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 drama, or other relevant subject like:
- performance studies
- contemporary theatre and performance
- musical theatre
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 relevant subject like:
- Level 2 Technical 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 practical experience of acting as possible. You could do this through:
- amateur, community or youth theatre
- college and university drama societies
- student drama festivals and competitions
This can also help to put you in touch with people in the acting profession, who could be useful 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. Many offer full-time courses, as well as 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, though this is not always essential if you can show enough talent and commitment.
You may be able to get funding to help with fees and living costs at a private drama school.
You'll need to get as much practical experience of acting as you can. You can provide showreels and headshots to agents and casting directors.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join Equity for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts. Membership of Equity is open to those who already have professional credits. Graduate and student memberships are also available.
You can also get extra support from organisations like Shape Arts, if you have a disability or special learning need.
Some actors also work in other temporary jobs whilst searching for acting roles or whilst in between acting roles.