How your integrity influences your theatre life.
What does integrity look like to you? Is it even a thing anymore, and how does it play out in our world of community theatre?
On the surface, integrity can simply mean being a person of your word but, move deeper and it can influence how you treat people and allow others to be treated.
Let’s take a quick survey, and be brutally honest with yourself. Which of these statements applies to your current way of thinking –
Integrity is like breathing to me. It says who I am and what I believe in.
Integrity is something I put on when I need it. I wear it like the jumper Grandma gave me for Christmas last year – it’s itchy and uncomfortable but I have to put it on when she’s watching.
Integrity – “Can you put it in a sentence?”
Here’s what I think. Integrity is that part of you that says –
Even though I’m tired, I will turn up to rehearsal, because my absence inconveniences those working on the stage with me.
I would love to accept that role but I have already committed to another show, and to pull out now would make things very difficult for that production.
I will learn my stuff and turn up to rehearsal prepared because that shows my respect for the team and our show.
I have to accept a work roster so I will let the stage manager/director know immediately so that they have the opportunity to reorganise the rehearsal.
Do you see the common theme of all these? They’re about other people and our respect for them. Our attitude/actions say, ‘I respect you and I am self aware enough to know how my actions may affect you.’
In a world that tells us that we must look out for ourselves, we often interpret this as at the expense of other people. In life and definitely in the theatre, this attitude will always come back to bite you on the behind.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are developing a reputation, in real life and online. What do you want that reputation to say about you?
SIDE NOTE: For those of you wanting to build a career in the arts, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your online life won’t come into play. It’s your voice to the world. What is that voice saying about your integrity?
So, how does integrity play out in casting?
Let’s say I’m choosing between two equally talented performers. Both of them have a reputation that precedes them.
#1 is very professional in her approach. Always turns up to rehearsals prepared, is a great team player and is fully committed to the show.
#2 has an ego the size of the state of Queensland, half arses rehearsals because she “needs an audience to really bring it”, and is a complete pain to work with.
Who do you think I’m going to cast? For me personally, I would go so far as to say that I would rather take a performer who will require a little more work on my part, than try and incorporate a diva into my team.
Integrity doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It says you are working to be better and that you take responsibility when you stuff up. And in life, we all stuff up.
Integrity is something you will take a lifetime to develop. It requires us to be life long learners and seekers of the truth about ourselves.
Seek out integrity, feed it, enjoy it. The world needs more of it.
Sherryl-Lee Secomb is An Idiot On Stage. The Idiot exists to encourage and equip community theatre to expect more and be extraordinary.
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