1. What’s a Drama School
This question has been succinctly answered in the first paragraph of this article. Please feel free to check it out if you desperately need this information. Otherwise, let’s continue, shall we?
2. What’s an Acting School
In the acting industry, acting schools represent private practices with a variety of different approaches to an actor’s training. These schools are usually formed by an acting teacher who either continues to teach small groups of actors on their own, or expand and hire a group of additional acting teachers to help out.
Acting schools do not provide any form of higher education degrees or certificates. The purpose of the majority of acting schools is very germane: train actors and turn them into better performers. Some acting classes also provide information for actors on the business and marketing side of this industry, as well as teach them how to audition for certain jobs.
There’s a variety of different acting schools that offer an even bigger variety of different acting classes. More on this you can read here.
3. Acting Schools vs. Drama Schools
Aspiring actors who are just catching up with the complicated terminology of the entertainment industry very often confuse acting schools with drama schools. The two are not the same. One is a higher education institution and the other is just a private school.
For example, legendary actors like Marlon Brando, Paul Newman or Al Pacino have indeed received their training in acting schools, taking a variety of group acting classes, which means they did not receive any degrees. And legendary actor Laurence Olivier received his acting training and degree from CSSD drama school. Do you see?
Pros and Cons (depending on how you look at it) of Drama Schools:
- Long-term training (3-4 years)
- Daily 8-5 classes Monday to Friday, which leaves no time to work or audition for acting jobs
- Big groups of actors being taught at the same time (up to 40 people)
- A lot of focus on body, movement, voice, Shakespeare and general acting
- Different tutor for each class
- Graduate showcases in the final year and introduction to talent agents
- Very high yearly costs of training
- A strong and accredited degree awarded on graduation
- A strong all-around training
- No exploration of emotional acting training and acting methods
- No classes and introduction to the business and marketing side of the acting career
Pros and Cons (again, depending on how you look at it) of Acting Schools:
- Various lengths of training, depending on a school and class (from 2 weeks up to 2 years)
- Different time slots for classes that allow flexibility to go to work and audition for acting jobs
- Most classes are taught in small groups (8 people tops)
- Not every schools does daily classes; majority of groups meet only 2-3 evenings a week
- One class is dedicated to only one subject of teaching
- Always the same one teacher teaching one class
- Very few schools arrange showcases and invite good talent agents
- A lot cheaper weekly/monthly/yearly cost, and you don’t have to pay all in advance
- Some acting teachers do bring casting directors or agents into their classes but rarely
- No degree or any kind of certification upon finishing the course of training
- A variety of acting classes to choose from: techniques, movement, voice, auditioning, etc.
- Some acting schools offer workshops where actors can learn all about how the industry works
- A recognizable acting teacher’s name on an actor’s resume which agents and casting directors value
It should be obvious that there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing either path. Ideally, an actor would take both paths, unfortunately by the time you’re done with formal training and all the available and necessary acting classes, about 8 years would pass by.
Whichever option — acting school or drama school — is more appealing depends entirely on your personal point of view and situation. Some budding actors cannot bear the idea of spending 3-4 years without audition for real acting jobs while others might want to receive a degree for all the hard work they’ve done.
It all comes down to what makes you happy. Just don’t forget that an actor’s ultimate aim should never be some piece of paper; it’s always about becoming a better performer, becoming one of the greats.