The Best Free (or Cheap!) Online Acting Classes for Aspiring Actors
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at acting? Did you fall in love with the role of Rey, Leia, or Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi; Shuri or T'Challa in Black Panther? How about the voices of your favorite Incredibles characters, Syndrome, Elastigirl, Frozone, or Violet? Do you find yourself re-enacting your favorite scenes at home, with nobody to entertain but the cat?
If you've always wanted to sign up for acting classes, but can't justify the cost, you're in luck! There are many courses being offered online for people just like you who want to learn the methods of acting at home in their spare time, and the best part is, many of them are free! We've gone in search of the best online acting classes for you — come check out our finds!
From what we learned so far, we broke it down into the following categories:
Best for kids of all ages: Udemy
Best for kids grades K-2: Center for the Learning of Arts and Sciences
Best for adults: FutureLearn
Best MOOC aggregator: Class Central
Best if you enjoy learning primarily from free videos with occasional extra work: Skillshare
Best free online acting courses on Skillshare
Our first group of free online acting courses is offered by Skillshare.
Skillshare is a site featuring thousands of courses in numerous subjects, many of which are free of charge. Acting is among some of the free course content offered on Skillshare.
To give you an idea of the types of acting courses offered on Skillshare, here are a few that caught our eye.
10 Ways to Learn Voice Over Online
First off, there's 10 Ways to Learn Voice Over Online.
Wanna talk like Bart Simpson? Try this course out! Taught by voice over expert Moniece Robinson, students can learn from a series of online voice acting classes via free videos.
Students also participate in a class project, ask questions or start a discussion via the 'Community' section, and print attached pdfs and guides — also free!
Actors - $50,000 Acting Program in 1 Skillshare Course:
They also offer this gem: Actors - $50,000 Acting Program in 1 Skillshare Course.
Instructed by acting coach and director Ralph Kinnard, this course offers 48 short videos organized to share the same types of content as a much more expensive acting course, guiding the students through 4 main phases of acting:
- What has changed in acting
- How to build a character
- How to rehearse scenes
- How to perform scenes and look like a million dollar actor
Although no class projects are listed for this class, students are invited to upload practice monologues to get honest feedback from the instructor and other students.
You can also start discussions or ask questions in the 'Community' section and give reviews of it — this course was recommended by 7 out of 7 student reviews.
Memorizing Techniques for Actors
How will you ever get all those lines memorized? Lindsey Backen breaks down some techniques to help out with that, as well as how to work under pressure and learn how to deal with situations where you must learn things quickly,
The class project at the end shows that the student has mastered the key technique by uploading a video of themselves demonstrating it.
Fun! You can see that 7 students have enrolled for this class, but there aren't any reviews just yet. Maybe you should get in there and take the course and leave your comments for a review? Give it a shot!
Now let's summarize this acting course series with a quick wrap-up:
More Skillshare info:
Price: Free (in fact, there's a free month of any courses available, even the premium courses, when you sign up), and there are thousands of free classes (that remain free whether the month is over or not) found here.
Can you interact with other students or the instructor? Yes, in the 'Community' section under each video, students can ask questions or start/participate in a discussion. You can also see how many students are in class with you underneath the video on the right margin, as well as view other student profiles, and leave your review on the class when finished.
Are there assignments or projects aside from watching videos? Some have additional projects; others don't. Check the 'Class Projects' section under each video.
Is there a designated time period for completion of the course or certain assignments? There do not appear to be any for the acting classes.
Is there a certificate or any type of official confirmation of course completion provided at the end? Does the school provide a transcript? No, they do not at this time. However, students are encouraged to post their completed Class Project, if any, to the course site in order to demonstrate course mastery. They can also add it to their own portfolio.
Any recommendations or other cool extras? Skillshare has a 3-star rating on Trustpilot, and an F on the BBB site. Although some students raved about their classes and reported learning a lot, it also sounds like some students were charged for additional classes and perhaps not promptly refunded. We'd probably recommend sticking with the free courses for now until this matter is sorted.
- Popular, well-known site
- Several free courses to start with
- Watch the videos and complete the courses anytime
- No certificate or transcript offered
- Bad rating on BBB
There's lots of stuff to learn on Skillshare (with over 10,000 classes and 2 million users currently active), but that refund debacle on the BBB website needs to be well-sorted before we'll part with our money. We'd probably just browse through and stick with the free stuff for now, at least until they get that grade up.
Best free online acting classes on FutureLearn
Our next exciting online course assortment is found at FutureLearn, a site where you can learn from the top educators of university or cultural institutions via videos, audio recordings, articles, quizzes, and class discussions. A social learning platform based in the UK, FutureLearn provides Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) to students worldwide.
