How to become an actor
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- applying directly
- a course at drama school
You could do a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate diploma in a subject such as:
- performance studies
- contemporary theatre and performance
- musical theatre
You could join your university drama or theatre society to develop a network of contacts and get performance experience.
You'll usually need:
- to pass an audition
- at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
There is no set entry route to become an actor but it may be useful to do a course like:
- Level 2 Certificate in Performing Arts
- Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts - Acting
- A level in Drama and Theatre
- Level 4 Diploma in Speech and Drama
You'll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
- 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course
Acting is very competitive and you'll need to develop your skills by getting as much acting experience as possible.
You might get experience by joining:
- amateur, community or youth theatre
- college and university drama societies
- student drama festivals and competitions
- an agency to get work as an 'extra' for films and TV shows
Societies and theatre groups also help you meet other people in the acting profession. It can be useful to have contacts when looking for work.
You may be able to find work by applying directly for roles if you have a lot of experience and exceptional acting talent.
You can study with a private drama school or conservatoire. You can choose from full time courses, short courses and summer schools.
You'll need to pass an audition to get into a drama school. You may also need A levels or a Level 3 Diploma in Performing Arts. This is not always essential if you can show enough talent and commitment.
You could also take graded exams in acting, musical theatre and performance art at:
You may be able to apply for a Dance and Drama Award to help with fees and living costs at a private drama school.
You'll need to get as much experience of acting as you can. You can give showreels and headshots to agents and casting directors.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join Equity who are a professional body. They can help you find jobs, training opportunities and contacts.
You'll need to have earned money from an acting job or be a student or graduate to join Equity.
You can find out more about becoming an actor through Get into Theatre and Discover Creative Careers.
You may need another job to get the money you need while you search for acting roles or when you're between acting jobs.