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Stage Presence: What it Means, Why it Matters, and How to Improve it

Whether you call it “star power”, “the x-factor”, or simply “It”, stage presence can be hard to describe – but easy to spot. Stage presence refers to the certain charisma and charm that a theater actor or performer possesses that draws in an audience and commands their full attention. But does stage presence really matter? And how can you improve it?

Does it Matter?

Stage presence can, quite simply, be a defining factor in an actor’s success. Of course, it’s not everything; an actor can still be considered talented at their craft without exceptional stage presence, and all the stage presence in the world won’t help an untalented or undisciplined actor succeed. However, when combined with skill, experience and hard work, stage presence can create a combination that turns “good” actors into stars.

Stage presence is more than the ability to recite your lines, hit your marks, and sing the right notes. Essentially, a good stage presence pulls the audience into the performance. It’s the ability to make the audience connect with the performer and envelop them in the story being told, and in turn to express what the audience feels.

How Can You Improve It?

  • Relax! Coming across as stiff or robotic makes your acting seem unnatural and forced, making it more difficult for the audience to find your performance believable – unless, of course, this type of movement is appropriate for your character! The more natural and uncalculated your movement, expressions and speech are, the more likely the audience is to feel captivated by your performance.
  • Practice. The more comfortable you feel on stage, the better you will be able to truly get into your character’s mind, helping you give a better, more convincing performance. This comfort level can only come with feeling completely confident in your ability to nail every line, hit every note, and know your role inside and out. To reach this level, of course, requires as much practice as possible. Become as comfortable as possible with not only every element of your performance, but with simply performing in front of an audience as well.
  • Study. To polish your stage presence, study the work of those who exhibit skill in the area. Find actors – or other performers – who captivate you, and study how they act and behave. Enrolling in acting school or musical theatre classes can help you gain insights and tips from industry experts. Not only will they share their expertise, but will be able to work with you one-on-one to fine tune your performances, helping you to develop techniques for a better stage presence. If possible, finding a mentor in the industry to work closely with will also help you learn to develop your skills, including a more highly effective stage presence.


Still Have More Questions?

KD Conservatory has acting, musical theatre, and film production programs to help prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. Contact us with any of your questions, or check us out on Facebook for ongoing updates and information!

What does “stage presence” mean to you? Tell us in the comments!


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