To become an actor is the ambition of many young people. A certain amount of talent is required, but knowledge and understanding of stage-craft can be acquired through special education at stage school, drama school or university.
Actor or actress?
Actor is a term used to denote a male and actress refers to a female. However, in America, the term 'Hollywood actress' is applied only in Oscar awards. Increasingly across the world, actress is seen as a discriminatory title, and actor is applied to both males and females.
How to become an actor or actress?
In the UK, becoming an actor is a question of training. A very talented child can gain a place at a stage school, where general performance skills are learned alongside normal academic subjects. However, many prefer to enjoy amateur experience until reaching the age of eighteen. University or drama college?
Drama is the course which is most likely to teach acting and stage-craft skills, along with stage management and directing and writing skills. Actors often write scripts as well as act them.
Learning acting skills
Theatre experience, voice projection and many other acting tips can be learned through taking advantage of local opportunities.
The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art supply a nationwide network of trained teachers to develop local talent. Find a speech and drama teacher, and work towards LAMDA grade exams after school, or attend a secondary school where drama is taught to LAMDA specifications. Check Lamda.org.uk so as to discover how this can supply qualifications accepted by UCAS towards qualifying for university level education in drama. Amateur dramatics
Local amateur dramatic societies usually have young generation sections where experience can be gained in the evenings, weekends and school holidays. A number of top Hollywood actresses began their careers in this manner.
Although training for an acting career used to be confined to a few specialised colleges based in London, many UK universities now offer training in the dramatic arts.
These university departments will not only show students how to become an actress or actor for the stage, but they may work with film-making departments. This gives valuable opportunity to students to learn how to work with lighting, cameras and close direction. It also offers approaches to acting scripts in individual, out-of-sequence scenes, rather than the sequential acting techniques applicable to theatre acting.