There’s a wealth of information about drama schools, short courses, or finding your career path, but these all tend to speak to young people. People who may not have an established career in another field, who may not have a family, a mortgage, a fear for the state of the pension system. This is simply because the majority of people researching career trajectory topics are those between high school and their quarter life crisis. The fact of the matter is that there is no age that is too old to start acting. You CAN teach and old dog new tricks, and you CAN find success at any age. There are some inspiring actors who began their professional career later in life; Kathy Bates was 42 by the time Misery came around, and Alan Rickman was in drama school at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts when he was 30, scoring Die Hard at 46.
It may be tough to crack Hollywood beyond these ages if you are starting from scratch, but ‘tough’ never means ‘no’ in the creative industries. If you believe you’re a savant who was lured into a commercial or capitalist industry by practical necessity, then get into the game with local theatre and drama classes.
If commuting or time is an issue, or you want to experience drama school minus the college experience, seek out Stagemilk’s Online Drama School. Retain the curiosity of your inner child, and age should not prove an obstacle. Note that the ‘inner’ in inner child is key here. Your competition should be your own age bracket, not the age bracket the Botox can afford you. Your age is an advantage, as many aspiring actors drop out of the game before they’re 30 to nurse their wounds of rejection and in favour of job security. If this is your passion, then you, as a mature and experienced person, are far less likely to be caught up in the starry-eyed glamour that so often sucks young actors in.
The stark reality of the business is like that of any other you have experienced, in that it is mostly hard work covered in smoke and mirrors. Follow your passion if it is truly your passion, and your life experience will lead you along an appropriate path. Stories aren’t filled with young characters, and with diversity and inclusivity on the up-and-up, there are more roles than ever for fresh faces. All of the beginner tips for young’uns still apply. Get educated, join a union, seek out work experience and get familiar with your industry through self-study, research, and networking. There’s a good chance this sounds similar to any other profession you may have pursued, so as far as know-how goes, your age gives you the upper hand. Whether you want to live your dreams and crack Hollywood, or whether you want a forum to express yourself in community theatre, acting can be immensely rewarding, therapeutic, and community driven for a mature age bracket.