To Be, or Not to Be: A Career as an Actor in the UK
Are you dreaming of a starring in a hit musical show? What about being the star of a BBC production or simply working in television or film? There are many paths you can take to become an actor. Your name in lights! The audience on their feet! A career as an actor could be waiting for you!
What do you need to study?
Are you comfortable on the stage and in front of the camera? Perhaps you are a member of a local amateur drama society or were the lead in your school production of Romeo and Juliet. To study acting you can take courses through special drama schools, or you can study music and drama at university as part of an undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Arts.) Even if you are not a drama major you may be able to study for a postgraduate qualification depending on your subjects and experience.
One of the most prestigious drama schools is the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts based in London. It was founded in 1904 by Herbert Beerbohm Tree. You can train here for a career in film, television, or theatre. Sir Kenneth Brannagh is the president, and the vice chairman was Alan Rickman, until his death in 2016. There are scholarships available that you can apply for. Loans are also offered by the government. There are many universities and colleges across the UK that offer excellent drama courses.
Auditions & Experience
Studying through a formal institution will also give you a chance to act in student productions. Moving from this environment into the commercial one can be daunting. All experience counts. Look to local Trusts and community theatre to build your experience. Auditioning on the West End may be your goal but you’re far likelier to be asked to audition with experience than simply applying with a formal qualification.
Are you going to get rich from acting? You could get lucky and make it big but realistically it’s a highly competitive industry and depending on your skills, the hands of Fate, and the demands in the market, it’s a risky career choice. You may be well paid to do smaller jobs at first. Being an extra, working in small productions, may not be your dream role but it is the start of your journey. Commonly ‘struggling ‘and the word ‘actor’ go hand in hand. You may need an alternative job like being a barman or waitress while you are waiting to land that dream role.
Rejection & Perseverance
Never, ever, give up, even if have to face rejection multiple times. Your chances statistically improve dramatically the more you audition. Keep your options open and break a leg! You never know when Fate will smile on you and you might land your dream role. Light! Camera! Action! Whether you have a formal qualification or are an amateur your talent will be seen – grow a thick skin and keep the faith.