Theatre - Performing Arts

Performing arts are a form of art in which artists use their voices or bodies, often in relation to other objects, to convey artistic expression. It is different from visual arts, which is when artists use paint, canvas or various materials to create physical or static art objects. Performing arts include several disciplines, each performed in front of a live audience.

Theatre, music, dance, and other kinds of performances are present in all human cultures. The history of music and dance date to pre-historic times. More refined versions, such as ballet, opera, and Kabuki, are performed professionally.Live performances before an audience are a form of entertainment. The development of audio and video recording has allowed for private consumption of the performing arts.The performing arts can help explain our emotions, expressions, and feelings.

What is a degree in performing arts?
They are usually awarded as Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees, or less commonly, Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA). You might be given the option of taking part in a work experience placement during your studies, which would be a good opportunity to develop your skills in a professional context.


Top 5 Famous Plays

Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
In William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, a long feud between the Montague and Capulet families disrupts the city of Verona and causes tragic results for Romeo and Juliet. Revenge, love, and a secret marriage force the young star-crossed lovers to grow up quickly — and fate causes them to commit suicide in despair.

Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Set in Denmark, the play dramatises the revenge Prince Hamlet is called to wreak upon his uncle, Claudius, by the ghost of Hamlet's father, King Hamlet. Claudius had murdered his own brother and seized the throne, also marrying his deceased brother's widow.

A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
The play is significant for the way it deals with the fate of a married woman, who at the time in Norway lacked reasonable opportunities for self-fulfillment in a male dominated world. It aroused a great sensation at the time, and caused a “storm of outraged controversy” that went beyond the theatre to the world newspapers and society.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Tennessee Williams
Williams' play centers upon a single evening in the life of the Pollitt family, which has converged upon the family plantation to celebrate the birthday of its patriarch, Big Daddy. It's evident from the very first scene that all is not as it appears in the lives of the Pollitt family, nor is the occasion as joyous as it would initially seem.

Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman is a 1949 play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. It was the recipient of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. The play premiered on Broadway in February 1949, running for 742 performances, and has been revived on Broadway four times, winning three Tony Awards for Best Revival. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century.

 

 

 


What is Drama ?

Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance.Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic and the lyrical modes ever since Aristotle's Poetics —the earliest work of dramatic theory.

The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a collective form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts, unlike other forms of literature, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective reception. The early modern tragedy Hamlet  by Shakespeare and the classical Athenian tragedy Oedipus Rex (c. 429 BCE) by Sophocles are among the masterpieces of the art of drama.A modern example is Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill (1956).

Drama is often combined with music and dance: the drama in opera is generally sung throughout; musicals generally include both spoken dialogue and songs; and some forms of drama have incidental music or musical accompaniment underscoring the dialogue (melodrama and Japanese, for example).Closet drama describes a form that is intended to be read, rather than performed. In improvisation, the drama does not pre-exist the moment of performance; performers devise a dramatic script spontaneously before an audience.

 


Beginners guide for acting

The goal of any actor is to be able to tell a story as a character, so the main task from first reading to final performance is to develop that character. The first and most important step in this process is perhaps the easiest: read! Read the script, read the text, read everything given to you for your part. You wouldn't believe how many actors go straight to performance without having even read their material. It is only by reading the material that you can learn the fundamentals about your character.

So what do you look for when reading your script? Pay attention to everything given to you about your character: his or her name, age, address, likes, dislikes, family, friends, political and religious viewpoints, favorite foods, places, upbringing— anything and everything about your character. Some of these qualities will be said directly by your character or another character; other attributes you'll be able to pick up through context clues in the script. However, the script will only grant you a small fraction of what you need to know about your character. So what do you do to find the other details? You make them up!

