What skills does a performer need to succeed?

If you see yourself as a bit of an entertainer, a career as a performer could be exactly the right path for you to follow. Maybe you’re a bit of a Michael Flatley-type, maybe you can belt out a tune like Susan Boyle, maybe you can deliver a Shakespearean soliloquy like Sir Derek Jacobi, maybe you can bust some seriously innovative dance moves, or maybe you can contort your body through a tennis racquet… Whatever your talent, there is certainly a place on the stage for you.

Becoming a performer…

Regardless of the profession you pursue, you’ll need to have confidence, enthusiasm and dedication by the bucket-load. Self-discipline is also essential, as you’ll have to put in some serious hours. If you want to reach the top as a performer and truly perfect your art, you’re going to have to put in hours, days, months and years of practice.

If you want to pursue a career in performing arts, you can do pretty much anything worth performing in front of an audience –  you can dance or act, become a mime artist or circus performer, or even set your sights on becoming the next Paul Daniels and get into magic.

How do I begin a career as a performer?

If you have your sights set on becoming a performer, you could start by checking out a performing arts course. This is a pretty brilliant way of getting a detailed and comprehensive insight into the industry. You learn all about the ins and outs of what goes on behind the scenes and what will be expected of you. You’ll also get the chance to refine your performance skills, develop your own style and cultivate your talent until you are ready to become a superstar.

You don’t have to take a course though. You can go certainly go it alone! If you’ve got the talent, you can make it. It’s going to be tough, though. You need to be proactive. You should attend auditions, put on your own performances and promote yourself using the internet.

It’s a good idea to build up a network of contacts too. Try to meet people, show your face all over the place and send off your CV, portfolio or demo tape to everyone you can think of. You need to try and create a buzz around yourself. There’s no point in sitting back and waiting for someone to discover you! You’ve got to make things happen!

To get your foot in the door, you have to be talented and professional. It’s tough getting up in front of people and entertaining them, so you’ll have to be well prepared. You can do this by gaining more and more experience of performance. Confidence is key!

It can be a good idea to exchange ideas with performers at a similar level to you. You can do this through group workshops or you can even forge partnerships with other performers. Why not collaborate with someone else and start a double act? After all, two heads are better than one. You might even pick up some new techniques to enhance your stage presence or other tricks to help you cope with nerves and stage fright.

How do performers earn a living?

Funding yourself as you try to ‘make it’ can be pretty hard going. Many performers get day jobs to help them pay the bills, whilst also applying for funding from organisations and arts councils.

You’ve got to be proactive. You’ve got to make things happen. Consider trying to bag yourself a talent agent. This will boost your chances of getting work. Get your name out there in as many ways as possible! Be cheeky. Be confident and network your socks off! It’s all about getting that first breakthrough, after that your career could begin to snowball. If you’ve got the talent, you could have a long, fruitful and incredibly exciting career.

If you’ve got mega Riverdance skills, or you can juggle chainsaws while breathing fire and riding a unicycle (if this is the case, please send AAC a video), or you’re just a stand-up guy, then it’s time to get out there. This is the first stage in getting the amazing (and/or bizarre) career in performance you deserve!

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