6 tips for overcoming stage fright

The stage can be a formidable place for young and seasoned actors alike, as they step out to perform their art in front of a live audience. Anything can happen. We asked members of the Drama Class of 2017 for their best tips to overcome stage fright and prepare to have a successful performance:

Remember to breathe

“I find a useful tip to get over stage fright to be remembering to breathe and remembering that I love what I do. I find that I subconsciously hold my breath when I am nervous, and remembering to breathe takes care of that problem. I also religiously remind myself that I love what I do. I’ve done my homework, we’ve rehearsed, and all I can do now is trust myself and enjoy the moment, because I’m so lucky to be doing this.”

– Kelsey Locke

Do it for yourself

“I’ve noticed when I do the play for myself and not for the audience I feel more relaxed. I insult the audience before I walk on stage to help me stop worrying about what they think. I have nothing but gratitude for the audience afterwards, but while I’m performing they may as well not be there!”

– Matt Foley 

Do it for others

“Remind yourself that the audience is there to support you. I pick one person who is in the audience for each show and choose to do the play for them. Even if I don’t know of someone who I care about coming to the show, I imagine someone. That way, if you do the show for only that person then everyone else’s opinions don’t matter.”

– Emily Weider 

“Screw it!”

“Before I step on stage I always make sure to say this to myself. It reminds me that I am enough and to let go of all the work I’ve done and just let whatever’s going to happen, happen. This always helps get rid of my last-minute jitters and fears.”

– Tij D'oyen 


“Really listening to your acting partners helps take your mind off of the audience and your own performance. I found this particularly helpful in keeping me focused in Man of Mode, when Emily Weider and I had nearly every scene together.”

– Cameron Morton 


“Honestly, the best way I overcame stage fright was just being thrown on a stage so many times whether it be in class, rehearsals or performances. It eventually becomes second nature and thrilling. But that took pretty much my entire four years [at UNCSA] to get there. And even so—nerves still happen—but now we’ve learned how to use them in the performances as opposed to letting them hinder us.”

– Emily Weider


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