Practise vs Rehearse

Practise and Rehearse

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the Off the Record sessions run by the chairman of the Actor’s Centre – Paul Clayton. Of which more another time.

Image result for off the record actors centre
On this occasion Paul was talking to the legendary actress Stockard Channing, star of Grease and the West Wing. In among lots of insights, one really resonated with me.

In all my writings, I have stressed the need to rehearse and practise for each presentation. I’ve used the terms pretty interchangeably. In fact, I use both terms to stop my writing getting too repetitive.

Last week I was on the train in to London sitting opposite a young woman practising her presentation. With a print of her PowerPoint she was mouthing words and making furious notes on the print out. Go into any city centre coffee shop and you’ll see people doing the same thing. After a while I asked her about her presentation. She told me how nervous she was and asked for my advice. 

I know that at that stage little can be done other than building confidence, so I told her she would be just fine, and to forget changing the text, just “…. rehearse what you have already planned.” A lesson taught to me a long time ago by a very experienced event producer despairing of a client who couldn’t tell the difference between "creating” and “rehearsing”.

Anyway, back to Stockard Channing. She explained the difference between practising and rehearsing like this: Practising is something you do on your own; rehearsing you do with others.

The lady on the train, those people in the coffee shops, me when I don’t prepare properly, we are practising. We also need to do rehearsing.


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