Actors use speech and body language to portray characters and situations. This is usually based on a script created by an author, but may sometimes involve improvisation. Acting work varies widely, as it may involve performing in a wide range of settings. Some actors combine their acting skills with singing and dancing, especially within musical theatre.
Actors also spend a lot of time studying their roles, learning lines and rehearsing. In order to secure roles, they need to prepare for and attend auditions. These include roles in live theatre, television plays and series, films, radio and advertisements. Actors usually work as part of a team, under the instruction and support of a director.
Hours can be long and irregular, often including evenings and weekends. Actors in touring companies often spend long periods away from home. You'll be working with a team that usually consists of make up artists, camera operators and directors.
Work can take place both indoors and outdoors. Some locations include:
Some roles may involve wearing uncomfortable costumes for long periods.
Actors will spend some time on a training course either at university or at a drama school. You can also study related subjects like performance studies, contemporary theatre or musical theatre. There are different qualifications you can gain in acting or these related subjects like a diploma, foundation degree, a degree or postgraduate diploma.
To be an actor you should:
Acting is a hugely competitive area. Practical experience and a portfolio of work is an absolute must in order to help you get ahead.
If you would like to know anything about Actor that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
National Council for Drama Training
1-7 Woburn Walk
Tel: 020 7387 3650
Conference of Drama Schools
PO Box 34252
Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 0800 093 0444
Shape UK (disability arts organisation)
LVS Resource Centre
356 Holloway Road
Tel: 020 7619 6160
Minicom: 020 7619 6161
Upper St Martin’s Lane
Tel: 020 7379 6000
Tel: 08080 300 900