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 drama classes in 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!
If you want to learn to act, you should know that there is more to this field than just being able to remember lines. So, what are the different elements of the dramatic arts? Unless you choose to enrol on a theatre study course or acting degree, you may be faced with a decision about the area in which you wish to specialise.
Some of the numerous types of acting classes include:
If you want to cover multiple, if not all, of these areas, then you could opt for a full-time course in acting.
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.
For aspiring Mancunian actors, find acting classes in Manchester.
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 acting lessons near you may just be at the end of the next click!
Acting is helpful in real life situations. (Source: Unsplash)
Not everyone is lucky enough to have an excellent acting class on their doorstep, or to find someone local that they gel with and who can teach them a thing or two about acting. Or, at least, as far as they know. Did you know that your perfect acting coach could live just down the road from you, in the next town or even hundreds of miles away? With Superprof, you can unlock and discover the heaps of acting tutors that are available in your area and beyond, and who might be the key to helping you succeed in your chosen field.
Superprof is a leading platform connecting tutors with students, enabling them to establish working relationships either face to face or electronically (email, Skype and other video calling software are the popular choices). The huge, growing network of learners and professionals means that there is more choice, for both parties and therefore more suitable pairings can be made.
All it takes is a few clicks to find an acting coach on Superprof. Narrow down your search using your preferred criteria (location, qualifications, price etc…) and you could be working on improving your skills in no time at all!
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.
Anyone who has had even the smallest of taste of acting will admit that portraying a character is fun and oddly liberating. It’s a chance to forget about yourself and to dive into the shoes of someone else, fictional or real, so any financial worries, relationship troubles, work stress and other concerns vanish into thin air when you put on your new ‘face’.
Some people really are destined for the stage.
You hear about actors whose fathers were in the industry, whose fathers were also in the media and so on. Now, this can’t just be luck or because the individuals already have one foot in the door because of their parents and grandparents. They must have some set of particular skills, probably inherited and passed down from generation to generation.
Sure, it probably helps to know someone in the business, but it also certainly gives people an insight into what is great about being in the public eye and what its downfalls are. Being brought up around this world also undoubtedly gives them a certain level of confidence, not only in their craft but also in the way that they know what to expect and what is expected of them.
Taking yourself out of your comfort zone is one way to really find a sense of accomplishment. That is why I think that acting classes are the perfect way to bring an introvert’s personality and emotions to the surface and help them to realise that it is good to express themselves and to be heard (even if it is through the voice of their character initially!).
Furthermore, taking part in acting classes and rehearsals enables you to interact with other like-minded individuals in the class and results in combating shyness or awkwardness in social situations, thus vastly improving social skills. When you join an acting class, it is impossible not to develop new bonds and friendships, and to not learn how to be with other personalities because, when it comes down to it, acting is all about working with other people. You can’t choose the life of an actor and simply go it alone!
One of the other huge benefits to acting classes is that they encourage you to become focused on yourself and explore your own uniqueness and individuality – what you like and don’t like about yourself both visually and deep down. By learning to understand and, without sounding too cringe-worthy, love yourself better than ever before, you can also work on expressing yourself more effectively.
Interestingly, performing in front of an audience can teach you more about yourself than you could have discovered on your own!
Finally, if you are a beginner in the world of acting, then any small accomplishment (like walking through the door on that first day!) can feel like you have overcome a big hurdle. Reaching new goals and challenging yourself culminates in a great sense of achievement and is often the best cure for low self-esteem and conquering your fears.
With acting being such a confidence booster, many companies are taking note and getting their teams involved in some lighthearted role-playing.
Managers can easily change their team dynamics with a group acting class which will have everyone out of the comfort of their desks and interacting with each other in new ways.
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!
Drama classes are a great way to fine tune your communication skills, and particularly to enhance your ability to listen. This does not mean your ability to simply hear and process an instruction, it means to receive an instruction, truly understand it and respond to it in an appropriate manner.
Many would say that speaking and listening are skills that are dying out thanks to digital communication, but when it comes down to it and technology fails us, our personal interaction is always there and ready for action. And, truthfully, there are few scenarios in life where it is better to put something down in writing to convey a really important message.
Acting classes teach you about physical movement and expression, which includes helping you to show that you are listening as well as helping you to actually listen.
During your acting workshop, you will learn about body language and posture (like smiling, making eye contact and nodding your head as nonverbal cues) as well as vocal coaching tips which help you to master the art of timing (i.e. not interrupting, summarising and paraphrasing).
Lastly, did you know that acting can also help with social inclusion? In nearby Coventry the Belgrade Theatre endeavours 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. This could be a godsend for many who secretly feel out of the loop at work or who struggle to make those important connections with colleagues, thus holding them back.
Are you a Birmingham resident and looking for an opportunity to get your 15 minutes of fame, or more? While acting roles can be hard to come by, even if you are fully qualified and experienced, some get lucky and can get cast in roles without any previous acting experience at all. It all comes down to how you audition on the day, so it is worth keeping your eyes and ears open for those golden opportunities that could be the start of something exciting.
Starnow, an auditions and job website for actors, is one great place to start. Not only do they make finding acting jobs easier, they also bring together a whole range of opportunities that could take weeks of painstaking work to discover. For instance, they offer an insight into the musical jobs that are open at any given time, advertise for photographers and videographers, and much much more.
As it currently stands, you can conduct a search on their website for the following categories of work within the Birmingham area:
As many aspiring actors will know, getting your foot through the door is so important.
This is why opening up your search to look at jobs that are indirectly linked to performing on stage (such as working backstage, for example) could get you that exposure you need and allow you to make good connections with people in the business. Not only that but you can then boast that you know more about the running of stage shows, for instance, thanks to having worked behind the scenes and gained this valuable experience and insight that other actors may not have been privy to.
Any job in the showbiz world has got to be an interesting one!
You can discover Scotland with acting classes in Glasgow!