Does theatre in US involve singing?

by Ruchi
(India)

QUESTION:

Hi. I am a 28 years old female form India. Here acting and singing are two different careers. Actors aren't expected to sing. We have playback singers for that. I'm older than most people who want to start acting and since I have no experience at all I want to join an acting academy or school. I'm a fan of American TV and movies and would love to make a career out of it. So I was thinking of joining a school in the US starting with a beginners program. But I checked and most schools ask you to audition with monologues and solos. I can't sing to save my life plus I know musical theatre is not for me. But all the schools are for theatre. Is there a form of theatre that does not involve singing? Also I don't have the kind of money required to pay fees for a good college. Would joining an academy in NYC or LA help or would it just be a waste of my time and money? I know I can do this if I manage to find the right school and sufficient funds. Also I know that I want to act for the camera. Thrill of a live audience is what every actor likes, but TV and movies are my ultimate goal. Is there a way I could study the art from a good school without having to rob a bank and be able to focus more on skills required for the camera? Please help. I'd really appreciate any advice you could give me. Since I'm an adult I know my strengths and weaknesses and I know I can do this if I could just get started.

ANSWER:

It's true that a lot of acting schools require a song as part of the audition, but not all. There's plenty of straight theatre acting in the United States, although some schools consider that a "triple threat" (a performer who can act, sing and dance) is a more versatile actor with more opportunities to find work.

Some colleges offer a BFA in acting or musical theatre performance, giving the student the option to focus on what they want to do. Beyond expensive colleges, there are also a range of acting schools that just teach the craft conservatory-style. A few focus on film acting, while the majority of schools focus on teaching an acting method, with additional classes in acting for the camera, cold reading techniques, auditioning workshops, etc. Some are full-time acting programs (1 to 3 years), some are part-time, and the tuition varies greatly depending on the school and program, so look around. Acting for film is not that big of an adjustment. What's important is finding a good acting method that works for you and developing a way to work as an actor.

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