Do's and Don'ts When Creating a Character

DO:

  1. Read the script! Read your lines, other characters' lines, the stage directions, the prologue, epilogue, other works by the playwright (especially any others that your character might appear in!), everything!
  2. Research. Learn as much as possible about your character outside the text by researching the time period, the setting, the culture and politics of the area, and all the qualities one could ever know about one's self or another person. . . but for your character.
  3. Take time to do more than memorize! Many people think memorizing lines is the "meat and potatoes" of acting. It isn't! Memorizing is just the first step. If acting was like painting, the memorization would be merely mixing the colors. There's so much more to it. Rehearse many times, for different audiences. Play different objectives and look for new tactics to achieve those objectives every time you rehearse, if possible.
  4. Take risks! In real life, people don't just speak to one another monotone while sitting in a single chair or standing in a single spot indefinitely, so why should anyone do so onstage? Move around, be ridiculous! Honestly, be ridiculous onstage. You might feel odd doing so, but the effects will always be great! Acting mirrors life. If you play it safe, you'll most likely be "just okay" 100% of the time. But if you take a few risks, your work will always be more interesting, more dynamic, more effective, more memorable, and more inspiring. Plus, if something you try flops, you'll have many days of rehearsal to exchange it for something new.
  5. Listen! Listening is very important in theater; it's something actors don't do enough of. I don't mean for purely obvious reasons, either, like hearing your director give you instructions. While in character, actually listen to the words the other actors are saying. Don't just spit out your line simply because it comes next on the page. Actually take the time to listen, comprehend, process what was being said, and then speak when the words come. Not only will this keep you in the moment, your acting will seem infinitely more honest and natural if you do! Listening is supremely important.

DON'T:

  1. Don't just read lines with feeling. Contrary to popular belief, acting isn't "reciting lines with emotion." Don't do it in your performance. It's a start, maybe, in order to get a feel for the material. But merely reciting lines with emotion doesn't take into account anything else about the character, and if your only approach to the piece is reading the lines "with feeling," you'll likely come across as just that. Your goal is to create a character who is saying each line with a distinct thought process and purpose.
  2. Don't just go up and "wing it." This is an easy trap for an actor to fall into. Preparing a monologue or scene for performance takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and sometimes, there isn't enough time to fully commit to or even memorize the piece. However, winging it hardly ever works, even for an experienced actor. More often than not, the audience will be able to tell you aren't prepared.
  3. Don't "play emotions." In theater, there is no way to "play happy" or "play sad" or "play angry." Why not? People have infinitely different definitions of what it means to be happy, sad, or angry. Instead of playing an emotion, play the objective. Your character may have just won the lottery, and that's why he or she is happy. Maybe the family dog just passed away, and that's why your character is sad. Or perhaps you just discovered your significant other has been cheating on you, resulting in a whole slew of different negative emotions. See? Playing objectives can lead to the desired emotions, but just playing an emotion itself is impossible in theater.
  4. Don't employ stereotypes. Just because you were cast as the grandfather in the play, that doesn't mean you have to fake a limp, hunch your back, talk in a quavering voice and act feeble. There are plenty of grandfathers in the world who have none of those qualities. Similarly, being cast as the school shooter in a dramatic work doesn't automatically mean your character is antisocial, dark, cruel, or misunderstood. Instead of playing these traits as stereotypes, think about why your character may have developed those kinds of traits in his or her backstory. Keep what works and toss what doesn't.
  5. Don't just take. Give. Another tidbit that mirrors real life. A production, even when you're the lead, is not all about you. It's not all about any one person. A show belongs to everybody, and everybody deserves an opportunity to have their moment. When onstage, see what you can do to make your cast shine, and they'll do the same. Don't hog the spotlight. Being a diva, as it's called, is something people really disapprove of in theater. Be humble.

SOURCE: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/s12/gair_j/character.html


Types of Theatrical Stage

Stage types:

Proscenium stage:
A proscenium theatre is what we usually think of as a "theatre".
Its primary feature is the Proscenium, a "picture frame" placed around the front of the playing area of an end stage.

The frame is the Proscenium; the wings are spaces on either side, extending off-stage. Scenery can surround the acting area on all sides except side towards audience, who watch the play through picture frame opening. "Backstage" is any space around the acting area which is out of sight of the audience.

Thrust theatre:
A Stage surrounded by audience on three sides. The Fourth side serves as the background.
In a typical modern arrangement: the stage is often a square or rectangular playing area, usually raised, surrounded by raked seating. Other shapes are possible; Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was a five-sided thrust stage.

End Stage:
A Thrust stage extended wall to wall, like a thrust stage with audience on just one side, i.e. the front.

"Backstage" is behind the background wall. There is no real wingspace to the sides, although there may be entrances located there. An example of a modern end stage is a music hall, where the background walls surround the playing space on three sides. Like a thrust stage, scenery serves primarily as background, rather than surrounding the acting space.