Once students have signed up for courses, they can be revisited at any time. Once courses have completed, their content will remain accessible and useful to both original and new students.
Students must be at least age 12 to take courses on FutureLearn. Courses are designed using college level material, but many are useful for high school aged students preparing for college.
They partner with numerous institutions and top universities worldwide to bring the future of learning to anyone who wants to learn.
And for almost all the courses offered, you can opt to take the free version, or upgrade to unlock more learning options — and get a certificate.
We found several free online acting classes for adults on FutureLearn, and a few others which cover the study of drama (one of them is focused on the performance of Hamlet, taught by the director of the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon - Shakespeare's birthplace!), so get in here and check these out!
Physical Theater: Exploring the Slap
This course is an introduction to biomechanics, an acting technique popularized by Russian director Meyerhold. Did Scarlet O'Hara really slap Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind? She actually didn't — but it sure looked like she did!
Find out how it's done, as well as several other biomechanics actions you can use in your acting in this course.
The gist of the class is summarized in this introductory video. On the course description, they also share the topics to be covered:
As well as who the course is ideal for:
By the end of the course, you can expect to learn biomechanics, discuss Russian theatre in the 20th century, and test your knowledge at the end with a test.
You'll also be able to view the credentials of one among many impressive instructors:
There's a new course offered each month (usually starts right at the beginning of the month) — and of course, you can join for free.
Each course session lasts around 2 weeks, and requires around 2 hours per week for additional study.
Curious about the Upgrade? Here's what you'll get with it:
But the column on the left is what you'll get for free — so you'll essentially get everything you need to adequately learn the content of the course, including articles, peer reviews, quizzes, and articles.
Nice! Now let's see what else FutureLearn has free for aspiring actors!
Much Ado about Nothing: in Performance
You can see from the opening that this course will study the performance of one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays, Much Ado about Nothing, including the original performance, the different ways it's been interpreted for the stage historically and in modern day, and various approaches to the roles of main characters Beatrice and Benedick. A brief intro view can be enjoyed here.
The class lasts for 4 weeks, and asks students to set aside 3 hours per week for additional study time. It's free, with a certificate available for purchase at the end.
You'll cover all of these topics, among other things:
- Shakespeare’s influences as a playwriting Actor
- The original performance of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’
- Contemporary approaches to Beatrice and Benedick
- Exploring the Actors’ approaches to Beatrice and Benedick
- Interpreting key moments in the play and performance choices
And by the course's conclusion, you will have mastered the following:
The course is ideally designed for students in their late teens, looking to jump into Much Ado About Nothing for the first time, or looking for a refresher on the work.
Plus, the instructor is Jacqui O'Hanlon, who is the Director of Education at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
This is very exciting for actors who enjoy Shakespeare and always wanted to learn more about his plays, roles, and staging from the pros! Now let's check out some more acting classes online for free at FutureLearn:
Othello, In Performance
This course was created by the Royal Shakespeare Company, University of Birmingham (public research university and leading UK university, ranked among the top 100 in the world), and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
The coursework explores the ways in which Othello has been performed, and how its staging has changed throughout the years to modern day. This introductory video explains the content of the class and what to expect.
The course lasts 4 weeks, and you'll need to set aside 3 hours of study time each week as well. Additionally, it provides an overview (listing what you'll learn), and highlights on the actors, scenes, and acts from the play you'll be studying and learning from/about:
Again, this course is best for 16-19 year olds. At the end, you have the option to purchase a Statement of Participation:
Class start dates are listed as 'to be announced', so you can sign up to be emailed when the new dates are up. There's also a requirement section (above the main image for the course), so you can prepare properly for the course, and an 'educators' tab which shares the details of each instructor's work and position thus far.
Let's head to the wrap-up summary now that we've covered the essentials of FutureLearn:
More FutureLearn info:
Can you interact with other students or the instructor? Yes, most classes offer online discussion and Q&A.
Are there assignments or projects aside from watching videos? Depending on the course subject and instructors, there may be additional assignments. Your completed assignments can be uploaded and receive feedback.
Is there a designated time period for completion of the course or certain assignments? Courses can last a number of weeks. The time period will be given in the course overview of each course.
Is there a certificate or any type of official confirmation of course completion provided at the end? Does the school provide a transcript? You may purchase a certificate with many of the free courses, or you will be provided one with most of the paid "upgraded" courses.
Anything recommendations or other cool extras? In a recent survey, 92% of FutureLearn students believed the course they completed was valuable to them, and 77% believed it was valuable in preparing them for college. Not too shabby!
