Life after college...New York vs. London

<p>I don't know if this has already been discussed else where but does anybody know about life as an actor in New York vs. life as an actor in london? Is london less or more competative? Do they put on as many shows as Broadway does? There doesnt seem to be as many musical theater programs in the UK so i am wondering where their actors are coming from? I also heard that it is difficult to get cast in a show if you are an american in london, is that true?</p>

<p>Don't know about how it is in london, but the AEA rules state that foreign actors can only be cast if they are a celebrity. This was done to secure jobs for American actors. I am not sure in london and the union (if any) rules are in england. </p>

<p>I don't have any real facts to base this on, but I feel like if Broadway is your ultimate goal, why would you leave NYC?! Same reason as why you would attend college in NYC for acting. Otherwise apply to another program like OCU. You can get amazing training there and living costs would be very affordable, until you move to NYC.</p>

<p>TheaterGuy -</p>

<p>My D and I were having this very discussion this morning. NYC or not for school. She believes that if it is your goal to work in NY then why not take advantage of being in college in the city to become familiar, make contacts, etc. She also feels like she would have the advantage of taking classes outside of her college curriculum at great dance and acting studios that are available in the city. This is as opposed to going to a college with a strong MT program in a city where she never wants to live or work....</p>

<p>What do you think??</p>

<p>Oh no, I totally agree! I am saying I think if NYC is where you want to end up, thats where you should go! I just feel there is so much more of an advantage, even for simple things, of going to school in NYC. Even stuff like using the subway, or when an audition says to be at a certain studio, you know where it is. What I was saying is, if NYC is where you ultimately want to end up, why would you go anywhere else?</p>

<p>ps...I know 2 girls who go to NOCCA...I know one of their dad's is a poster on here, but possibly your daughter is the other one! Did your daughter go to the CAP 21 summer program?!</p>

<p>On the MT programs in the UK note, a lot of people in MT over here have done straight acting degrees. For example, one of my best friends at uni is dead set on an MT career (and is marvellously talented) and he chose to study Acting rather than MT. There also seem to be a significant number who have gone to stage schools (performing arts schools).
One may be slightly more competitive than the other, but not significantly. MT is an exceptionally hard career choice here too, with the usual "better practice your waitressing skills" common.
I've always got the impression that Broadway and the West End put on a roughly equal number of shows. Certainly, there's loads of shows on in London....oh dear, I'm yearning for the West End now :(</p>

<p>Yeah i completely agree with you Theaterguy. But i happen to like london more than new york. I wanted to apply to MT schools in the UK but i couldnt really find many of them. Plus I couldnt afford to go to the UK for school auditions so i guess i am asking if anyone ever gets MT degrees in the US and then goes to london? I have heard that west end isnt as competative but i dont know if that is true. Thats so interesting that people get acting degrees instead of MT even though it is so big over there.</p>

<p>Here's a link to the members of the UK's The</a> Conference of Drama Schools. They have MT courses at the Central School of Speech and Drama, GSA Conservatoire, LIPA, Mountview, Rose Bruford, and the Royal Scottish Academy. There might be more, but that's what my search found. Also, I think "course" is equivalent to "major" over there but I'm not completely sure ... Much like their BA is the equivalent of our BFA and vice versa and they drive on the left side of the road. ;)</p>

<p>I don't think that London is any less competitive than NYC for theatre. It's comparable, many say even better!, than NYC for productions at any given time. Here are a few links which show what is currently playing in each city:</p>

<p>NYC -</p>

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<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>opranoodle, it's not that unusual that many London actors get straight acting degrees, rather than MT. The same thing happens in the U.S. You'll find that the vast majority of actors in NYC, even those who are in musicals, do NOT have a degree in MT. :)</p>

<p>theatreguy, that rule you stated about no foreign actor being able to be cast unless it's a celebrity isn't true in all cases. I can think of about a dozen Canadians offhand who are currently in shows in NYC, and none of them is a celebrity. </p>

