So firstly those pre-performance jitters, aka 'Stage Fright', are perfectly normal. It is human to get nervous at the idea of performing in any capacity. So today we would like to offer some advice, not to rid you of the nerves, because in truth you wouldn't be able to get rid of them as you may overcome them for one performance, and then they come back again for a different one. Instead these little tips are to help you manage them. And that is also your first piece of advice.
Stop trying to magically make the nerves disappear, because what you are doing instead is paying them attention. Giving them the 'lime light'. Instead try approaching these jitters with management.
Try to come up with a routine that you follow before every performance. This will put your mind on what to do next, rather than dwell on any anxiety that may be building.
Example routine is to, wind down (get yourself relaxed), warm up (get your body prepared for its role), walk the space, vocal warm ups and prepare your costume.
As cliché as it sounds - breathe. Use some breathing techniques to help calm yourself. The reason this is cliché is because it works. This is the most simple, useful and convenient tool that you will always have to hand. USE IT. Take a moment to focus on your breathing. Just one moment can do wonders!
Rehearse! Not just in the rehearsal room, but at home in your own time too! This not only leads to effective management of your nerves, but it is also key to building your confidence towards your performance. Naturally the more confident you will feel about playing your role, the less you're going to give into your nerves.
What not to do -
Talk about being to nervous to someone who is also nervous
Concerning over who is in the audience - (treat every audience the same)
These all have one common factor. You're focusing on your nerves. The issue with feeling nervous and dwelling on it, is that the more you dwell on being nervous the more nervous you will become. So by removing the things that contribute to this, will help manage them.
Lastly do not try to do better or different when performing. You have been rehearsing this role for a while, with each rehearsal you have adjusted this role into what you want to perform. All that practice and repetition is so that when it comes to performance, you are giving your best. There is no need to then try and do better last minute - because to put it bluntly - you won't. Instead, you would have pulled yourself out of the routine of your performance, which can leave you vulnerable to "stage fright" due to throwing yourself off of what you know, which in turn will amp up the nerves.
So trust in what you have been practicing. There is a reason people say "practice makes perfect." And when it comes to performing - you are not practicing anymore. But don't worry, because you have got this. The hard work will pay off, and eventually managing the nerves will become second nature.
Until next time.