What they do

Actors use speech and body language to play characters in live and filmed performances. They must do a lot of preparation before a performance. They must read scripts and research subject matter,memorise lines, perfect characterisation and hone acting techniques. Actors may perform in centuries-old tragedies for live theatre, contemporary drama in television and film, and much more. Many require other skills for their performances, such as singing or dancing. All actors work to entertain, engage and make people ‘think’ by using performance.

Working conditions

Actors work in varying conditions, depending on the work they are doing. Some work in designated performance spaces like theatres, concert halls, and television or film studios. Others may work outside, sometimes in harsh weather conditions.  Rehearsals tend to be repetitive and multiple takes are often required in both television and film.  Contact with the public is necessary for actors who perform in front of live audiences.  Many are required to travel for work, and may be away from home for long periods of time. Work can often be stressful due to strict deadlines, and the high expectations of audiences and directors.

Tools and technologies

Actors use stage and studio props, which can differ between performances.  These range from everyday objects, to other devices created specifically for a production. Sometimes they may use voice-amplifying equipment like microphones.  Actors are frequently required to wear costumes and make-up, which can completely change an actor’s appearance.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as an actor without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in acting or a related area.

The Certificate IV in Aboriginal Theatre and Diplomas in Acting, Screen Performance, Musical Theatre and Aboriginal Performance are offered at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

You can also complete a university degree majoring in acting, performing arts, music theatre, theatre studies or a related field.

The selection process for most courses includes an audition.

Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Learn more about your study options.


Required registration and licensing