What is an acting school?
There are various names for institutions running acting classes. You may have heard some of the following:
These are all generic terms and mean roughly the same thing, and tend to be interchangeable, depending on where you come from.
Perform Australia could be happily described as any of these things. Needless to say, there are some nuances to the titles. For instance, a “drama school” generally trains actors for work in the industry; “drama school” implies that classical actor training is taught. A “theatre school” may tend to specialise in theatre over film, while a “screen academy” may focus only on film and television without any reference to theatre. An “acting conservatory” usually means the school thinks of itself as providing practical, workshop-style training attending to the body, voice and mind. Meanwhile, a “performing arts academy” might branch out beyond acting into music and dance. So if you are thinking of going to acting school, make sure you find one which is going to deliver what you are looking for, and doesn’t exclude one aspect of acting at the expense of another that you’re interested in.
One of the most important things to consider in actor training is the quality of the teachers concerned. Be wary of those who set themselves up as self-styled ‘acting gurus’, but who really have little or no professional experience to speak of. Make sure you see through the bold claims they make. It’s easy to claim their work is “hugely successful” or “highly respected” without any evidence to support it. Take a good look at the teachers’ acting CVs – have they trained at a recognised institution? If not, they may have little professional knowledge to draw on, and little of substance to teach. And the awards they list in their resumé – do they come from amateur competitions and settings, or are they industry awards? While the arts landscape has plenty of room for both amateur and professional endeavour, there is a huge difference between the two. You can see some of our teachers and their credentials here.
But what do you do at an acting school? You’ll expect to receive “drama training” or “actor training” – that is, lessons on how to act - which may include things like:
At Perform Australia, we teach all these things – and more! If you are looking for a qualification in acting, which gives you a thorough grounding in all of these things, start with our 10197NAT Certificate IV in Acting for Stage and Screen and you can later move onto the 10295NAT Advanced Diploma of Performance. If musical theatre is more your style, with singing, dancing and acting included, look to the CUA40513 Certificate IV in Musical Theatre as your starting point.
But if you’re more after a short acting course, there are a range of courses on offer every term at Perform Australia. Just check out our short courses page, where we have a range of topical courses.
These blog posts are written by Perform Australia staff.