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  • Writer's pictureWaterfront Theatre School

Looking to study Drama?

To do or not to do? Is that the Question? A Guide to choosing the right Acting Course.

Which acting course should I take? Do I really need acting classes? Will acting classes help?

Whilst there exist many different theories on Acting, it is important to remember – first and foremost – that Acting is a practical activity. Whilst influenced by theories, the act of acting requires practical application. Any acting course worth its weight in gold should therefore prioritises action.

Whilst considering your options, determine the extent to which the acting course you are looking at is theoretical. Identify the ratio between theory and physical practice. Lean towards the programme that emphasises practice. Remember the adage: Practice makes perfect!

But what kind of practice should be prioritised? Performance Practice? Or Rehearsal Practice?

What’s the difference?

Simply put – the former helps you to develop confidence on stage and the other helps to develop technical skills you can apply in the rehearsal room.

How do I differentiate between the two types?

Let’s first look at Performance Practice.

Performance Practice is Experiential Learning.

What is Experiential Learning in a Drama School?

Experiential training offers learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as ‘learning through reflection on doing’. Experiential training enables a student to:

  • Immediately apply knowledge within an acting class;

  • Access real–time coaching

  • Learn though observation and interaction and

  • Collaborate and work as a team in a drama class through reflective practice habits.

Experiential learning offers a continuous process of learning and development by adopting the basic steps of ‘do, reflect and apply’.

Now let’s explore Rehearsal Practice.

Rehearsal Practice is Technical Learning.

How does Technical Learning work in an Acting Course?

Technical training offers opportunities to initially learn and subsequently master job-specific technical skills. It gives you the tools to help you make your own acting choices, rather than relying on external coaching to do it for you. This works beautifully in collaboration with a director, as you have brought your solid technique to the party. The initial focus is on building core skills such as:

  • Effective communication and storytelling through detailed scene analysis

  • Understanding how the voice and body articulate thoughts and feelings

  • Improvisation

  • Vocal production

  • Accessing emotional truth, authenticity and vulnerability

All of this is achieved through a range of varied methodologies and approaches. Students engage with these technical skills, inspired by the understanding that technical prowess positively impacts the real work they are training to do.

An ideal training scenario is the one where the learning model is a combination of both models: a drama school offering both Experiential and Technical learning.

Where can I find such a school?

At WTS we appreciate that acting is a craft – a practical activity involving key skills.

Various masters have developed key acting skills over many years: masters who have developed a range of tangible acting techniques - acting techniques that can be taught and conversely – learnt.

Through experiential practice – these acting techniques - these technical skills - can first be acquired and then developed to a level of proficiency, to a level of mastery.

And what about Qualifications?

Do I even need a certificate to do the job?

Is a Degree better than a Diploma?

Any qualification confirms that you have completed a course of study and developed a set of skills specific to that course of study. Whilst it may not get you the job…it will certainly help you to get in the door.

But remember…in the performing arts – ability is more important than qualification.

To prove ability, you will first have to audition and an invitation to audition will only be forthcoming if there is some guarantee that you have the skills to do the job! Qualifications offer that guarantee. They confirm that you have reached a certain level of skill relevant to the job.

And even more importantly - a qualification - any qualification, transforms your status from ‘unskilled’ to ‘skilled’.

Whilst many believe that a Degree is better than a Diploma the truth is that in terms of level, they are exactly the same.

What differentiates a degree from a diploma is that the degree has an academic (theoretical) focus whilst the diploma is more practical.

At WTS we offer international qualifications in Performance and Teaching accredited by Trinity College London and The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

At WTS, we offer courses that make your talent tangible.

In addition to teaching technical skills, we also provide varied opportunities for practice. Culminate your training with the guarantee you need to work in the global creative economy.

Start your tomorrow, today!


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