Confessions of a closeted theatre kid

Being involved with theatre shaped how I see the world

My emotional intelligence comes from theatre.

It’s rare for me to tell people I love theatre. 

Only the people who really know and understand me are privy to my love for the stage—especially because when it does come up in conversation, I’m often hit with the awkward laugh-and-nod combination. Maybe it’s because the phrase “theatre kid” evokes an image of blue hair and loud vocal exercises. 

To me, theatre has always been a safe haven.

While acting, I’m able to step into another person’s skin, feel the catharsis of their emotions, and gain the wisdom and experience of their mistakes. A major aspect of my identity formation has come from characters I’ve witnessed and played—they never really leave you.

Directing has also been an extremely rewarding experience. I’ve had the honour of literally crafting a play world, from sets and costumes to stylized blocking. It taught me leadership and time management, but more than that, directing gave me a beautiful lens through which I now view the world.

Most of my emotional intelligence has come from telling meaningful stories in the theatre world.

The magic of theatre is in its exposed visibility, and I don’t think there’s any other medium of art that binds people together so deeply. It’s a distinctly human experience. Audience members aren’t removed from actors the way they are in movies. You can hear them breathing, feel their energy, and sometimes even see the sweat on their foreheads.

Another aspect of the art form I’m excited by is the constant risk. There’s no backup plan or second take in theatre. When performing, you feel an otherworldly rush of adrenaline knowing there’s nowhere to hide. You’re constantly moving and reacting to fellow actors, and no show is exactly the same.

My favourite kind of theatre uses its exposed visibility to tactfully evoke a visceral response from audience members. I like seeing actors switch into different characters or watching a set be broken apart and pieced back together as the story progresses.

Most importantly, theatre has historically been a form of protest. Playhouses have been banned and dismantled time and time again because the idea of art mirroring and critiquing reality is so terrifying.   

In my first two years at Queen’s, I was able to take theatre history courses that reminded me of how much I loved the artistic and analytical aspects of theatre. Regardless of whether I take another theatre course or act in a show again, I know theatre has made me the bold, artistic, and emotionally intuitive person I am now.

Closeted theatre kids are more prevalent than people might think. I smile every time someone brings up Jeremy O’Harris or Tennessee Williams, knowing we have an unspoken bond—a shared love of theatre.

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