Is acting talent and training necessary to begin a career in the theatre?

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Answered by: Michelle, An Expert in the Acting Basics Category
Acting talent and training is an oxymoron. Talent is in the "eye of the beholder" and believe me, everyone has an opinion. Some of the most successful actors have been told at one time or another by teachers or directors, or even their own friends and families, that they have no talent and would be better off in law school. They have been proven wrong time and time again. If you are drawn to the craft and enjoy performing, embrace those feelings, find a way to start training and toss the word talent into the toilet. If you live in a city or a town where there is an active theatre community you've got a head start. Book a ticket and go watch a show. Watch the actors. Take it all in. Become aware of everything that supports them... costumes, lighting, sound, the set. Get to know the people involved and ask if you can watch a rehearsal. There you will get a sense of how the director works with the actors and guides them through to opening night. Offer to help in any way you can... building sets, painting scenery, sewing costumes, or even sweeping the floor. When you are ready, audition for a part. It's on the job training! Classes and workshops are other ways to get your feet wet. Check out the teachers and the workshop leaders and their methods of training. Pay attention to how the workshop leader or teacher relates to his or her students. The best teachers will encourage their students to experiment and make acting choices that are individual to them. They will not force their will. In other words, they will coax the students to discover the uniqueness within themselves. Talk to the students in the class or to the actors in the workshops and ask them about their progress. An important thing to look for is how the students relate to each other. Are they supportive or completive? There is no place for competition on stage. It literally kills the show. When actors are working together magic happens, everything comes to life and the audience is in their hands. If you've gotten this far and are excited about your involvement in training as an actor, that illusive work talent is no longer an issue. You are on your way to an exciting life changing experience. So far I've been talking about acting for the stage because I believe that it's the foundation for acting training. Film acting requires learning additional skills, but with theatre experience and training behind you film techniques will come much easier. Remember, there is no one like you and what you have to offer is unique. Don't be a copy cat. Be yourself. Be open to learning new things about yourself and be excited an willing to share those qualities with your audience. Above all, don't listen to anyone who tells you that you do or don't have talent. Remember acting talent and training is an oxymoron. Grab hold and enjoy the adventure.

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