There’s this pervasive myth in the acting community, and for many people outside it looking in who’re curious to start studying the craft, that worthwhile acting training is exclusive. That for a program or school to offer great training the price of admission needs to come with a competitive audition and a huge personal investment in the form of dollars and time. There’s so much talk about how this famous person got their fancy acting degree here or how such and such program has a 2% acceptance rate and we’ve accepted that this training should put people into thousands on top of thousands of dollars in debt.
Acting is an art form that calls for vulnerability, authenticity, openness, and collaboration. These key tenants get little oxygen in the suffocating environment of exclusivity because exclusivity breeds competition. Once you’re in an exclusive club competition kicks in because you’ve gotta prove yourself, prove that you’re special, otherwise people may think you don’t belong.
An inclusive training environment promotes vulnerability, authenticity, openness, and collaboration because everyone is allowed to be there so nobody needs to prove their worth. They just need to be themselves. Exclusive learning environments create self conscious actors worried about whether they’re enough. In an atmosphere where we feel like we belong, we know we’re enough. More learning can also happen because self-consciousness is replaced with curiosity. The spotlight is put on learning about the craft instead of worrying about who’s going to get the best agent after graduation.
Inclusive training also allows everyone to experience the benefits of acting training regardless of their background and be challenged to grow into a more empathetic, vulnerable, and courageous human. So as we, one day in the not too distant future, get back to gathering in groups to make art and express ourselves, let’s make sure we’re making space for everyone to join us instead of perpetuating the myth that you need to be special to join our club.