Working as a Freelance Drama Teacher whilst Acting

Not only is teaching rewarding, but also the pay is great: on average £25 an hour.

Actors tend to make great freelance drama teachers; charisma, good people skills and an ability to improvise are all assets in the classroom. Many part-time theatre schools are specifically looking for actors to inspire their students. Stagecoach, Razzmatazz, The Pauline Quirke Academy, Perform, Bigfoot, Theatre Bugs, the list goes on, are always on the look-out for performers who have the ability to teach.

Many companies prefer to take on actors as they are inspiring to the students. Some theatre schools will bend over backwards to accommodate teachers who are also actors, allowing them time off for auditions and short term acting jobs. Perform for example, actively seek professional performers. At one weekend theatre school I worked for, one of the drama teachers landed a role in Game of Thrones. He worked on set during the week and then came into teach at the weekend. One weekend he taught with glue in his beard for continuity as he was back on set on monday morning! I’ve also know a headmistress give a performer a year off to play ‘baby’ in the ‘Dirty Dancing’ tour.

However some companies avoid actors and prefer more reliable teachers. From my experience I’ve noticed about 50% of clients are happy to take on auditioning/working actors.

If you have trained in drama either at drama school or university and you like children, then you can be a freelance drama teacher. You do not need prior experience with children; however, you will need to learn about teaching and develop some good classroom management techniques. Bigfoot offers some particularly inspiring short courses on teaching drama. You can also learn about how to teach drama in my book, ‘How to make a living as a freelance drama teacher.’


Written by Samantha Marsden, author of ‘Teach Drama: How to Make a Living as a Freelance Drama Teacher.’