ABSTRACT

This chapter introduces the challenges facing professional actor training today while introducing the project’s scope, methodology, and organization. Presenting selected conservatories in anglophone countries as case studies, the book poses three key questions: (1) What are the causes and effects of training in the context of academe? (2) How do leading drama schools prepare students for current and future careers in the profession? (3) What roles do cultural identity, social justice, and nationhood have in actor training? In addressing these queries, this chapter explains the book’s deployment of ethnographic, archival, and published materials to investigate acting programs in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the US. The chapter positions traditional and contemporary approaches as mutually relevant in training actors for the twenty-first century. Stanislavski and Saint-Denis, for example, can support current and emerging practices such as theatre-making, on-camera training, applied theatre, and telematic performance. In addition to training actors for stage and screen, we should prepare them to become artistic entrepreneurs capable of conceiving and executing independent projects toward fostering their artistic voices in the context of cultural inclusion, social justice, and disciplinary diversity.