<p>As the mother of a child who is studying in NYC, I'm not sure I agree totally with the idea that if the city is where you want to be eventually, that you need to go to school there. It was the right choice for my D because it was her top choice and the program suited her needs and desires for her college education. I honestly believe that the program itself should be your top priority and not location. You should do everything you can to get into the best program possible which will be a good fit for YOU, regardless of where it is. There are excellent programs across the country and, trust me, not everyone is cut out for living in NYC while going to school. So, I guess my point is, choose the program not the location which is best for you.</p>

<p>We believe, even though my son is dead set on being in NYC after college, that going to college somewhere else will be fine. He likes the smaller environments with more of a campus atmosphere. It seems as long as you get the proper training, that you can be successful once you get out into the competitive real world. Maybe you've also saved a little money along the way!</p>

<p>alwaysamom - I am just stating what I read in an article about the casting of young tarzan. They found a british boy, but couldn't use him because equity states, "Actors' Equity only permits foreign actors to appear on Broadway if "they are an established star or can do something that an American actor can't do." This may not be true, but it was in an article I read on</p>

<p>I know for certain that several American actors were denied being cast in the upcoming Toronto production of LORD OF THE RINGS because they are American Equity members. Usually, such "cross-cultural" casting involves some kind of special dispensation. There was a HUGE furor over the casting of Lea Salonga and Jonathan Pryce in the Broadway MISS SAIGON (after both had done the London SAIGON); of course, Pryce's Caucasian ethnicity playing the Asian Engineer exacerbated an already-tense situation. </p>

<p>The actual rules from the standpoint of American Equity can be found here, SOMEWHERE ; )
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>First person to find the specifics wins! :)</p>

<p>Here's another example of the difficulty of "crossing ponds" to perform:
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Other reasons why NY wouldn't be someone's first choice: </p>

<p>-- It's too close to home -- it wouldn't be like "going away" to college.
-- Your mom doesn't want to do your laundry anymore. :)</p>

<p>CoachC, from our experience the "special dispensation" is not all that special. ;) For Lord of the Rings, from what I understand, it was the fact that the show was originating in Toronto that allowed Canadian Equity to set the number of spots for 'foreigners'. That number was set at five. In a cast of fifty-five, I agree that it isn't very generous. Perhaps that is the determining factor because there has certainly been an abundance of American actors in other Canadian productions, even casts which originate here (but not the show itself), the Canadian casts of Rent and Hairspray, for instance. There are also Americans in the company every season at Stratford.</p>

<p>Going in the opposite direction doesn't seem to be difficult. As I said, I can think of many Canadians currently in NYC shows, and even more over the years, and none of them is a celebrity. :) Some have been there for years and have been in several different shows, with little apparent problem.</p>

<p>I only know of a few who have gone to London to perform and am not familiar with the specifics of the Equity/immigration/auditioning issues but two who come to mind right away, and who have been there for many years and in different shows, haven't seemed to face huge obstacles. This business is a difficult one, regardless of where one is, I think that's the thing to remember. :) The fact that there are many options which can be explored is a bonus.</p>

<p>Edited to add that I couldn't get your link to work earlier but was just able to read the article about Canadians and it seems that exceptions are made for them, which I suppose makes sense and explains a lot. The thing I don't understand, though, is why, if someone is a member of American Equity, even if from another country, they'd be barred from performing like Stephen Rea was in Pittsburgh. Then to go with a Canadian instead is baffling. The rules seem more than a little crazy at times!</p>



<p>The Conference of Drama Schools turns up the accredited courses in the UK I believe. It's always better to go for an accredited course as you know the training you'll get will be of a certain high standard. Of the ones you mentioned, the only one I'm not certain I have seen graduates of performing in the West End is LIPA. (I remember going to see Les Mis and noticing half the people in it seemed to be either grads of GSA MT or Guildhall Acting!)
I think I can think of a few other MT courses off the top of my head, but I would need to check.</p>

<p>The main difference between an American degree and a British degree is the complete lack of gen ed. To be absolutely specific, in England and Wales, you basically study one subject for four years, or two if you're doing joint honours. In Scotland, you can take modules outside of your degree in the first two years, though that wouldn't really affect any kind of acting degree (Queen Margaret doesn't have outside modules in the drama faculty, I'm pretty certain RSAMD doesn't, and Glasgow's program is Theatre Studies rather than Acting). Our actors basically do acting all day every day - the only academic work my friend does is writing up his journal, where I'm run off my feet. </p>

