All the work world’s a stage

By Mark G. Auerbach

I majored in theatre and performed in musical theatre as I launched my career in public relations and broadcasting. And, although the arts have remained a passion and a subject for my reporting, I have, after some 30 years offstage and in the audience, returned to performing (as narrator of Craig Hella Johnson’s powerful music theatre piece, Considering Matthew Shepard).

As I prepare for rehearsals and learn my lines, I’ve done a lot of research about Matthew Shepard, and even visited the murder site in Laramie, Wyoming. I have reacquainted myself with the skill sets needed to perform and realize how my training in theatre has better prepared me for my workplace.

Whether you’ve been in a play, danced with a company, performed with a music group, or been a participant in the arts, you know you’ve learned some skills that translate into the workplace.

Time management. There’s only a limited time for rehearsal, so you have to arrive warmed-up, knowing your lines and ready to work. And, you have to keep in shape with vocal classes or movement. So, every minute counts. Apply that to your work schedule, your projects, and presentations.

Self-discipline. You have to stay in shape physically and balance your energy. That means being prepared and ready to “perform” on cue. My theatre study has made me a better broadcaster, because I can run within the clock and never get carried away,

Teamwork. Even if you’re performing a solo, there’s still a team working with youL stagehands, lighting people, front-of-house, etc. And, if you’re part of an ensemble, you know that one mediocre performance can tarnish the group effort. So, it’s essential in any work project to know your team, its strengths and weaknesses, and to play your role within the team. When the team wins, you win.

Group dynamics. Knowing the intricacies of a team helps you better manage the team. Knowing where you fit in, and how to manage the group makes you a better manager. As a reporter and PR person, my role is to tell someone else’s story. So, I’m not the person standing in the spotlight center stage. But, when I do my job right, the group benefits.

Preparation. Improvisation is great, if it’s agreed upon in advance. But, before you step on stage, it’s essential to know your audience, your product, and what sets you apart from the competition. Always be sure your foundation is strong, so that you can improvise, if necessary, when things require it.

Stage Fright is real, whether you’re performing, or presenting. After 30 years in radio, I get nervous in the minutes before a broadcast. If I don’t have a little stage fright, I can find myself out of control or ambivalent, which shows in my performance. I’m careful to warm up my voice, careful to remember my purpose, and careful to breathe.

Applause. The reward for any good performance is applause (or recognition). Your hard work pays off when you’re appreciated.

Conjure up those memories of performing or working behind the scenes on that play or music, and fine tune those skills in the workplace. And, if you have the opportunity to return to the stage or concert hall, in a community theatre production, church choir, etc, you’ll reap the joy of performance while polishing your own performance skills in the workplace.

Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn. Mark also produces ArtsBeat in print in The Westfield News, on radio for Pioneer Valley Radio and on TV and radio on WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. He also produces the TV and radio series On The Mark and Athenaeum Spotlight with Guy McLain. He narrates Considering Matthew Shepard on May 21 for DaCamera at Greenfield High School in MA. For details:


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