Arena Theatre:
A central stage surrounded by audience on all sides. The stage area is often raised to improve sightlines.

Flexible theatre:
Sometimes called a "Black Box" theatre, these stages are often big empty boxes painted black inside. Stage and seating not fixed. Instead, each can be altered to suit the needs of the play or the whim of the director.

Profile Theatres:
Often used in "found space" theatres, i.e. theatres made by converted from other spaces.
The Audience is often placed on risers to either side of the playing space, with little or no audience on either end of the "stage". Actors are staged in profile to the audience. It is often the most workable option for long, narrow spaces like "store fronts".
Scenically, a profile theatre is most like an arena stage; some staging as background is possible at ends, which are essentially sides. A non-theatrical form of the profile stage is a basketball arena, if no-one is seated behind the hoops.

Sports Arenas:
Sports arenas often serve as venues for Music Concerts. In form they resemble very large arena stage (more accurately the arena stage resembles a sports arena), but with a retangular floorplan. When used for concert, a temporary stage area often is set up as an end stage at one end of the floor, and the rest of the floor and the stands become the audience. Arenas have their own terminology; see below.

 


Performance Skills

There are five ‘indicators’ (or skills) that you use whilst acting on stage.

 

1.           Movement – Soft, gentle, heavy, light, quick slow.  Hunched, upright, limping, energetic…

2.           Gesture – Signals with your hands / arms to show feelings.  You may have something your character always does, e.g. wrings their hands to show tension.

3.           Facial expressions – Wide eyed, narrow eyed, raised eyebrows, troubled (permanent frown / down-turned mouth).

4.           Eye contact – Staring, glaring, fleeting.  You may decide that your character always avoids eye contact with others to show they are uncomfortable.

5.           Voice – Pitch (high and squeaky, low and soft etc.).  Volume (loud / soft etc.).  You could decide that your character always shouts or whispers.  Tone (angry, pleasant, nervous).  Speech impediments like stutters or lisps can be useful if you are trying to achieve a highly nervous or comic character.


William Shakespeare (c. 1564–1616)

William Shakespeare, also known as the "Bard of Avon," is often called England's national poet and considered the greatest dramatist of all time. Shakespeare's works are known throughout the world, but his personal life is shrouded in mystery.

Who Was William Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare (baptized on April 26, 1564 to April 23, 1616) was an English playwright, actor and poet also known as the “Bard of Avon” and often called England’s national poet. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, he was an important member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men company of theatrical players from roughly 1594 onward. Written records give little indication of the way in which Shakespeare’s professional life molded his artistry. All that can be deduced is that, in his 20 years as a playwright, Shakespeare wrote plays that capture the complete range of human emotion and conflict.

 

Known throughout the world, the works of William Shakespeare have been performed in countless hamlets, villages, cities and metropolises for more than 400 years. And yet, the personal history of William Shakespeare is somewhat a mystery. There are two primary sources that provide historians with a basic outline of his life. One source is his work — the plays, poems and sonnets — and the other is official documentation such as church and court records. However, these only provide brief sketches of specific events in his life and provide little on the person who experienced those events.

 

When and Where Was William Shakespeare Born?

Though no birth records exist, church records indicate that a William Shakespeare was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564. From this, it is believed he was born on or near April 23, 1564, and this is the date scholars acknowledge as William Shakespeare's birthday. Located 103 miles west of London, during Shakespeare's time Stratford-upon-Avon was a market town bisected with a country road and the River Avon.

Family

William was the third child of John Shakespeare, a leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a local landed heiress. William had two older sisters, Joan and Judith, and three younger brothers, Gilbert, Richard and Edmund. Before William's birth, his father became a successful merchant and held official positions as alderman and bailiff, an office resembling a mayor. However, records indicate John's fortunes declined sometime in the late 1570s.

Childhood and Education

Scant records exist of William's childhood, and virtually none regarding his education. Scholars have surmised that he most likely attended the King's New School, in Stratford, which taught reading, writing and the classics. Being a public official's child, William would have undoubtedly qualified for free tuition. But this uncertainty regarding his education has led some to raise questions about the authorship of his work and even about whether or not William Shakespeare ever existed.

