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In-Person vs. Online Acting Classes

For centuries, the art of acting involved creating a shared experience. This experience — this exchange between actors and their audiences — unfolded in “real time”. Whether assembled around an open fire, or perched upon a platform of some sort, actors created intimate moments for rapt audiences. These magical shared moments unfolded in the moment, then faded away, living on as little more than memories of an ephemeral performance.

In the Beginning

Actors created imaginary worlds; audience members came along for the ride. Audience members provided instantaneous feedback, good or bad, which actors responded and reacted to. While actors necessarily provided the action and most of the energy in such exchanges, theatre goers remained an integral component of this uniquely human interactive experience.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, all of that began to change, however. The invention of motion pictures — then radio, followed by sound recordings, and finally television — meant the time-honored model of actors interacting directly with audiences was no longer the sole option.

Acting, theatre, performing, entertaining — virtually overnight the possibilities transformed for everyone involved in entertainment. Recording and playback technology in its various forms meant actors could ply their craft remotely, and have their work viewed and enjoyed in distant venues, at virtually any time, by essentially anyone.

In the Present

No one could credibly argue, today, that these technologies spelled doom for acting. On the contrary, they vastly expanded potential audiences and enhanced creative possibilities in ways that were previously unattainable, if not unimaginable. That’s not to say the value of live theater presented in real time has been diminished. It has not. Live theater remains a vibrant art form, adored and supported by millions of avid theatergoers around the world.

There’s something about live performance, for both actors and their audiences, that can never quite be duplicated on a sound stage, or fully evoked on a back lot. In short, both approaches to acting have inherent value. Each involves a slightly different experience, and offers subtle advantages and disadvantages. Surely we can all agree that both approaches provide meaningful opportunities for creating memorable experiences.

Online vs. In-Person Learning

By the same token, there are advantages and disadvantages to both online acting classes and in-person classes. Some pros and cons are relatively obvious. Given the unique circumstances of our present moment, however, there are distinct advantages in learning to act online. This technology-enabled approach allows you to study and hone your craft, at your convenience, while avoiding the necessity of being in the same physical space at the same time as instructors and fellow students.

These days, travel has been severely curtailed, and social distancing has made it difficult for us to interact physically as we once did. Obviously, online drama courses make it possible for anyone, anywhere to partake of learning experiences without being physically present. Various types of acting classes are available, to accommodate students’ needs.

Where Can I Take Acting Classes?

Of course, the pandemic will eventually resolve, and life will hopefully — eventually — return to something resembling normal. But even then, the opportunity to attend virtual, online classes may remain an attractive option for some students who cannot necessarily afford to attend classes at one of our New York or California-based theatre institutes. There will always be a place for live theatre and live acting instruction. But remote, online acting classes can be the next best thing.

Students who opt to take advantage of online acting classes often ask, “where can I take acting classes?” The answer for serious acting students, interested in pursuing the Method as developed by Lee Strasberg, is to enroll in one of the online drama courses offered by Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute.