In this article, Ken Rea examines the factors that make for success in an overcrowded acting profession. He asks what actors can do to influence their chances of having a successful career and doing outstanding work, and suggests what drama schools could do to increase the number of their students who achieve this. He examines research on peak performance in other domains, such as sport and music, then formulates a profile of the outstanding actor, based on his own empirical research and more than thirty years' teaching at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Drawing on interviews with world-class professionals, he proposes seven key qualities that most outstanding actors manifest, and he suggests how these can be nurtured in a training context. This article explores ideas now being reworked as a book on success in acting. Ken Rea is senior acting tutor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and author of A Better Direction (1989).
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