William Shakespeare’s Wife and Kids

William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582, in Worcester, in Canterbury Province. Hathaway was from Shottery, a small village a mile west of Stratford. William was 18 and Anne was 26, and, as it turns out, pregnant. Their first child, a daughter they named Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. Two years later, on February 2, 1585, twins Hamnet and Judith were born. Hamnet later died of unknown causes at age 11.

William Shakespeare the Actor and Playwright

By 1592, there is evidence William Shakespeare earned a living as an actor and a playwright in London and possibly had several plays produced. The September 20, 1592 edition of the Stationers' Register (a guild publication) includes an article by London playwright Robert Greene that takes a few jabs at William Shakespeare: "...There is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a Player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country," Greene wrote of Shakespeare.


20 best acting school in the world

TISCH SCHOOL OF THE ARTS | NEW YORK CITY

Tisch or TSOA as the school is also known, is part of the New York University. It was founded in 1965 and is now one of America’s leading centers for studying performing arts. Aside from well-know screen actors, Tisch trained a significant amount of the most famous Broadway stars and is considered to be the top “supplier” of musical actors in the country, and maybe even the world. It’s a big school with over 3,000 undergraduate and about 1,000 postgraduate students. The huge amount of students is explain by school having multiple artistic departments. If you can graduate with a diploma from TSOA, consider yourself an alumni of one of the best acting schools in the world that trained today’s world-class names.

Graduates: Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ang Lee, Woody Allen, Joel Coen, Whoopi Goldberg, Marisa Tomei, Alec Baldwin, Jeffrey Wright, Bridget Fonda, Anne Hathaway, Adam Sandler
Website: http://www.tisch.nyu.edu


NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DRAMATIC ART | KENSINGTON

Finally an Australia school on our best acting schools in the world list. NIDA was started in 1958 in the suburbs of Sydney, with just 23 students and two teachers. Over time it grew into the biggest drama school in Australia and definitely one of the best acting schools in the world, having brought a significant amount of great actors to both the United States and the United Kingdom. As it is said, only 4% of applicants pass their NIDA auditions; just like every other great drama school, it’s not easy to get into, and it’s not easy to stay either. Mel Gibson said: “I mean, I loved NIDA and hated it.” If you can get the chance, having NIDA on your resume will undoubtedly put you on the map.

Graduates: Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann, Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington
Website: http://www.nida.edu.au


OXFORD SCHOOL OF DRAMA | WOODSTOCK

Oxford’s drama school is one of the youngest acting schools in the United Kingdom. While it has been around for only about 26 years, it has already produced a respectable amount of talented and famous performers. It’s a relatively small school with just 18 students on a course, so the competition for a place at this school between elite wannabe actors is a fierce one. This drama school is absolutely independent and is not attached to any of the Universities of the United Kingdom, and to get accepted means training at one of the best acting schools in the world.

Graduates: Lee Boardman, Christina Cole, Catherine McCormack, Will Adamsdale, Claire Foy, Anna Galvin
Website: http://oxforddrama.ac.uk


YALE SCHOOL OF DRAMA | NEW HAVEN

No doubt one of the best acting schools in the world for training actors is Yale that has opened their doors in 1900. It’s one of the most famous drama schools that not only is a privilege to get accepted to, but it’s just as difficult to stay and train there. If you choose it, and get in, then forget about auditioning for 4 years — you won’t have the time or the energy. This drama school is also very well known for rejecting talented actors just because they considered them not talented enough; those are actors that have gone to build themselves successful careers. So yes, keep in mind — it’s more difficult to get accepted into this drama school than it is to get into a summer’s blockbuster movie.

Graduates: Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Paul Newman, Angela Bassett, Courtney Vance, Henry Winkler, Charles Dutton, Dick Cavett, John Turturro
Website: http://drama.yale.edu/


AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER | SAN FRANCISCO

ACT, as it’s also known, was first founded in 1965 in Pittsburgh. It’s a resident company of top shelf professional actors that drew attention of 7 million people to theater’s Tony award winning shows. What’s more important, is that students get an opportunity to audition for real productions of ACT and they do get cast, this way receiving a massive exposure and experience from the top notch production in the acting industry. ACT is on the best acting schools in the world list also because like most of top drama schools in America, it has trained actors whose names will not be alien to you, and might inspire to actually submit a form for an audition to get into the school.

Graduates: Delroy Lindo, Anna Deavere Smith, Denzel Washington, Elizabeth Banks, Annette Bening, Winona Ryder, Nicolas Cage, Danny Glover, Teri Hatcher, Benjamin Bratt, Darren Criss
Website: http://www.act-sf.org


GUILDHALL SCHOOL OF MUSIC & DRAMA | LONDON

It’s great to be able to include GSMD once again, and it’s all the way up there with other best acting schools in the world, no doubt. This drama school is one of the most prestigious in the United Kingdom, rubbing shoulders not only with great musicians like Jacqueline du Pre and James Galway, but also actors that made a name for themselves both in UK and US markets. Dominic West says of GSMD: “Guildhall gives a broad training — it’s not prescriptive. We’re able to be versatile.” Michelle Dockery said: “Getting in was like winning the lottery.”

Graduates: Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans, Orlando Bloom, Eileen Atkins
Website: http://www.gsmd.ac.uk


UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA | LOS ANGELES

USC, as a research University, has been founded in 1880 in Los Angeles. While University’s research department is extremely famous by itself and the USC’s not exclusively drama based, their drama department is considered to be strong enough to hold their own against other best acting schools in the world. It is ranked among the top theater programs in the United States for a good reason, as throughout the years it has graduated some very successful actors. The reason why I like USC is because students there are already trained not only in acting, but in the business as well, because that’s what it takes to make it here. Who better would know this that people from Los Angeles.

Graduates: Forest Whitaker, Kelly Preston, Lisa Ling, John Wayne, Michael Landon, John Ritter, LeVar Burton, Rob Estes, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Selleck, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Sophia Bush, Robert Stack, Robert Zemeckis
Website: http://www.usc.edu/


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES | LOS ANGELES

Straight up next on the best acting schools in the world list comes another Los Angeles based research University with extremely strong resume of successful actors on their hands. It was established in 1882 and since then grew to be a very important part of the state of California. In addition, UCLA produced some of the greatest names ever in the industry, some of whom most likely inspired you to become an actor. Just like USC, UCLA’s actor training emphasizes screen work and understanding the business; there’s no way around it for an actor who wants to make it in Hollywood. Their world class drama department is one of the greatest study opportunities an actor can ever get.

Graduates: James Dean, Tom Skerritt, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Englund, Elizabeth Berkley, Lloyd Bridges, James Coburn, Jayne Mansfield, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller, Jaleel White, Mayim Bialik, Jack Black
Website: http://www.ucla.edu


Best Acting Schools in the World

Best Acting Schools in the World: Top 20

JUILLIARD SCHOOL | NEW YORK CITY

Of course, it had to be also on the list of best acting schools in the world, and I know you were waiting for it. Considered to be the best drama school in the world, Juilliard comes up first on our list of best acting schools in the world in no particular order. Julilliard was established in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Art. At the moment, they train about 800 students per year and have produced some of the world’s most notable alumnus. It is actually harder to get into Juilliard than it is to get accepted into Harvard. Like I said, it can’t get more prestigious than that.

Graduates: Kevin Spacey, Robin Williams, Val Kilmer, Christopher Reeve, Ving Rhames, Kelsey Grammer, Eriq La Salle, Kevin Kline, William Hurt
Website: http://www.juilliard.edu/


ITALIA CONTI ACADEMY OF THEATRE ARTS | LONDON

Italia Conti was founded in 1911 and is named after its founder Italia Conti, who was an established female actor at the time. This drama school has always provided a modern approach to actor’s training based on the core of traditional skills, which means a strong emphasis on screen acting. Many professionals at this school are working in the industry and that means great connections after you graduate.

Graduates: Noel Coward, Russell Brand, Leslie Phillips
Website: http://www.italiaconti.com


ROYAL ACADEMY OF DRAMATIC ART | LONDON

And here comes UK’s royalty for the list of best acting schools in the world in no particular order. RADA was founded in 1904 and in addition to being considered one of the best acting schools in the world, it’s probably one of the hardest to get into in the UK. It is named this way for a reason, as it radiates royal reputation. There are classes that involve just one teacher and up to three students. It is said that The Beatles were famous because their RADA-trained manager taught them how to be dramatic. If you’re able to get in, after graduation you’ll be definitely on agents’ and casting directors’ radar.

