Performance anxiety in actors: symptoms, explanations and an Indian approach to treatment

Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Daniel and Nair, Sreenath and Proctor, Deborah Claire (2012) Performance anxiety in actors: symptoms, explanations and an Indian approach to treatment. Canadian Journal of Practice-Based Research in Theatre, 4 (1). pp. 1-28. ISSN 1918-5049

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Abstract

There are numerous examples of renowned performers across the arts (actors and musicians) and in sports, which become news items in the media due to their performance anxiety (also called stage fright in English, or Lampenfieber in German). Given the number of celebrity actors suffering from stage fright, the number of those actors who do not make the news headlines in relation to their stage fright but nevertheless suffer from it must be even higher. In t

his essay we provide an up to date account of the symptoms of stage fright, possible explanations for it and a range of known approaches to treatment. This is followed by an original approach to treating stage fright, based on Indian performance techniques, using details of a study undertaken in 2005.This multi-author journal article provides an in-depth analysis into the nature and treatment available for performance anxiety. The article offers examples of numerous artists and singers, including Sir Laurence Olivier, who had experienced stage fright for the duration of his performances of the title role in Ibsen’s The Master Builder (1965). The article run a clear analysis of the symptoms of stage fright and explain the nature of this psychophysical anxiety using clinical evidences and therapeutic methods. The key focus of the article is to compare and contrast two therapeutic methods for deducing stage anxiety: NLP, a well-established method, and SIT, which is an emerging method developed by Sreenath Nair using South Indian Bodily traditions. The article is based on a project carried out by Emerita Elizabeth Valentine and Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe in 2005, funded by the British Academy and the University of Wales Aberystwyth. The project compared two distinct methods of reducing stage fright in stage actors (Valentine et.al. 2006), one of them based on Indian approaches (South Indian Techniques, SIT) and the other Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). The SIT approach makes use of a range of psychophysical approaches deriving from the martial and performance traditions of Kerala. The study concludes that although many of the results were not statistically significant, ten of the eleven main effects were in the predicted direction, i.e. a greater effect for SIT than NLP.

This multi-author journal article provides an in-depth analysis into the nature and treatment available for performance anxiety. The article offers examples of numerous artists and singers, including Sir Laurence Olivier, who had experienced stage fright for the duration of his performances of the title role in Ibsen’s The Master Builder (1965). The article run a clear analysis of the symptoms of stage fright and explain the nature of this psychophysical anxiety using clinical evidences and therapeutic methods. The key focus of the article is to compare and contrast two therapeutic methods for deducing stage anxiety: NLP, a well-established method, and SIT, which is an emerging method developed by Sreenath Nair using South Indian Bodily traditions. The article is based on a project carried out by Emerita Elizabeth Valentine and Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe in 2005, funded by the British Academy and the University of Wales Aberystwyth. The project compared two distinct methods of reducing stage fright in stage actors (Valentine et.al. 2006), one of them based on Indian approaches (South Indian Techniques, SIT) and the other Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). The SIT approach makes use of a range of psychophysical approaches deriving from the martial and performance traditions of Kerala. The study concludes that although many of the results were not statistically significant, ten of the eleven main effects were in the predicted direction, i.e. a greater effect for SIT than NLP.

The study is a practice-based research demonstrating a highly relevant contribution to a therapeutic practice reducing stage fright. The research combines science and humanities indicating direct and wider impact.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Stage Fright, Performance anxiety, Emotional wellbeing, Consciousness studies, Meyer-Dinkgrafe, Vedanta, Natyashastra, Indian martial arts
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
W Creative Arts and Design > W410 Acting
W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Performing Arts
ID Code:5711
Deposited By: Sreenath Nair
Deposited On:21 Sep 2012 09:05
Last Modified:05 Dec 2013 10:16

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