One of the major concerns of actors that are just starting out is the town they reside. “What is the best location to start acting,” is a question I often get asked, but the response is often the same.
Unless you’re living in one of the top three major acting cities of the world – London, Los Angeles or New York City – chances are that you also have your head wrapped around making a significant step by moving out to one of these metropolitan acting cities. Am I correct?
Well, you don’t necessarily have to do this. Or at least not yet. It all comes down to your goals, and there’s also plenty of alternatives to these famous acting cities.
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So let’s dive in and discuss what other locations for acting are there, and whether you need to move to London, Los Angeles, New York City, move to one of the below places, or maybe you don’t need to move at all.
Do you have to leave your hometown right now?
First of all, the rumors are true: the big three has the largest chunk of opportunities for aspiring actors. Here’s how this is broken down:
- Los Angeles – most film and TV jobs in the world
- New York City – capital of stage plays
- London – UK’s center for film, TV and stage plays
However, that doesn’t mean that all the projects are done there, and there are many locations with tons of casting done, filming productions and stage plays performed.
Fortunately, if you are an aspiring actor who is just taking off the ground, it’s possible that the pool of opportunities in your location hasn’t dried out yet.
Actors living in smaller town markets should take advantage of that. You can get more experience, more training and knowledge. Saving money is also easier in a smaller town than it is in an expensive city like London, Los Angeles or New York City.
Not only are those three cities extremely expensive, but the pressure that newcomers receive during the first year of staying there can sometimes make them jump in a car and drive back to where they came from without looking over their shoulder even once.
To put it simply, if you’re from one of the major cities, then good for you. But if you’re from a smaller market, don’t stress and use everything that is currently available to you. Do not rush, do not panic, do not think that you’re losing on opportunities.
The upside of taking first acting career steps in a smaller town is that there’s less competition.
Acting is a marathon, not a sprint, therefore building your momentum is what matters the most if you want to sustain your career long-term. Once you’ve taken the advantage of everything your location has to offer, then it may be time to start thinking about the move.
You can either take your chances and move to one of the big three cities, or take a safer bet and see what other great acting cities have on offer for you. Either choice has it’s pros and cons, so it’s all up to you.
11 Best Locations To Start an Acting Career
I will leave the big three cities out of this and focus on smaller markets within the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland (for now).
Please let me know in the comments below what other countries you’d like to see covered here, and we’ll continue researching and updating this article with more acting cities.
Since BBC’s headquarters moved there a few years ago, Manchester has been having some quality television work opportunities. Aside from that, Manchester is a top place for North England’s productions and a lot of casting for films, TV shows and reality TV are taking place there.
This huge city also has a great theatre scene for aspiring stage actors as well as some good acting and dialect coaches, and acting schools. There is an occasional job in Liverpool which isn’t that far from Manchester either.
Scotland’s biggest city can provide some television work opportunities for local actors. Small independent film productions are often casting and filming in Glasgow which is another good news if you’re currently staying there. Some good acting coaches are still teaching in Glasgow, and theatre supplies steady work not only to veterans but to fresh faces, too.
While not big on screen work, Edinburgh has an amazing comedy scene. Their theatres also attract a lot of outside visitors which means productions are being staged often and require actors.
Most importantly, once a year the city of Edinburgh stages The Fringe Festival, which is one of the best opportunities for good and serious actors to show off their skills and break into the industry.
Another England’s Northern city and while not as big on opportunities as Manchester, Birmingham does have some solid training and good theatres. Actors there can occasionally find television work, plenty of student films and due to its popularity as a big UK city, filming productions take their work there on a regular basis. Whether the actors are being cast in the city of Birmingham or not depends on the production.
Republic of Ireland
We have many great and known actors from Ireland that continue working in the US. Most of them have started acting in Dublin, so if you’re from Republic of Ireland, then its capital is definitely best location for an acting career.
It has a little bit of everything: films, TV and theatre. Filming is done in and around the town, and casting is usually done in Dublin itself.
A magical theatre city that is second best on staged productions in US, right after New York City. If you’re currently based over there or anywhere around, consider yourself lucky as this could easily be one of the best locations for an acting career in the US, and in the world.
If you’re passionate about theater work, don’t rush into moving to NYC — chances are that you might end up staying in Chicago for the rest of your life without ever running out of work. In addition to that, plenty of filming is also being done there.
One of the greatest America’s cities will not disappoint actors in the amount of opportunities it offers. Complete in both stage and film work, San Francisco also provides great acting coaches, acting classes and has a drama school listed on our top 20 best acting schools in the world.
San Francisco could easily be the third best place to be working for a US stage actor due to the amount of theatres it has, artistic people living there and a constant demand for new productions. The city, however, could be a very expensive place to live.
While not as big as any of the major cities or the ones above, Seattle will surprise any visitor by the vast amount of theatres they have. Stage actors will always have a place to find work in Seattle. The only issue for people moving there might be the rain — it never stops.
The cities that are in the vicinity of South Florida easily offer over 30 different theatres, which means plenty of work for stage actors. Half of these include union theaters.
Some filming and television work is done on occasion, however, whether the casting is done in South Florida or in one of the Big Three depends on the production. There is also a lot of commercial work concentrated in Miami, both filming and casting.
The state of Georgia, and specifically Atlanta, have been receiving a huge amount of television work lately. Most of the casting of pilots is still being done in Los Angeles, but since the cost of filming in Atlanta is significantly lower, some productions are moving their casting offices over there and will soon start casting from Atlanta.
There are rumors spreading around that a few years from now, Atlanta might become the next Hollywood, so if you’re anywhere near, consider it to be the best location for an acting career in your case.
Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have a good amount of theatre work as well as acting training. The center of Minnesota also has a few decent acting coaches, and they often organize various events for actors and those in love with the artistic scene. If you’re from the Twin Cities, don’t be in a hurry to move — take the time to explore the opportunities over there.
Disclaimer (sort of): If you’re not anywhere near the places mentioned above, don’t be disappointed, as the list is based on a small-scale research. For more information, you should do your own research on the best location for an acting career in your country.
As it has already been outlined in this article, your first priority is to have some achievement in your own country/city before moving anywhere. Get a name in a small market first before checking into one of the major cities, but do move eventually.