Graduates: Peter O’Toole, Mike Leigh, Joan Collins, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Vivien Leigh
Website: http://www.rada.ac.uk


LONDON ACADEMY OF MUSIC AND DRAMATIC ARTS | LONDON

LAMDA is one of the oldest drama schools in the world. After being founded in 1861, it has produced some absolutely great talent. Graduates of this drama school has already taken 19 BAFTAs, 4 Academy Awards, 16 Golden Globes, 36 Olivier Awards and 12 Tonys. Apart from this school looking strong, someone who can manage to get LAMDA onto their resume will score some major points in the great training and showbiz connections department.

Graduates: Donald Sutherland, John Lithgow, Jim Broadbent, Swoosie Kurtz, Brian Cox
Website: http://www.lamda.org.uk


MOUNTVIEW ACADEMY OF THEATER ARTS | LONDON

Mountview, as it is often referred to, is currently one of the leading drama schools in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1945 and who’s current president is our beloved ‘M’, Dame Judi Dench. The school places a strong emphasis on professional stage training, but of course introduction to related industries is also there. There are claims that Mountview also supports their alumnus months and even years after they have graduated. So if that is something you are looking into (connections for years to come, why not?), then you should definitely consider applying to Mountview. Make sure you have what it takes though to get a place one of the best acting schools in the world.

Graduates: Brendan Coyle, Denise Welch, Eddie Marsan
Website: http://www.mountview.org.uk


DEPAUL UNIVERSITY | CHICAGO

Another one of research Universities on our best acting schools in the world list due to its extremely strong theatrical department worth to be put up against any other drama school in the world. Established in 1898, DePaul is now the top institution for actors in the second best theater city in America, Chicago. Like most other Universities and drama schools on this list, DePaul trained well-known and talented actors and deserves to stay on the list. “There’s something in the water in Chicago. It’s a great place for actors, and so is DePaul,”  said producer Laurence Mark.

Graduates: Elizabeth Perkins, John C. Reilly, Gillian Anderson, Kevin Anderson, Judy Greer, Karl Malden, Joe Mantegna
Website: http://www.depaul.edu


THE ACTORS STUDIO | NEW YORK CITY

I have skipped this school on every other list of mine, but I’m glad to finally get an opportunity to include The Actors Studio in the list of best acting schools in the world. This drama school has gone through some major changes, most recently joining the Pace University in 2006. A lot of actors call Actors Studio a “sacred place”, and you can understand why after looking at the graduates list that I couldn’t finish completely. With the most powerful history of all drama schools in the world and built from the basis of world-famous Group Theater, Actors Studio had some of the best teachers: Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman, Elia Kazan, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner and Robert Lewis. Its current co-presidents are Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino. Co-artistic directors are Mark Rydell and Martin Landau.

Graduates: Marlon Brando, Julia Roberts, Montgomery Clift, Robert DeNiro, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Walken, Sidney Poitier, Jack Nicholson, Eric Stoltz, Jane Fonda, Shelley Winters, Gene Wilder, Mickey Rourke, Carroll Baker, Steven Hill, Paul Newman, Eli Wallach, Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek, Ellen Burstyn, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Chazz Palminteri, Tennessee Williams, Dennis Hopper, Martin Landau, Karl Malden, Bradley Cooper
Website: http://theactorsstudio.org/


ROYAL CONSERVATOIRE OF SCOTLAND | GLASGOW

Another one on the list of best acting schools in the world is a drama school for actors in Scotland. RCS (formally RSAMD for Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) is a strong drama school founded as long ago as 1847. Prince Charles is currently a patron of the Academy, helping to maintain a school’s place as a vibrant conservatoire. Apart from great undergraduate and post-graduate courses, RCS also has Junior Academy of Drama for under 18 year old youngsters looking to get a head start in their acting career. It is definitely one of the world-famous places you will not regret being trained.

