what you want to do but your gut is saying yes. Sometimes, your gut knows better than your head. Listen to it. It’s okay to go after what you really want and you should go after what you really want. It might not always be logical or rational but sometimes there are things that are worth taking a risk for.

“I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable. I am an original.” (Hamilton)
There are lots of things in life you can’t control – the weather, your exam schedule, traffic, what other people think of you etc. but you can control your actions and your thoughts. You can control where you go and how you get there. There is only one you in the world – you are unique and special and have so much to offer the world. No one has the same talents as you and you are in control to use your individual, unique, special skills and talents to chase your dreams and bring light, joy, and love into your life.

“Just because you find that life’s not fair it doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.” (Matilda)
You don’t have to put up with people who treat you like shit. Get rid of them! You don’t need that person in your life no matter how important they were to you at one point . You don’t have to put up with shitty situations (most of the time). If there’s something you don’t want to do then don’t do it. There are are thousands of other paths that will get you to the same destination, so choose the one that will make you the least miserable. If you don’t like where you are in your life, it’s never too late to change your path or your destination or even your support system who will be with you along the way.

“Now is the time to seize the day” (Newsies)
Now there’s a line like this in so many musicals – “No day but today” from Rent, “I’m not throwing away my shot” from Hamilton, etc. but I chose to quote Newsies since Newsies is one of my favourite shows. Making the most of every day  is so important because tomorrow isn’t promised. Say yes to things that you want to do and say no to things that you don’t want to do. But what’s really important is that you don’t say no to potentially great opportunities; seize the great opportunities that are presented to you and don’t let them pass you by.

“Just be who you wanna be, never let ’em tell you who you oughta be” (Kinky Boots)
This is so so important, especially in this day and age. Kinky Boots is such a fun musical that spreads the message of love and acceptance. In your life, friends, family, society, will try and tell you who you should be to “fit in.” Screw societal norms – if you are happy and you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else, you do you. Your gender, race, sexuality, religion, don’t matter as long as you love yourself and you are under no obligation to be the person that people expect you to be!

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise”(Les Miserables)
As someone who has a history of mental illness, this is probably the most important lesson that musical theatre has taught me. Everyone has their bad days, bad weeks, and yes, even bad months (but I hope you never have to experience this). It might seem bad at the time but the world can’t stay a sad, hopeless, horrible place forever, it’s just not possible. Things will get better. It might take time but they will. Just remember to take care of yourself and if today’s not your day, maybe tomorrow will be.



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