How to Relax Before Going On Stage


For many actors, there’s nothing as scary as experiencing the fear of flubbing a line or making a mistake just as you are about to walk on stage. The thought alone can be enough to make a well-prepared performer screw up or freeze in front of an audience. Luckily, there are some simple relaxation techniques that soothe even the most savage case of stage fright.

  • Arrive for your entrance a few minutes early and wait in the wings. Absorb the sounds, lights and sensations of the stage to accustom yourself to the environment before you are thrust into the limelight.

  • Breathe deeply through your nose and out of your mouth, exhaling on the count of 10, 20 and so on, gradually increasing the length of time it takes you to exhale.

  • Clench your toes and fists as tightly as you can and squish up your face into a tense mask. Hold the tension for a few seconds, then release it and allow the feeling of relaxation to wash over your entire body. Do this a few times to make yourself aware of the sensation of dissipating tension in your body.

  • Shake out your hands. Standing on one foot, lift the other foot off the ground and rotate your ankle in a clockwise circle, then counterclockwise. Do this slowly. Repeat it three times on each side of your body.

  • If you have good knees, do a few knee bends. Otherwise, do a few very slow neck rolls–first clockwise, then counterclockwise. Drop your chin to your chest and lower yourself one vertebra at a time until you can touch your toes. Hang limp in this position for a moment or two, then lift yourself back up to a full standing position, one vertebra at a time. Breathe deeply, wait for your cue and walk on stage in character.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best way to prevent stage fright is to be 100 percent prepared. Know your lines inside and out, and be confident in the character choices you have made. With proper training, you should be able to get into character before taking your first step onstage.
  • Be careful not to become overly relaxed just before your entrance. You will need a bit of adrenaline to drive your character through the scene. Relax just enough to get rid of the jitters.

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