An acting workshop is a class in which actors can work on improving their skills, usually under the direction of one or more people who provide coaching for the people in the workshop. The art of acting has something in common with the arts of dance and music. All of these forms of art rely just as much on muscle memory and rehearsal as they do on raw talent or technique. For actors, one of the best ways to strengthen their performance muscles is through acting workshops. An acting workshop is to an actor what a rehearsal studio is to a musician or dancer — it's the bridge between theory and performance.
These workshops usually are staffed by professionals in the acting world, and they might be coaches, directors or actors themselves. Different aspects of acting are covered during organized session times. Some students might want to learn more about a topic such as stage combat, and others might seek advice on vocal projection or script interpretation. During an acting workshop, informal groups often work on improvisational skills or even psychological issues that can hinder a performance.
In major markets such as Los Angeles, New York, London and Chicago, attending acting workshops is practically a requirement for serious actors and actresses. Breaking into the acting profession has never been easy, so many struggling performers take advantage of any edge they can get. Enrolling in a respected acting workshop can introduce a fledgling actor to some established professionals in the business. An acting workshop often features classes on the technical and political sides of the acting business as well, giving students a more realistic portrait of the craft that they are trying to pursue.
An acting workshop if often viewed by an actor as an investment in himself or herself as well as a chance to learn stagecraft in a professional setting. Performing in smaller productions, such as those found at community theaters, does not always provide enough experience and training to allow an actor to succeed in professional auditions. An acting workshop can help an actor polish a monologue or improve diction and delivery. The instructor might also be a casting director, so his or her advice can prove very valuable. Without the extra training provided by an acting workshop, many would-be actors find themselves unable to compete with more experienced actors during the all-important audition process.