Can you teach someone to be a great actor?

The question ‘Can you teach someone to be a great actor?’ is in the same family of questions as: can you teach someone to be a great novelist, or can you teach someone to be a great artist or a photographer? The response depends on the person answering the question. Personally, I think this can be achieved with the right skills-based training and encouragement (and a bit of help from Luck himself). But, the first step on this journey starts at school!

If you are teaching Acting Skills as part of the new Edexcel BTEC in Performing Arts, then these three exercises will help support you in honing your students’ skills during Unit 1: Individual Showcase.

  1. Audition adverts: Either in pairs or individually, ask students to highlight the key phrases from an audition advert and identify the important qualities and skills the company is looking for in an applicant. Then encourage students to identify their own skills, knowledge and experience related to the person specification from the advert.
  2. Pace: Ask students to stand in one corner of the room. Get them to travel one at a time in a diagonal line across the space, reading an extract from a script as quickly as they can while moving as slowly as possible. When every student has crossed the room, get them to cross back the other way, this time reading their speech as slowly as they can while moving as quickly as possible. This is a difficult exercise to master but the aim is to highlight how performance doesn’t work all at one pace, it will change, just as the thought processes change, and the key is to find the pace shape that suits your extract.
  3. The Good Audition: In small groups, students should devise a five-minute performance called ‘The Good Audition’. The scenario could be an audition for a talent show, or could be for a production or performance training institution – it is up to the students. The important thing is that the performance must demonstrate their understanding of ‘good audition practice’. Students should take on different roles within the performance, such as the audition panel / judges, the person/people auditioning, etc.

All of the above, and so much more, have been taken from the new resource Acting Skills Pathway: Unit 1 Teaching Companion. This pack gives you all you need to deliver this unit in one place. It includes lesson plans for cover 15 Guided Learning Hours with engaging activities, worksheets ready-made to hand out, including application letter templates, audition piece selection worksheet, rehearsal logs and many more! It also includes case studies and examples to support lessons and to inspire students’ learning. Plus, it includes two practice assignments and supportive PowerPoint presentations.

Independent reviewers say:
“I would certainly use this resource – it gives my lesson by lesson break down of what to do and also it provided all the resources to run the lesson. A very thorough approach to this unit which covers every angle and provides not only good planning, activities but also good examples of completed work.” B Chapman, Head of Performing Arts

“Very thorough and well-resourced. Particularly good for anyone new to teaching or to this course. I particularly liked the resources on skills with accompanying exercises. I have long felt this was an unclear area of the BTEC requirements and this material would help me.” S Burford, Head of Drama

Available as a photocopy master with site licence (£79): also available as a printable PDF file (£79+30%+vat) and an editable Word file (£79+50%+vat). To preview the resource and order, please go to:

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