Acting, Dyslexia, Noises Off, Henry VI-Part One, Dyslexic, Theatre


Dyslexia can benefit an actor, especially if the individual is aware of how the challenges and advantages of dyslexia impact their personal acting process. Dyslexia is widely understood to be a learning disability that affects an individual's reading and writing abilities. Many forms of theater rely on the written word, and an actor's success lies in their ability to interpret the text, leading one to question whether a dyslexic individual can find success as an actor. Yet several famous actors, including Octavia Spencer and Henry Winkler, are known to be dyslexic. As a dyslexic individual, I have also successfully participated in numerous productions despite the challenges I have faced within the art form. Thus, the difference between struggle and success for the dyslexic actor may lie in their understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Identifying dyslexia-specific weaknesses can lead to new coping strategies, recyclable methodologies, improved self-advocacy, and a higher level of confidence. Realizing that one's excellent spatial reasoning, story analysis skills, vivid mental images, and imaginative thinking are characteristics of the dyslexic brain's strengths can be equally empowering. The foundation of these discoveries gives way to a new understanding of dyslexia. The first chapter of this thesis focuses on the definition of dyslexia, the differences in structure and function of dyslexic brains compared to non-dyslexic brains, and how these differences can present challenges. This chapter also introduces advantages, known as MIND strengths, as identified, and defined by Brock Eide, MD, MA, and Fernette Eide, MD, in their 2023 book, The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. These advantages were only recently defined and provide fresh insight into the workings of the dyslexic mind. The following two chapters discuss the identification of dyslexic-related challenges, strategies, and MIND strengths that contributed to the successes and disappointments I experienced while performing in two different theatrical productions. Chapter Two chronicles how the challenges, strategies, and MIND strengths affected my reading of the script, character creation, rehearsal process, and performance in Noises Off, written by Michael Frayn, while Chapter Three chronicles the same process for Henry VI- Part One by William Shakespeare. Though sharing this process intends to act as a guide to breaking down the acting process, encouraging the use of coping strategies, and discovering one's MIND strengths, this thesis serves only as a springboard for other dyslexic actors. The effect of dyslexia is specific to the individual, and each artistic experience and expression is unique.

Completion Date




Committee Chair

Wainstein, Michael


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program










In copyright

Release Date

May 2024

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus

Accessibility Status

Meets minimum standards for ETDs/HUTs