If you want to get into acting, either as a hobby or as a potential career in the future, you might think that acting is as simple as picking up a script and delivering your lines convincingly, letting your raw talent shine through.
While putting on a believable and honest performance is certainly one part of acting, the truth is that, like any skill, there are ways that you can develop your acting abilities to enable you to become a better performer.
Seeing as the better an actor you are, the more likely you are to improve your chances of impressing a casting director and landing new roles and more work, there’s plenty of reason to try and become the best actor that you can possibly be.
With that in mind, how would an actor – aspiring or established – go about getting better at their craft?
The answer lies in understanding that there is a range of acting classes you can take, from:
- Audition technique classes;
- Improvisation courses;
- Scene study classes, where you might practice anything from Shakespeare to something more contemporary; to
- Sight reading classes, which are also known as cold reading classes.
One type of acting class that many actors find beneficial is an acting technique class. This article focuses on some of the different types of acting techniques that you might encounter at an acting school or "drama classes near me", and also outlines what you might expect to encounter when going to an acting technique class and working with an acting teacher.
What Acting Techniques Are Out There?
Although there are a few famous acting techniques out there – method acting and improv perhaps being some of the most well-known among the general public – there are lots of different techniques that actors can sink their teeth into.
Below are just a few of the most popular acting techniques that you are likely to be taught about during an acting technique class.
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The Meisner technique is another popular acting technique that is taught in many different drama schools and acting classes.
Developed by Sanford Meisner, this acting technique encourages the actor to be present and focus on their emotions, responding, acting and reacting truthfully to their acting partner in any given moment.
This focus on truthful and emotional performance should then increase the overall authenticity of the actor’s performance.
Another widely taught technique, the Stanislavsky method asks the actor to delve into their inner emotions, self-reflect, and ultimately ask themselves how they would respond to a situation that was unfolding in the script.
One of the ideas of this method of acting is that the actor should be able to understand and feel the emotions of their character. This should, in turn, lead to a more honest and truthful performance.
Based on the teachings of Stanislavsky, this particular type of acting technique was developed by figures such as Lee Strasberg. It encourages an actor to connect emotionally with their character and the thoughts that their character might have, to the point where the actor can essentially bring that character to life.
As mentioned above, method acting is a well-known form of acting. Some famous actors who have trained using the method acting technique that you may have heard of are:
- Angelina Jolie;
- Jack Nicholson;
- Christian Bale;
- Joaquin Phoenix; and
- Daniel Day-Lewis.
How Do I Know Which Acting Technique Is Right For Me?
Ultimately, you might decide to focus on one particular type of acting technique, or you may draw inspiration from a variety of different types.
The best way to find out which techniques and acting approaches most resonate with you is to learn as much as you can about the different acting techniques available. For example, in addition to the above techniques, there are also techniques such as the Practical Aesthetics acting technique and the Chekhov technique that you can learn about at acting schools or with the help of an instructor.
It may also be useful to see actors perform, both on camera and on stage, using various acting methods so that you can see how each technique can differ and shine a different light on a particular performance.
For example, watching films that feature well-known method or improvisational actors may give you further insight into those types of acting techniques.
However, one of the best ways to decide whether an acting technique is right for you is to simply practice that technique yourself, whether through performing a monologue or monologues or by attending workshops where you can practice and improve your confidence in a given technique.
For example, if you attend a scene study class, you might be asked to perform a scene using a variety of different techniques in order to showcase their differences. This should not only help develop your own acting skills but can also highlight which areas of a given technique you need further work on to improve your performances.
Similarly, attending an acting technique class, such as an intensive class, can be a great way to completely focus on an acting technique or several techniques. What's more, it can give you the opportunity to become more familiar with that technique and how it influences (and hopefully enhances) your performances.
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Are There Acting Courses Available That Teach Acting Techniques?
Acting technique classes and courses are just one type of acting class that you can find across the UK. Given how important acting techniques can be when it comes to auditioning for roles and improving an actor’s overall skills, it’s reassuring to know that there are plenty of acting technique courses available, whether you live in London, Birmingham, or elsewhere in the UK.
In terms of what you might study during an acting technique class, there’s no set syllabus that each course or workshop follows. Rather, the content of the course will vary from provider to provider, so it’s up to you to do your research and try to find a course that should equip you with the skills that you’re looking to learn.
One important feature of acting technique classes to note is the fact that some classes and acting coaches might focus on just one acting technique, such as method acting or the Meisner technique. Other classes might teach their participants about a range of different techniques.
This means that, when looking for courses, it’s worth knowing in advance whether you’d like to develop and refine your knowledge of one particular acting technique, or whether you’d benefit from learning about a range of different techniques.
For example, if you’re relatively new to acting and would consider yourself a beginner, it may be more beneficial in the first instance to attend an acting technique class that introduces you to a range of acting styles and techniques. That way, you can find a technique that appeals to you, and then you can take the time to develop a more in-depth knowledge of that technique in a dedicated class.
The City Academy in London is an example of one establishment that offers an acting beginners course that covers a wide range of acting techniques, from method acting to Stanislavsky.
If you do find that you’re struggling to find a course in your local area that teaches the acting techniques that you’d like to learn more about, or you’re concerned that you won’t be able to make the times for each class, then one other way to learn more about acting techniques is through the help of a drama or acting tutor.
Superprof has a wide range of acting tutors available across the UK for both in person and online courses. Some people like to work with a drama tutor due to the fact that:
- It gives them flexibility in deciding when they’d like to have their lessons;
- They can ask the tutor to provide personalised lessons and coaching tips; and
- They can learn more about the acting techniques that matter to them most and have the chance to practice those techniques as well.
By entering your postcode and the subject you’d like to study, Superprof should highlight the tutors that are available for tuition in your area.
With options for both one to one, workshop, group, and online study available, why not give it a try and see if you find your next drama tutor through a tutoring site? You never know, you may find that the added flexibility and convenience of tutoring work for you!