Dealing with Rejection in Theatre, Part II

Dealing with Rejection in Theatre, Part II

What Does It Mean?

Many talented people choose not to pursue a theatre career because of rejection. They are afraid someone will say they aren’t good enough. Or they have experienced a traumatic rejection early in their career and it created self-doubt. For instance, actress Judith Light almost quit theatre because of rejection. Healing from these experiences is essential to career longevity.

The first post in this series dealt with the immediate impact of rejection. Take some time to work through your emotions. Once the sting subsides, there are steps you can take to turn this negative experience into a positive tool for growth.

Inevitably, you will begin to ask yourself what this rejection means to you. Should you change your goals? Maybe your parents or friends were right when they said you were foolish for trying to be an actor, writer or director. Put these thoughts aside for a while. Do not make a decision based on your reaction to rejection.

Once the dust has cleared, think about whether there was anything positive about the experience. Did the rejection include positive feedback? Sometimes, theater companies will tell you your work is not right at this time; however, they would like to keep your resume, headshot or play on file for the future. These comments mean that the theatre might like to have a future relationship with you. Consider this rejection a win for your career. With such fierce competition, they would not include this feedback unless they meant it.

Even if you received a simple form letter without feedback, the rejection serves as valuable experience. The more you audition, the better you will become as an actor. Writers improve with the completion of every play. Each time you take a chance, the less nervous you will be in the future. Eventually, this entire process will become second nature.

Remember, theatre isn’t the only field where rejection is the main feature. Salespeople also have to pursue lots of dead ends before landing a big account.

In the next article, we will look at what you can do with the negative feedback and criticism you may encounter on your road to success.