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Starting an Acting Career

If you want to carve out a career as an actor there is more to it than learning to act. In reality, while essential to success, the ability to act is only one skill you need to master!

Here is a quick guide to getting started:


Training is essential for mastering the art of acting, especially the core skills of voice and speech, stage craft, stage combat, singing, dance, character development, and myriad acting techniques which will help you in the rehearsal room and in performance.

University and drama school training will give you a strong grounding, but the costs are high and you should seriously consider weighing up the cost of this investment 'v' high probability of long-term unemployment most actors face in their careers.

Other training options worth considering are the multitude of courses and workshops offered by theatres and companies across the UK, such as those run by Theatre Workout, Pineapple Dance Studios, the Actors' Centre, Dancework, or your local Youth Theatre or Amateur Dramatics company.

Business Skills

Being an actor means being a one-person business, and entrepreneure, and I can't stress the importance of learning business skills along-side the art of acting. Marketing, PR, Accounting, Strategical Planning, these are all valuable skills for the business of acting, which sadly is where most actors fail.


Like with any business you need to promote what you sell. Your 'product' is your image, your voice, the physical packaging you present to the world, whereas your 'service' is your ability to create diverse characters, to bring a sript or song to life, and to be a creative and engaged member of a company.

Headshots: your professional image shots used on CV's, casting submissions, etc. It is the first thing a casting director will see.

Showreel: video footage of your work and a demonstration of your versatility as an actor. This can be compiled from TV or film work, or self-created material.

Voice demo: You will never get voice-over work without one.

Casting Profiles: Spotlight is the main casting service used by casting directors and professional companies. Other services, such as Mandy and Casting Networks are used more for things like corporate videos, low-budget films, fringe shows, student projects and small-scale touring. These are often lower paid where casting is done without agents.

Representation: It is possible to get good acting work without an agent, but having good representation will get you more opportunities than not having one.

Agents do not get you jobs. They get you opportunities. You should never pay to join an agency - they will earn money from the work they get you, charging commission of between 10%-20%. Likewise, never accept conditional offers of representation who demand you buy a headshot session from their photographer, or other demand which will cost you money.

Networks: Building and maintaining your network will be vital as it's not what you know but who you know which will get you work. While social media can be a great resource, keep your profiles seperate!


Don't get caught out when the tax bill comes. Unlike most jobs you won't pay tax when you earn your money - it can be up to 18 months later, so you need to manage your finances and book-keeping to ensure you can pay what you owe when the time comes. HMRC has advice and resources which you should become familiar with.

Coaching and Support

Theatre Workout offers personalised, one-to-one coaching to actors starting out in their careers. Your personal coach will provide a minimum of three sessions over six months to help you chart your progression and build a strong foundation for your future career.

Our professional CPD workshops will also provide you with additional skills development

Contact us for more information.

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