Actors or Performers are people who entertain an audience by acting, singing or dancing. They play characters on stage or screen and work with the direction of the creative team to bring a piece of theatre to life.
Whilst there are no specific qualifications needed to be an Actor or Performer, here are some courses you may want to consider to gain knowledge and experience:
Here are some subjects that you can study at school which will teach you some useful skills for becoming an Actor or Performer:
These are the desirable skills to become an ideal Actor or Performer:
There is not a straight path within performing. You are nearly always employed on a freelance/contracted basis and the responsibilities can vary depending on the company and how long the production runs for. Sometimes Performers start out in fringe or small-scale theatre or create their own work, there can be ensemble roles in larger companies or understudy parts. However some Actors and Performers may start in a lead role if they are the right fit for the character. Find out what you can do between acting jobs with our blog 'What jobs can you do in between theatre jobs to earn.'
Many Actors are represented by an Agent. An Agent puts their clients up for roles they think they are suited for and are often given breakdowns for castings that are not readily available to the public, they will take a percentage of the pay, often between 10% and 20%. You can gain an Agent by writing to them, inviting them to shows that you are in, or ask for a meeting. It’s a good idea to research Agents and apply for those who have ‘open books’, meaning they are actively looking to represent new clients. However, some Actors don’t have an Agent and apply for castings themselves. See our blog on Do I need an agent?
Starting pay can be very low, with some fringe production employing ‘profit-share’ models, but a small number of star Actors and Performers can receive extremely high wages – for example a pantomime star or West End lead can be paid tens of thousands of pounds per week.
Published: 04 March 2019