Green Shirt Studio

8 Tricks for Memorizing Your Lines Faster


As an actor, you are tasked with memorizing a script. This can be intimidating, especially if you’ve nailed a role with a lot of lines and there are only a few weeks of rehearsal until opening night. So how do you tackle memorizing your lines effectively, so you feel confident when you hit the stage?

Andrew Gallant and Sommer Austin, co-owners of Green Shirt Studio, offer actors eight helpful tricks for memorizing your lines faster and more efficiently.

  1. Read First, Act Later
    Familiarize yourself with the material just as it appears. “The primary thing we teach our students is to memorize ‘by rote’ meaning that they memorize the lines without inflection or without any preconceived way of speaking the line,” Andrew says. This way, it can be easier to adjust your performance based on what the other actors are doing or notes you get from the director.
  1. Say Them Out Loud
    Saying your words out loud as you practice is a key way of making them stick more in your brain. But beware not to add any inflection. “Our recommendation is to only say the lines aloud if you say them flat, robotically, and as quickly as possible,” Andrew says. “You want to avoid memorizing inflection or emotional content.”
  2. Write Them Out
    Try writing the lines of your script down word for word on either an index card or typing them out in a Word document. “There is something about the kinesthetic action of writing out your lines by hand that gets you to really know the words deeply,” Andrew says. Memorization comes quicker when you connect your mind to the action of writing.
  1. Move Around
    When you memorize your lines in one place (like your couch) it becomes limited to that space and harder to recall them when you’re not in that space. Read your lines at your desk, say them while cooking dinner, or review them at the park. You will be able to recall your lines faster by memorizing them in various settings.
  1. Learn Them in Small Sections
    Instead of trying to tackle all of your lines in the play at once, just try to memorize one scene at a time. By breaking up larger roles into more manageable sections, you save yourself from information overload and retain your lines longer.
  1. Practice With A Friend
    Running through the scene with a friend is another great way of memorizing your lines. One trick is to toss a ball back and forth with your friend while youyou’re your lines quickly. If someone stumbles on a line, you have to start the scene over from the beginning.
  1. Record Yourself
    Think about a song that always plays on the radio. You probably know the lyrics because you’ve heard the song countless times. When you hear something over and over again, your brain begins to pick up what it hears. Record yourself saying your script and listen to it throughout the day. You will begin to memorize your lines just as quickly as you memorized Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake It Off.”
  1. Sleep On It
    Rehearse your lines right before you go to bed. If your lines are the last thing you see before falling asleep, your body will help you internalize the words during its circadian rhythm. Enhance effectiveness by reviewing your lines right when you wake up.

Do you have any other tricks for memorizing your lines faster? Let us know!