Insights from actors Joseph Timms, Brodie Ross and Sam Swainsbury

“There are no right answers. And the way that you perform a scene, or interpret a reading, or the way that you approach a song is completely unique to you.”


The actor is the chief interpreter and communicator of a script, be it a play or musical – without them there would be no theatre, or film and television. Their job is to inhabit a character, bringing them to life by investing them with thought and feeling. In this way the actor appeals to and stimulates an audience’s senses, both intellectual and emotional, taking them on a journey with the character.


  • Working with a director, and occasionally a writer, to create a fully-rounded performance of a three-dimensional character
  • To be honest and truthful to the intentions of the script
  • To work collaboratively with other actors to create a performance
  • To be prepared, physically and emotionally, for the rigours of rehearsal and, in the case of theatre, a run of several weeks or months

Key Skills

  • An enquiring mind and lack of inhibition, with regard to accessing and sharing your emotions
  • Vocal and physical skills, in terms of projection and movement. This often includes an ability to sing
  • Tenacity and determination


Vocational training in acting is widely available at drama schools throughout the UK. Competition for places, especially at high-profile schools, is high, with many more people applying than secure a place. Not all actors receive formal training, opting to study a drama-related degree at university instead. They usually get actively involved in performances whilst there, gaining experience this way.

A drama school has the advantage of being recognised within the theatre industry and provides an initial support network and contacts for emerging actors. As the industry is oversubscribed, no training or career pathway will guarantee work – luck plays an equal part. Whatever route in, an aspiring actor must be sure acting is something they’re serious about and committed to. 


Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various drama schools and universities.