Graduates: Robert Carlyle, John Hannah, Billy Boyd, Angela Lonsdale
Website: http://www.rcs.ac.uk 


CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY | PITTSBURGH

Founded by Andrew Carnegie, the institution has been alive since 1900. During the period since they’ve developed their drama department, CMU has done enough to deserve a place on the best acting schools in the world list. What have their done? They trained some of the greatest American actors there are that won 6 Oscars and 96 Emmy awards. Zachary Quinto was quoted saying about the joy of studying at CMU: “It was a four-year playground.” Holly Hunter added: “I loved to be able to take a script apart in purely technical terms to learn about a character using this very pragmatic tool. That’s where I learned it.” Definitely a good addition to our best acting schools in the world list.

Graduates: Steven Bochco, Paula Wagner, Ted Danson, Rob Marshall, Patrick Wilson, John Wells, Zachary Quinto, Holly Hunter
Website: http://www.cmu.edu


CENTRAL SCHOOL OF SPEECH AND DRAMA | LONDON

CSSD is making its appearance once again on best acting schools in the world list, and it’s well deserved. CSSD is a very highly regarded theater and drama school that was founded in 1906. T0 say that you were able to fill a place in Central, as it’s also known, is a statement to be proud of. Throughout the years this drama school has produced some extremely talented actors that were successful both on stage and in film/TV. This is one of the most unique centers for aspiring actors in London that always there to offer a new form of training in theater and film acting.

Graduates: Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Judi Dench, Peggy Ashcroft, Harold Pinter, Vanessa Redgrave
Website: http://www.cssd.ac.uk


ROYAL WELSH COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DRAMA | CARDIFF

Making a transfer from UK’s top list into our best acting schools in the world list is RWCMD. Established in 1949 in Cardiff Castle, RWCMD — the National Conservatoire of Wales — is on the top level with all other great drama schools of the United Kingdom, and even the world. From what I have read about this school, they really take care of their students during and after the studies to get them onto their feet in the industry. The school has strong connections to local TV broadcast stations, constantly invites casting directors and stages over 300 public performances per year. If you are anywhere near Cardiff or Wales, consider applying to this drama school — satisfaction is guaranteed.

Graduates: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rob Brydon, Ruth Jones
Website: http://www.rwcmd.ac.uk


CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS | VALENCIA

Another drama school from best acting schools in the world list that’s very close to Hollywood is a well-known CalArts. Established in 1961 in Valencia, Los Angeles County, CalArts is responsible for bringing a good amount of talented actors in the US market. Following Travis Preston’s quote, CalArts is now referred to in the sense of “the hub of a vast network of artistic and professional relationships that traverses the globe.” As it is claimed, students of CalArts get to work with the likes of the Wooster Group, Andre Gregory, Magnetic Fields composer Stephin Merritt and avant-garde dramatist Richard Foreman.


Questions and answers on about acting on stage

What should I do with my hands on stage?
Do not do anything special with your hands. If your stage fright is bad, you can play with your hands slightly, but too much movement communicates nervousness to the audience. You want the audience to believe you are the character you are playing and not an actor portraying a character.
What if I forget a line on stage?
Don't panic. Pause a little and do it naturally. Don't let the audience know you've forgotten your lines by doing jerky body movement or looking just about anywhere. Keep your eyes on other characters or try to look as if you're thinking about what the other character is telling you. Try to memorize your lines by heart, know your character well and familiarize yourself with the scenes and situations in the play.
How do I know if I'm a good actor in the first place?
 Like most other things, you can usually tell. If you're not sure, you can perform something for friends or family members and ask for their honest opinions. Another option is to record yourself acting and then watch it yourself.
What can cause an actor to have a bad performance?
There are many reasons that an acting performance could be bad, including overacting, being too stiff, forgetting your lines, not speaking loud enough, etc.
How do I talk to characters and the audience?
You are always talking to the characters, but if you want to talk to the audience at the same time, look at the audience while talking.
What if I die in the scene?
 Dying is one of the most fun things to do as an actor. Watch movies with death scenes to see how the professionals do it. Then analyze your scene to understand if the death is dramatic or subtle.
What if our director gives us very detailed instruction for what to do on stage, but we want to add more?
Don't add more. The director knows what's best for the show, and going against his/her specific comments may result in you not being hired by that company again. Do what the director tells you to, and you are golden.
How do I act like a ghost?
Keep your head down, be quiet when you move and cultivate and eerie presence.
What if I trip or fall on stage?
 Just go along with it and improvise your way back into the scene. Think of what your character would do if he/she fell.