We often hear the term “stage presence” when working with actors. But what does it really mean and why is it so important? Today, Brooke Horan Williams talks about what stage presence is and how you can make sure you have that “it factor” when performing.
Stage presence can really be defined as star power, says Brooke Horan Williams. “It’s charisma and charm that becomes an innate part of your performance,” she says. At the same time, it’s something that can be learned as you gain more skills and confidence she adds.
Stage presence isn’t just something for actors. Stage presence, she explains, is something that all performers need to have. For example, singers, musicians, and even magicians need to have stage presence, so it’s something that should be learned early on in your career, she adds.
But why is stage presence considered so vital to an actor’s career? One reason is that it enables the audience to connect more closely with the character you’re playing. It pulls the audience into the action and makes it much more believable, Brooke Horan Williams says. It’s not mandatory for each actor to have this for a play she adds, but it makes the performance so much more professional because it’s much more interesting for the audience.
Stage presence is something that’s taught in acting school, Brooke Williams continues. One way to make sure you’ll develop stage presence is to start with good acting skills. “You can’t have good stage presence without it,” she says, as this is part of developing your persona on stage. “However, if you’re already taking acting lessons, there are a few tips she suggests to really develop and fine-tune how the audience sees you.
First, Brook Horan Williams says, to ensure that you develop a good stage presence, you need to get to know your character intimately. Brooke recommends the exercise of really getting inside your character’s skin and imagining what that character feels like. A key concept here is to know what your character wants she adds. “Everybody wants something,” Brooke says. “Once you figure out what your character’s needs and wants are, you’re more likely to portray them in a realistic manner.”
Portraying an accurate character in a realistic manner is more than just having good acting skills, says Brooke Horan Williams, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. “A lot of it comes down to confidence,” she says, “and confidence is what helps make your character believable.”
Brooke recommends exercises to learn what motivates your character and understand their quirks, their beliefs, and their fears. One of her suggestions is to write your character’s traits down on paper, so that you can start to fully understand how she thinks. “Once you know who your character really is, you can start to imagine that character in different circumstances. In other words, how does she feel when she’s disappointed or scared?” Brooke suggests going through an entire list of emotions and imagining your character in all those different scenarios. “Only by doing this,” she adds, “will you start to develop the skills and the confidence needed to create a memorable stage presence.”
Brooke Horan Williams has been involved with theatre as long as she can remember. At the age of six, she starred in her first school play as Snow White, and ever since, she’s been passionate about the stage. After graduating from college, Brooke began her career in stage management, pursuing her passion as soon as she was able. Brooke’s love of acting translates to her hobbies, as she spends most of her free time taking in films and television. Brooke Horan Williams is proud to be involved with her local theatre and has recently started auditioning for film and television.