Have you ever wanted to try street performing?
It's pretty amazing when it's done well, don't you think?
Have you ever been going about your normal day and you find yourself feeling moved as a beautiful song reaches you from across the train station or you're struck with infectious energy as you watch an impressive dance crew whooping it up for some tourists?
Since, I'm asking you to go out and take your work into public spaces for the #PACLchallenge, I figured I should explain why this is such a good idea. Many years ago I had my own experiences as a street performer and here's some of the benefits I found by the experience of doing it:
10 Reasons to Perform In Public:
You’re forced to get creative: It may very well be that whatever you normally do doesn’t actually work very well on the street or in an “uncontained” atmosphere. So you have to get creative. Find ways to do it differently. Include your audience. Make it work.
You get as much stage time as you want. The audience is constantly changing and so you’re welcome to keep performing as long as you like, take a break, then return for more. It’s not a bad place to practice if you want to refresh your repertoire!
You can earn money $$. You don’t have to put out a hat of course, but I’m not telling you not to do it. If you want to put out a hat or have a friend “pass the hat” then you could earn a little cash for your efforts, in real time, with no ticket fees, theater rental or production costs to pay for.
You can try things you wouldn’t normally perform. Don’t feel like the scene from your acting class will play well? Try something else! Dust off your clarinet that you don’t get to play often enough or get together a group of friends to dress up in summer shorts and Santa hats to sing ironic holiday carols. Do something you don’t normally do.
You can take bigger risks. No expectations. No pressure. No one is expecting a performance and so the stakes are very low. There is a lot of opportunity to try things you wouldn’t normally because if it bombs, typically the only response will be that people won’t stop to watch or will just walk away.
You get to connect with your audience more. The line between performer and audience becomes blurred when you’re forced to create your own stage on the street. It’ll give you the chance to talk directly to them.
You’ll get to practice your boundary setting skills. Alternately, you'll also get to work on setting your boundaries with the audience too: how much you want to engage with them at any moment, the space of your stage, and also practice seeing how long you can hold the space uninterrupted.
You hone your performance skills. When your audience is “on the go” then you’re getting moment to moment feedback on what you’re doing and whether it’s holding their attention or not. You’ll find out exactly where your work drags, loses, energy, or simply goes on too long.
You get to help raise awareness for inclusion. Let your audience know that you’re doing this for the #PACLchallenge to help raise awareness for the need for #inclusion of different types of people in entertainment, T.V., film and media. Whether you make it part of your act or not, by sharing the message you get to help be part of a movement of an army of artists!
You get to be a beautiful surprise in someone’s day! Guess what? You are a gift and so is your performance. Simply by bringing your art into a public space you can bring unexpected joy to people, make them think more deeply about something, or simply give them a lift that they weren’t expecting.
Want Help Brainstorming?
Do you love the idea of doing the podcast Performance Challenge #PACLchallenge, but you're sort of stuck on knowing what you should do? Check out this short article I wrote here:
10 Different Types of Street Performances.
Would you rather listen to your inspiration? Listen to this podcast episode where I catch up with two different street performers at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf>>
Episode 33 What You Can Learn From Street Performers