Older students who are coming up to 18 and want to stay in the performing arts often wonder whether the best path is drama school or university. Those who see their main skills as singing and dancing tend to train at one of the country’s music-theatre colleges and there are many.
For those wishing to act you have other options. To some extent it depends on whether you are an academic student or not. If your pen flows and you need the rigours of a university with its lectures, seminarsand essays then you can always put off your actor training for a further year on one of the one- year courses but of course that adds a year to your studies – and all that that involves.
Drama school training is intensive with long contact hours with staff. It is intensively practical – no essays and lectures. Generally, year one is spent working on yourself and developing new skill sets on the voice and the body. Year two moves into project work in groups looking at playwrights such as Chekhov or Shakespeare and giving in-house presentations. Year three moves more heavily into performance mode with productions of different types being the most prominent part of the year. The year ends with a professional showcase to which agents and producers are invited.
It hardly needs to be said that the business is highly competitive and getting into a course and securing an agent is not easy. After that securing regular employment is also a challenge with many performers having to supplement their work with other part time jobs.
The pandemic has really shaken up the theatre worldbut I predict it will eventually come back strongly – the arts are a huge part of our cultural heritage and a big earner for the country.
What if you do all that training and don’t end up working – what was it all about? My answer to that is the training gives you valuable skills that are easily transferable to many other jobs. It may seem a risky endeavour but actor training has a lot going for it. My advice would be if you have to do it because it’s in you – then if your family are behind you then, go for it and don’t look back. Your own tenacity and drive are very important as is your talent. After that the audition process will decide whether the school or university in question sees potential in you.
Since 1992 Theatretrain Performing Arts Schools across the United Kingdom have been providing young people with part time performing arts classes in dancing, acting and singing. Without the cost of attending an expensive full time stage school Theatretrain is an excellent place to start your career in the performing arts and gain an understanding about professional training for the stage, television, and film.
For further information about our weekly lessons in dancing, acting and singing visit www.theatretrain.co.uk.