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Career and Education Opportunities for Actors in Durham, North Carolina

For those living in the Durham, North Carolina area, there are many career and education opportunities for actors. There are currently 370 jobs for actors in North Carolina and this is projected to shrink by 6% to 350 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for actors, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.8% over the next eight years. Actors generally play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction.

The average wage in the general category of Theater, Film, and Television jobs is $23 per hour or $47,920 per year in North Carolina, and an average of $29 per hour or $64,430 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: comedian, circus clown, and ensemble director.

There are six schools within twenty-five miles of Durham where you can study to be an actor, among twenty-six schools of higher education total in the Durham area. The most common level of education for actors is less than a high school diploma. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become an actor if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Actor

Actor video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, actors play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. They also interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience.

Actors study and rehearse roles from scripts so as to interpret, learn and memorize lines, stunts, and cues as directed. They also attend auditions and casting calls so as to audition for roles. Equally important, actors have to work closely with directors and playwrights to discover the interpretation most suited to the role. They are often called upon to learn about characters in scripts and their relationships to each other in order to optimize role interpretations. They are expected to portray and interpret roles, using speech and body movements so as to entertain or instruct radio, film or live audiences. Finally, actors coordinate with other crewmembers responsible for lighting and props.

Every day, actors are expected to be able to speak clearly. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for actors to promote productions using means such as interviews about plays or movies. They are often called upon to sing and/or dance during dramatic or comedic performances. They also construct puppets and ventriloquist dummies, and sew accessory clothing, using hand tools and machines. They are sometimes expected to read from scripts or books to narrate action or to inform or entertain audiences, utilizing few or no stage props. Somewhat less frequently, actors are also expected to ready and perform action stunts for motion picture or stage productions.

Actors sometimes are asked to write original or adapted material for dramas or other performances. They also have to be able to introduce performances and performers so as to stimulate excitement and direct smooth transition of acts during events and perform original and stock tricks of illusion to entertain and mystify audiences, occasionally including audience members as participants. And finally, they sometimes have to ready and perform action stunts for motion picture or stage productions.

Like many other jobs, actors must be reliable and believe in an agile approach to problem solving and deal with change.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Durham include:

  • Artistic Director. Audition and interview performers to select most appropriate talent for parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
  • Producer. Plan and coordinate various aspects of radio, television, or motion picture production, such as selecting script, coordinating writing, directing and editing, and arranging financing.
  • Program Director. Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in preparation of radio or television station program schedules and programs.
  • Singer. Sing songs on stage, radio, or motion pictures.
  • Technical Director. Coordinate activities of technical departments, such as taping, editing, and maintenance, to produce radio or television programs.
  • Writer. Create original written works.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Actor Training

Meredith College - Raleigh, NC

Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27607-5298. Meredith College is a small college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,250 students and an admission rate of 69%. Meredith College has 2 areas of study related to Actor. They are:

  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a large university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 28,567 students and an admission rate of 35%. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated eight and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Duke University - Durham, NC

Duke University, 103 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708. Duke University is a large university located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 13,871 students and an admission rate of 23%. Duke University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated eight students in 2008.

North Carolina Central University - Durham, NC

North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707. North Carolina Central University is a medium sized university located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,033 students and an admission rate of 74%. North Carolina Central University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated eight students in 2008.

Shaw University - Raleigh, NC

Shaw University, 118 East South Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. Shaw University is a small university located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,702 students and an admission rate of 45%. Shaw University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated two students in 2008.

Saint Augustines College - Raleigh, NC

Saint Augustines College, 1315 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27610-2298. Saint Augustines College is a small college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,432 students and an admission rate of 44%. Saint Augustines College has a bachelor's degree program in Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other Specialties which graduated four students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina photo by Specious

Durham is situated in Durham County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 223,284, which has grown by 19.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Durham, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Durham are valued at $187,200 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,082 new homes were built in Durham, down from 1,574 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Durham are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 41.8% of Durham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 18.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Durham is 7.3%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Durham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Laymans Church, Holy Infant Church and Homestead Heights Church are among the churches located in Durham. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Durham is home to the Hope Valley Country Club and the Union Building as well as Durham County Stadium and Northgate Park. Shopping centers in the area include South Square Mall, Lakewood Shopping Center and Kings Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Durham can choose from Brownestone Inn, Durham-Days Inn ) and Hilton Durham for temporary stays in the area.