Stop nerves ruining performances in 4 easy steps

Stop nerves ruining performances in 4 easy steps

Nerves can plague everything from remembering lines, to losing the character, to an actor critiquing him or herself mid performance. When an actor is being attacked by nerves they can become hyper aware of everything from their accent, to how they delivered a line, what their hands should be doing, the audience, their heart beating and so many other other things. 

Nerves can provide fuel for a performance if we take control, but if an actor doesn’t know what to do with them their focus on their nerves intensifies and the nerves appear to get bigger and bigger until eventually the performance is destroyed. I want to offer you 4 easy tips to help you stop nerves ruining performances so you can finally get them under control and feel relaxed and properly focused. Like magic, the nerves will melt away, and rather than beating yourself up about your performance it will flow beautifully and you’ll feel happy.


  1. BREATHE – breathing is so underrated and is so useful in times of stress, which nerves perpetuate. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Make sure the breath in is shorter than the exhale. 
  2. RELAX – easier said than done I hear you protest. Nerves are a matter of prioritising where to place your focus. Sit in a comfortable chair, work your way through each area of your body gently saying “I give you permission to relax” (in your mind). 
  3. PURPOSE – the character you’re playing has a purpose in every scene, which will help you find their behaviour, however if you focus only on your nerves your behaviour will come from a place of fear, which will create dissonance between yourself and the character (this is why you end up feeling like you did a bad job and beating yourself up). Get clear on your character’s purpose and repeat it over and over until you believe it.
  4. IMAGINATION – imagination is blocked when nerves take over, but you need to engage it to help you find the belief in the character’s circumstances. Take a good chunk of time before you’re due to start the scene to imagine the smells, sounds and sights of the scene. 

So as you can see nerves can easily be controlled and channelled so you can give a unique, original powerful performance that runs smoothly. I suggest you set aside a good amount of time before your scene or production to run through these fail-proof tips. 

Which one are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments and lets have a conversation. You can also share this blog with your acting friends to help them stop nerves ruining performances, just click the social media icons. 

Can’t wait to chat in the comments.


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1 thought on “Stop nerves ruining performances in 4 easy steps”

  1. This is something I found hard for a long time another way of dealing with this I found has been around being very present with yourself and the actor or actors you working with. remembering to breathe is key to this. which leads to relaxing and getting out of the head. some other good things to focus on is what is the need in the current moment, do you have to leave an apartment before someone returns as a exercise example or is it a scene where two people are having a conversation and what is the meaning under the conversation and what are you both trying to achieve, getting present really helps with this and when you combine that with the emotional depth or the work on physical characteristics it leads to a stronger sense of living in the scene.
    Also as someone who has had nerves a lot in past I try not beat myself up if go wrong, self love and compassion is important because in any job you can make mistakes and being okay with that allows you to move through it and give your best.

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