Why are actors on the whole at the bottom of the hierarchy of the traditional theatre system? How can this be fundamentally addressed?


Convener(s): Sarah Thom 

Participants: several directors and several actors plus several more

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Points of view raised include:

  • Our training system could encourage more theatre makers
  • We are all responsible for our own development as artists, and can take more responsibility.
  • “Work” only exists because someone had that creative idea in the first place.
  • Actors are by their very nature transient, nomadic mavericks and perhaps like the possibility that they can jump from job to job, therefore the system has to be controlled by directors, producers etc
  • The word “job” does not justly represent the exchange of creativity or the act of making a piece a theatre/ work. The term perhaps negates responsibility.
  • Agents are gate-keepers.
  • Pure mathematics dictates that there are more actors than any other form of creative artists within the industry.
  • Directors could be more pro-active in meeting actors
  • Casting directors now control the traditional casting system
  • Actors should lie about their training in order to get into this system (!)
  • Equity rules can interfere with the rehearsal process.
  • Power struggle can force companies apart – companies can operate under a bogus theory of collaboration.
  • We should strive for collaboration.
  • Fear encourages need for power.
  • General sense of powerlessness amongst actors.
  • Actors can take more control. Value themselves more.
  • Work outside London or work in theatre can be perceived as negative by the agents and money makers of the industry.
  • The system is full of many hierarchies.
  • Finance dictates this.
  • You wouldn’t necessarily trust an actor to look after your children.
  • Actors make fine babysitters...