The Importance Of Acting For Playwrights


Most of the best playwrights in history have also been actors.

Does this mean you should take up acting (if you don’t already act)?

I believe the answer to that question is YES.

It goes against many writers’ instincts to get up on stage. Many of us writers tend to be introverts; we prefer to let our writing do our talking (probably part of the reason why we became writers in the first place).

That may be fine for some kind of writing, like fiction or poetry. But when it comes to playwriting, you will get a lot of benefit from doing some acting.

In fact, let me take that a step further and say that you will be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t have any experience acting.

Here’s why:

As you know, plays aren’t meant to be read on paper…they’re meant to be performed.

But unless you have experience acting, you won’t understand what it really means to perform a play.

How do actors learn to develop their character?

How do they flesh out a scene and find the beats?

How do they communicate the subtext going on in between the lines?

If you don’t have any acting experience, these will all seem like abstract concepts. But when you’re the one giving the performance, they turn into concrete and actionable steps…

…steps that can inform your playwriting at a deep level.

You’ll become a more complete and well-rounded theatre professional.

And that, of course, will dramatically increase your ability to get your plays produced!