Great acting schools should approach theatre and film from the same core fundamental teaching. Of course, some of the best acting schools will have a specialization. No one can argue with the fact that acting for the screen and the stage is different. But the fundamentals of acting are the same and the best acting teachers and schools understand this.

I hear some industry professionals say “if you want to get into film or TV then go to XYZ” or “this drama school is so great for getting people into film” or “if you want to be a great film actor then go to XYZ” – ignore them. Don’t try and play these games. A good acting college should instill an artistic foundation which you can apply to all forms of acting.

I’m not going to go into the difference between acting in film, TV, and theatre because I cover that extensively in other articles and in my books. See: 3 Best books on Acting
What I am going to do is give a general overview of whether this question matters – hint: I don’t think it does as much as people think.

The UK has a plethora of fantastic drama schools that teach world-class theatrical training. As proof, it seems every year we get more Oscar nominations from British actors who have gone through classical training. That is a testament to the brilliant training that a lot of these academies offer.

You have the older institutions with great brand names like: RADA, Guildhall, LAMDA, RWCMD and Central. Then you’ve got the younger institutions that are more up-and-coming such as: East 15, Rose Bruford, GSA.

A rule to remember is that you do tend to find that agents and casting director believe the “best” theatrical training comes from the older institutions. A great example would be Bristol Old Vic which has an envious reputation for its theatrical training. It’s vocal, physical and theoretical training is considered some of the best in the world. Likewise, and on the opposite side of the coin, there are certain schools that are very “in fashion” depending on the crop of students. Schools that focus much more on screen acting such as ALRA.

Agents and Casting Directors will talk amongst themselves and say “I’ve heard this year at Royal Scottish are fantastic!” Or their own opinion of which school offers the best training.

However, I want to say to you that the most important thing is not whether a school is going to do XYZ for you in the industry it’s whether it develops you as an artist. It’s a subtle difference but it all depends on whether you…

GO WITH YOUR GUT

You clicked on this article because you wanted me to give you an easy answer. I’m afraid I can’t offer that. Any of the names I’ve specified in this article and the others I talk about in accredited drama schools are worth your time:
https://howtodrama.com/accredited-drama-schools-uk/(opens in a new tab)

I could debate with industry professionals for hours whether the voice training at RADA is better than at Italia Conti or Mountview but it doesn’t matter if none of those schools suit you. You have to do your research and figure out whether a school, its teachers and its methodology are right for you.

A SIDE NOTE

Going back to my point about British actors who get Oscar nominations – does that not seem slightly strange to you? Let’s take Daniel Day-Lewis for example. He studied at Bristol Old Vic yet he is a “method actor” known for his film parts. That is a juxstaposition if every I saw one. Bristol Old Vic’s reputation is built on delivering outstanding theatrical training but its most famous student is a film star. Why is that?

It goes as evidence to my original point: great acting has the same fundamentals whether it’s done on screen, on a stage or anywhere else. Daniel Day-Lewis did extensive theatrical work in the 80’s as well as some truly world class screen acting in small bit parts.

In the UK we have a history and a heritage of offering great theatrical training. That seems to translate very well for when those same actors get in front of a camera.

The point is, don’t look at whether schools have a reputation for educating you in specialist theatre or film courses. Instead, research as to whether they get right the fundamental teachings of acting. Once you have that in place then you’re on to a winner. Furthermore, in the UK it’s difficult to go wrong as you’re studying in some of the best colleges and schools in the world for acting.