7 skills that you need to succeed in Performing or Creative Arts

You have a natural talent that you want to turn into a career. That’s fantastic!

We completely understand where you’re coming from and we hope you find these tips really help you to get that lucky break.

Unfortunately, talent can only take you so far when you’re trying to make your name in the Performing and Creative Arts industry.

As well as your physical talent whether it be in drama or dance, or a technical performance skill, you'll find these additional skills can help your case.

1          Confidence

It can be incredibly nerve-racking performing in front of people or showcasing your art after all you are inviting judgment. Stepping onto a stage or into an exhibition however large or small requires you to have a huge amount of confidence and self-esteem. It's normal to feel a certain degree of nerves, but as a professional performer/artiste you need to harness and use these nerves. Your confident, can-do attitude will help you stand out from the competition.

Does your self-confidence need a bit of a boost? Why not join local clubs, societies, choirs, orchestras, dance or amateur dramatics groups/local theatres.
You could also consider entering local or regional competitions or talent contests to build your confidence.

2          The ability to network and market yourself

What can we say? Network. Network. And more networking!
Sell and market your abilities to potential employers and anyone who will listen. You never know who you’re standing next to or who they may know! Make as many industry connections as possible!

Join professional associations and attend industry events, sign up for classes, workshops and short courses to meet like-minded people and follow directors and companies on social media. Many of the best jobs are found through connections and knowing the right person at the right time can pay dividends. We say go for it. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

3          Resilience, self-discipline and stamina

You will find the industry very competitive and you need to be prepared for rejection and criticism. To cope with these challenges you need

  • resilience (brush off any rejections, their loss not yours and look for the next opportunity)
  • tenacity – keep going, if you’ve tried one door, try another and another, get creative with your thinking, we’ve been there.

Also as a performer or artiste you will be required to work long hours during rehearsals, in the run up to and during a show or exhibition. You will be expected to give 100% every time. This can take its toll on you mentally and physically especially if you have to take on additional work to pay your bills. Practising self-discipline and building your stamina will come in useful. Eat good, healthy food at regular times. Have a regular bed time and a regular wake up time - even if you're not at work and don’t forget to exercise.

4          Have an analytical mind and the ability to self-reflect

This is perhaps not the most obvious skill that you need but having an analytical mind will for example help you to scrutinise and interpret a role or a script, break down and analyse choreography or dissect and interpret a piece of music. You also need to be able to apply these skills to your own work when critically analysing your own performances.

To do this try reviewing university or professional productions, concerts and recitals for academic publications, local media or industry magazines.

As a performer or artiste, you need to adapt and apply your skills and talent to a variety of roles, genres, techniques and styles. For example, actors may be cast as a villain in one role and a hero in the next or an artist working on a large scenery one week and a small prop the week after.

5          Flexibility

We’re talking multitasking!

Most people working in performing arts often subsidising their salary by taking a second or third job so you can see being flexible will come in useful when holding down multiple jobs and switching between roles. The recent pandemic, where many events were cancelled for nearly two years, has highlighted the need for you to have other work to fall back on.

6          Teamwork

You will know that the performing and creative arts are a collaborative effort between many different people coming together to create a successful show, exhibition play, broadcast, concert or recital. Your ability to get on and work well with others is a vital skill to have.  

7          Organisation and time management

We’ve already spoken about multi-tasking and hand in hand with this is time management. Often you will be required to work on more than one project at the same time or attend multiple interviews. Your day can quickly become somewhat hectic especially if you are working as well. Keep a diary of your appointments and deadlines. It’s very easy to get distracted or engrossed and lose track of time - set alarms and reminders so you don’t forget that vital interview and allow plenty of time if you have to travel.


We hope you have found this article useful and we wish you all the best with your performing or creatives career.


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