<p>As a result, your academics aren't taken into account very much. At a Higher Education fair, I was chatting to a Queen Margaret rep about their Acting course, and he told me the entry requirements were said to be 3 Cs at Higher (hard to explain the American equivalent, but that is really low). However, he said that if they liked you enough they'd waive even that!</p>

<p>Incidentally, if you're worried about the cost of a trip over, I remember reading on here that LIPA and RSAMD do Unifieds (and I also remember my boyfriend telling me the RSAMD deadline was February sometime).</p>

<p>As to whether London is of a higher standard or not, my OLC recordings are always more precious than my OBC recordings, but that's not a very objective response :D</p>

<p>[/endramble] You'd never guess I was at work, would you? :rolleyes:</p>

<p>Dramaprincess, when you mentioned LIPA, I thought I recognized the name so went looking for my playbills/programs from my last visit to the West End. Looking quickly at the ones for Guys and Dolls, and Billy Elliot, I did see LIPA mentioned, one by a young lady who apparently was one of the first graduates in 1998. I guess it's a rather new program. </p>

<p>Some of the other schools/training listed were :
Central School of Speech and Drama
Drama Studio, London
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
London Academy of Performing Arts
Laine Theatre Arts
Newcastle College
Rose Bruford Drama School
London Studio Centre
Middlesex University
Guilford School of Acting
London Arts Educational School
Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance
London School of Musical Theatre</p>

<p>and then, as always, many list no school.</p>

<p>Newcastle College eep! My tutor used to teach acting there :D</p>

<p>Laine Theatre Arts was one of the ones I was specifically thinking of above, simply because I was googling something on Ruthie Henshall recently and noticed that was where she had gone (to do MT according to the website I read). Also a quick flick over their alumni list showed a lot of working grads, and I certainly have seen people from there.</p>

<p>I know of LIPA, in fact I know somebody auditioning for them this year, it's just not one of the ones that I could instantly name you somebody I've seen perform from there, whereas I could with other schools.</p>

<p>A guy who ran the Outreach department at the big theatre in a nearby city told me a few years ago that over here, there are basically three ways into an acting career here, and your list shows that quite nicely! </p>

<p>There's the college route in places like Newcastle college, where you only study for two years, and get a qualification that's something like "HND (Higher National Diploma) Acting and Performance". This isn't really a typical campus experience or anything - that's what a university would supply over here. Some people who do college courses go on to do one of the other two "options", some go straight into a career. These vary as to whether you audition or not (as they also vary in quality). </p>

<p>Then there's the university courses like that at Middlesex These courses usually have some academics, though all theatre related. This has the traditional uni life, opportunity for extracurriculars, etc. Usually these have reasonable to high entry requirements as far as academics go, plus an interview and/or audition. </p>

<p>Then there are the drama schools like Central which are more conservatory style, with no academics (maybe something like a little class on theatre history, but not usually something you have to do work for). </p>

<p>I'll have a look at my programmes later, though it will take a little bit of sorting out (West End programmes are at the bottom of my "Drama Box" with all my own programmes, press cuttings, etc. :D)</p>



<p>My d feels the same way. Likes smaller enviornment with a campus atmosphere that offers strong training.</p>

<p>From what were told by some broadway stars, "It's all about the audition".</p>

<p>Again, that is why one school will be right for one and not the other.</p>


<p>Just adding our two cents - My D could have gone to a wonderful MT college program in NYC but her first choice was always to have a "real" college experience on a college campus. Fortunately, she had the opportunity to choose that option and often tells me how happy she is to have this now and the opprtunity to live in NYC later. She still visits NYC as often as she can - which now seems to be every time she is home - and is getting quite adept at negotiating her way around on her own even with just these visits. She is also doubly fortunate in that there are so many UM alums in NYC and they are always welcoming to other wolverines. She'll never lack for a couch or a meal in a pinch. You better believe how much that knowledge helps a Mom sleep better.....</p>

<p>DramaPrincess, thank you for sharing your information! It's very interesting and enlightening to hear about the differences in the system in the U.K.</p>

<p>You are very welcome :D It's always interesting to read about the differences over in America! :)</p>