Performing for a full house is a dream for many aspiring actors. But although you might hope to put on a performance that inspires every member of the audience to rise from their seat and applaud, that generally doesn’t happen overnight. Typically, it takes time and training to become a famous actor that audiences are eager to see. A beginning actor needs to first learn and then master their trade as they work their way into the theaters and roles that best showcase their skills. This not only involves educating yourself about acting in the theater, but it also requires access to the right resources as well as dedication, determination, and talent.

The first step toward a career in theater is learning the basics. Ideally, you’ll do this by enrolling in college courses, local workshops, or acting classes. You can learn the basics of acting in either personal, one-on-one sessions with an acting coach or in a group acting class. Acting games and exercises you’ll learn in class can help you with warming up, character, improvisation, and other techniques that will be useful as you prepare for roles. But it’s not strictly required for you to take acting classes to become an actor: If you live somewhere where you don’t have access to good classes, you can learn a lot about things like building a character, memorizing lines efficiently, and other acting basics by using resources on the Internet. Videos, articles, and books can all give you tips and help teach you how to improve your skills.

As an actor, your voice will be an important tool, so it’s important that it be trained and exercised. You can find plenty of scripts and monologues online that you can use for practice, and recording yourself can help you get a better perspective on how you sound and how you move as you try to embody the character. When you’re acting, especially in a theater, you need to be able to speak clearly and project your voice so that the audience can plainly hear what you’re saying from their seats.

Learning a new dialect can be tricky, but knowing multiple dialects can come in handy by allowing you to win a greater variety of roles. An actor should never wing it when it comes to an accent or make it so strong that it becomes a distraction. For that reason, dialect coaches are invaluable for many actors who are preparing for characters with a foreign or even regional accent. In general, you should practice new dialects regularly, even when you’re shopping, riding the bus, or otherwise going about your daily life.

Auditioning is arguably one of the most important things that an actor must master. Although it can be frightening, particularly for people who are new to acting, it’s something that you’ll need to do regularly if you want roles. When auditioning, always bring your acting résumé and a professional photo of yourself. Make sure to be punctual, honest, confident, and charismatic during the audition, taking care to make your first impression count. Preparation is key to having a good audition, to make sure to read the script ahead of time so you’re comfortable with it. And if you mess up something during your audition, just keep going, rather than starting over.

Getting Started

Voice, Speech, & Dialect

Games & Exercises

Shakespeare

theatre masks

Monologues and Practice Scripts

More Resources