The earliest traces of performances and drama in Birmingham can be retraced back to the 18th century. Perhaps it is all that history that has gotten you inspired to seek out acting classes in good old Brum. Also, did you know that the Sutton Coldfield transmitting station was the first television service outside of London in 1949? A disservice to the theatre arts, Birmingham could be considered as a pioneering British city.
Today “The Rep” on Centenary Square is the emblem of modern theatre in the Midlands, its resident company tours nationally and regularly shows in London’s West End. Other major venues include the Blue Orange Theatre, The Alexandra Theatre and the Birmingham Hippodrome, the Crescent Theatre, the Custard Factory and the Old Joint Stock Theatre.
Other disciplines are not left behind, the Birmingham Royal Ballet is world renowned and has performed across many continents. While The Birmingham Opera Company and its current artistic director Graham Vick is internationally known for its forward-thinking productions often staged in unusual settings in homage to the city’s industrial past.
Birmingham has also been eyed up for feature films since Steven Spielberg was spotted around Digbeth area directing scenes for an upcoming blockbuster there just last spring. Successful series Peaky Blinders also contributed to showcasing the city’s great potential for a heritage filled film set beyond period drama.
Aspiring thespians rejoice the city has also received a lump sum (£24m) from The British Film Institute (BFI) towards the promotion of performing arts education and culture. A cost-effective alternative to London, Birmingham is on track to becoming a major acting hub in the near future. The choice of education in dramatic arts alone and independent acting programs are sure to offer something for all prospective performers!
Do you reside in the Midlands and are looking for solid acting courses at a leading institution? Birmingham has a few choices of institutions from classic instruction to more open-minded education.
The prestigious Royal Birmingham Conservatoire offers drama and music education at undergraduate and postgraduate level. also doubles up as a concert venue. You will also be able to pursue at a doctoral level disciplines related to the performing arts like musicology, music history and performance practice. Fees for the accredited BA Hons Acting degree amount up to £9,250 per year.
Midlands Academy of Musical Theatre has chosen a quicker route to the three-year standard postgraduate course shortening it to two. You’ll be in the right place to focus for an intense 24 months acting program taught by tutors with West End, or even Broadway, experience. Moreover, learning how to act in state of the art purpose-built rehearsal studios is something else ! Performance experience is guaranteed every term. Tutorship is of the utmost importance here so you will be assigned an advisor for the whole course to mentor you with personalised sessions. The two-year course is £20,000 but reduced to £15,000 for early bird registration.
For those with previous acting training, the Birmingham Theatre School created a one-year full-time curriculum for young adults over 18 years old. Requirements are loose but dedication and rigorous professionalism are informal prerequisites. If you wish to pursue a career in acting then this is a place for you. Beyond the fundamental course components, the school also provides guidance on how to manage your own career by visiting professionals, as securing a talent agent in the early years is difficult. Weekly classes include basic dramatic training but also stage combat, movement, and physical theatre as well as acting on camera. Students are encouraged to present a minimum of five performances with different styles from Shakespeare to contemporary. The thirty-three-week course will just set you back £1,150.
Aspiring thespians will find a wonderful outlet for their passion in Birmingham. (Source: Unsplash)
Since 1997 Class Act Drama Centre provides a range of training programs be it, weekly classes, shorts courses and workshops. Both adults and children across the Midlands are welcome to learn the craft of becoming a performer. The centre also produces many stage shows and film projects every year. The fifteen-week foundation course costs 150£ & the acting for camera course costs £220 for twelve weeks.
Acting For Screen admits aspiring thespians of all levels and repertoires. Trained actors come here to develop character awareness as novices hone fundamental skills and gain confidence in a safe environment. Auditioning workshops for film and commercials complete with cold reading and monologues will help you polish your talent. The training program includes several exercises to focus body, mind and creative energy, improvisational scenarios, script work and at the end a group critique of footage recorded during the class. The term course lasts twelves weeks and classes take place twice a week from 7 pm to 10 pm. To apply simply send in your resume, headshot and a brief cover letter
Another screen acting school, First Act Workshops, favours a more hands-on approach. Here young actors and actresses will be expected to participate in creative productions and learn on the job. Founder Ross Berkeley Simpson’s workshops sometimes directly cast talented students into ongoing production. With strong ties to the filmmaking industry, tutors carry a wealth of entertainment industry experience. In the West Midlands, it is the only place that runs a “Film Acting” course that develops short films and showreels for budding actors and actresses.
For children and young talents, there is a number of dramatic arts centres offering training in all types of performing arts (acting, singing, and dancing). Children over four years old can attend Stagecoach Edgbaston’s Saturday morning summer courses, from April to June, for a total cost of £165. The centre offers a two week trial period for all courses for those unsure about acting.
The Stage school makes a priority to building confidence in young talents and give them opportunities to enter shows locally and in London each year. Students come from neighbouring areas to Solihull like Birmingham, Tamworth, Coventry and surrounding areas. Lastly, the opportunity to enter LAMDA, and embark on a graduating diploma, attracts students looking to start strong an acting career. The three-hour Saturday morning sessions cost on average £20. Weekly evening courses cost around £40 for a six-week term.
Finally, Birmingham’s famous Repertory Theatre houses the Youth Theatre, a company that trains young talents from ages 17 to 25 years. Joining their acting program leads to performance opportunities to theatrical showcases all over the West Midlands.
In addition to formal actor training, the right advice to push through a technical aspect when preparing for an audition or a role. Many confirmed actors still call upon the services of an acting coach. Someone like professional acting coach Kieran Vyas, also a Royal Birmingham Conservatoire graduate, can give up useful tips on expanding your repertoire.
You can find a coach with the right kind of experience to help you harness a new acting method. Be it a one-on-one singing lesson or putting together the right portfolio ahead of a casting call, a focused session with a seasoned professional can do wonders for your growth as an actor.
If you don’t know where to start, why not have a look online on a platform dedicated to connecting tutors and students. The right acting coach for you may just be at the end of the next click!
Acting is helpful in real life situations. (Source: Unsplash)
Do you keep telling your coworkers about the latest film you saw? Or love the theatre so much you wish you could at least once stand on those floorboards? Why not share your passion and by the same token improve team spirit at work? Drama exercises can help people communicate more efficiently and gain confidence. Introverts and shy personalities will come away with tools to find their footing in anxiety-inducing social situations.
Change your team dynamics with a group acting class which will have everyone out of their daily mental space. The Class Act Drama Centre offers bespoke workshops for corporate, educational and media training. An asset for everyone at all levels, acting out roles in a different setting will disrupt the office’s hierarchical structure. Who knows some of your colleagues might discover themselves a budding thespian!
Lastly, did you know that acting can also help with social inclusion? In nearby Coventry the Belgrade Theatre endeavors to enrich the community through adult acting classes. Through working with people to get their confidence back and learn to confidently interact with one another, the theatre is doing wonders for the citizens. Who knew going to rehearsal could do so much good!