How to Get Ahead in Acting

Article excerpt

Byline: by Kay Smith

FROM Sean Connery as James Bond to David Tennant playing Hamlet, Scots have successfully filled many of the greatest acting roles on stage and on the big screen.

But for most who follow an acting career, it is a precarious profession, leaving many 'resting' - the euphemism for unemployed - for months or even years.

Undeterred by the fickle nature of the business, hundreds of young Scots try to carve out a successful acting career each year.

Now a new course aims to give would-be Scots actors a solid grounding in theatrical and cinematic skills.

With [pounds sterling]300,000 backing from the Scottish Funding Council over five years, the twoyear Honours BA in Acting for Stage and Screen took its first group of 16 students this academic session.

Run jointly by Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University and Napier University's School of Arts and Creative Industries, it aims to equip students to take on a range of acting roles.

Typically, students - who audition for entry - have completed two years of drama training up to HND level in further education colleges or the first two years of the existing Queen Margaret University drama degree.

Dr Donna Soto-Morettini, Napier University group leader for acting, said: 'Given the amount of acting work available, there are too many drama students coming out of further education in Scotland. But we are at least enabling them to articulate their initial training into more advanced courses and to develop the skills they need to ensure they have a good basis for making a living out of acting.'

The Screen and Media Academy at Napier University provides television and film equipment for use by the acting students.

Dr Soto-Morettini said: 'We now have the facilities to offer camera acting experience in a way more specialist drama courses cannot.

'The aim is to develop graduates who are critical and reflective independent practitioners and who are immediately employable within both the theatre and film sectors.'

The BA students are honing their acting skills in a former church, refurbished by the Scottish Funding Council at a cost of [pounds sterling]150,000, in the Morningside area of Edinburgh.

They are also providing acting talent for the Screen and Media Academy's undergraduate and postgraduate film projects. …