Actor

Alternative titles for this job include

Actors use speech, movement and expression to bring characters to life in theatre, film, television and radio.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 47 irregular

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Actor

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • a course at drama school

University

You could do a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate diploma in a subject such as:

  • drama
  • performance studies
  • contemporary theatre and performance
  • acting
  • musical theatre

You could join your university drama or theatre society to develop a network of contacts and get performance experience.

Entry requirements

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

More Information

College

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

Entry requirements

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

More Information

Volunteering

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.

Direct Application

You may be able to find work by applying directly for roles if you have a lot of experience and exceptional acting talent.

Other Routes

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:

Funding

You may be able to apply for a Dance and Drama Award to help with fees and living costs at a private drama school.

More Information

Career tips

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.

Further information

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.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • the ability to work well with others
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • a good memory
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could:

  • work with an agent to find new roles and opportunities
  • prepare for and go to auditions
  • research roles
  • learn lines and attend rehearsals
  • attend fittings for costumes
  • support back stage activities such as costume or prop management
  • work as a voice over artist or as an extra

Working environment

You could work in a theatre, on a film set or at a recording studio.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you may spend nights away from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

During your acting career you may move between roles in theatre, TV, film or radio.

There are also opportunities to work in new fields like online content or voice acting for games.

Agents

As an actor you're likely to work freelance through an agent who will put you forward for auditions and castings.

Agents usually take a fee of about 10% to 25% from your earnings.

Working in other areas

You can transfer acting skills to many other fields, especially where creativity, team working, communication and presentation skills are important.

You could also train to move into directing, scriptwriting, drama therapy or teaching.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an Actor right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Performing Arts

  • Provider: IMBERHORNE SCHOOL
  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: East Grinstead

Performing Arts

  • Provider: LIPSON CO-OPERATIVE ACADEMY
  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Plymouth

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

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