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Guide to UK Drama Schools

Further Information: UK's Top Drama School

If you dream of playing the lead part in a Hollywood blockbuster, a West End musical or a hit TV show, then the chances are youíre going to need to enrol in a drama school to learn the skills you need to be a top actor or actress.

There are hundreds of drama schools to choose from in the UK, including full-time drama schools, boarding drama schools, part-time drama schools, summer drama schools and Saturday drama schools, as well as specialist universities. So whether you want your child to go to drama school from the age of five, or you want to quit your mainstream secondary school to go to drama school, or even if you want to study for a National Council for Drama Training-accredited degree, then thereís a drama school for you in the UK.

Some of todayís top acting stars attended full-time drama school, while just as many other actors attended summer drama schools and Saturday schools and learned their trade in their spare time while still attending a mainstream school. In addition, some actors have a degree in drama and theatrical studies, while others have no drama-related qualifications at all. All this just goes to show that the many different types of drama schools offer their own benefits, and all can help you achieve your goal of becoming a star. So, really itís a matter of personal preference, finances and opportunity.

Whichever drama course you choose, from primary to secondary school courses, and undergraduate to post-graduate courses, you will learn a great deal about the industry and will be taught the skills and knowledge necessary to carve out a career in acting. Most students learn how to project their voice and move in a stage or screen environment, while others also learn how to sing, dance, stage fight and improvise, along with being taught backstage jobs, such as stage make-up, lighting and directing.

Whether you choose to study at a drama school or a university, you will find there are marked differences in the way you will learn about the profession. The main difference is that universities offer academic learning in the theories and history of drama, along with writing, stage management, prop design and sound, offering only limited performance training, while drama schools offer vocational courses, where students learn the tricks of the acting trade and can be seen by casting directors and agents before they graduate.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of study and the National Council for Drama Training advises budding actors and actresses to consider getting both academic qualifications and vocational training, either through a degree and then post-graduate training, or by joining a Saturday drama school while studying at university.

Itís safe to say there are many avenues to explore when it comes to an acting profession, and which way you train is just the start of them. However, most successful actors will tell you that joining a drama school, whether full-time or part-time is a great place to learn about the job
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