- Hundreds of classes are available through partnerships with universities
- Courses can be taken anywhere on a variety of devices
- Has a 4-star rating on Trustpilot
- No formal qualifications or prerequisites required for the courses
- Certificates of completion are not free
- Some free courses withdraw access a few weeks after course ends
- Some tests aren't available even on free courses without a paid upgrade
Unless you need to be absolutely certain you've mastered all the course content in the form of a test, you're probably good to go with just the free stuff. Skip the paid tests and certificates, and you'll know what you know. If you're not positive, review the free material until you are.
Best free online acting classes on MIT OpenCourseWare
Wanna take a college level acting or drama course but don't have the funding? Well, there's something you're gonna want to look at — MIT OpenCourseWare shares many educational resources, including core academic course content for over 2,300 undergraduate and graduate curriculum free of charge.
This includes syllabi, assignments, required reading, exams, and lecture notes. Some courses also have video lectures, animations, and simulated exercises available. Here is a brief introductory video on the site.
Drama students can choose from a wide assortment of courses in the Music and Theater Arts section. Here are some of the classes currently available:
For the Theater Arts Topics course below, a full on-stage production was planned and created, with notes and schedules available on how each aspect was completed in order to successfully present on opening night. By following this framework, students can learn about how to plan and create their own production.
Theater Arts Topics
Suggested study materials are listed, and the names of directors and actors are shared, along with their comments on how the creative process went as attached, free pdf files.
Foundations of Theater Practice
This free course will teach you the creative processes and storytelling behind several of theater's arts, and will give you hands-on experience in each. Several actors and MIT Theater Arts faculty will guest lecture, lead workshops, and give you practical instruction in their individual art forms.
The Script Analysis course teaches students how to read and interpret a script theatrically.
Ffinally, this course may benefit budding actors, as the content includes collaboration between actors, directors, designers, and playwrights in preparing a fully written script.
Now that we've seen what MITOpenCourseWare can offer the actor in you, let's move into the summary and wrap things up.
More MITOpenCourseWare info:
Can you interact with other students or the instructor? No, these are old courses.
Are there assignments or projects aside from watching videos? There are additional assignments and readings, etc., for most of these courses. While the courses and syllabi are free, you'll need to buy your books on Amazon as suggested (or elsewhere if you can find them cheaper).
Is there a designated time period for completion of the course or certain assignments? No, you can browse through at any time and go at your own pace.
Is there a certificate or any type of official confirmation of course completion provided at the end? Does the school provide a transcript? No, there are no certificates, degrees, or transcripts provided. As stated on their FAQ, "Knowledge is your reward." If you're interested in MIT online courses that do offer certificates or diplomas, check here.
- Huge number of courses available
- Instructors are skilled and knowledgeable
- High quality materials and content
- High level coursework presented
- Very limited interaction
- No certificates available
These are great if you want to fill your head and learn as much as you can on certain topics. If you can retain information without live discussion or testing, and you don't require the certificate to prove you've taken the course, you'll be happy here.
Best free online acting courses on Class Central
Our next courses are found on the Class Central site in the vast Theater and Film section. Compiled from a variety of online sources, Class Central offers free theater courses from an array of other course hosting sites that you can enjoy anytime — and a wealth of others, both free and paid, on numerous subjects.
Budding actors can study the ins and outs of renowned plays, films, and musicals, specifically those of the greats, such as Shakespeare.
Shakespeare in Community
It's a free online course, requiring 2-10 hours of work per week, lasting 4 weeks in duration. If the class start date is in the past, hit the 'Go to class' button for more information on when the next class will start, or 'Related Courses' across the top to see similar courses taking places currently.
Shakespeare on the Page and in Performance: Young Love
This 3-week course will cover the top 2 masterpieces of Shakespeare over 21 days: Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
A free, self-paced class offered via EdX, the instructors ask that you set aside 4-5 hours per week for additional study. The class is a combined effort of the Theater and Literature Departments of Wellesley College. To sign up for the next class, go here.
Shakespeare on the Page and in Performance: Tragic Love
Another meeting of the minds of Wellesley's Theater and Literature Departments, this course also follows the weekly format, this one requiring of 4 weeks to study the 2 major tragedies of Shakespearean love: Othello and King Lear.
And once again, actors will demonstrate the scenes under study to "bring the text alive as living theater." If you're interested in signing up for this class, go here, and enjoy!
Now let's wrap up:
More Class Central info:
Can you interact with other students or the instructor? It depends on which site is offering the course; Class Central shares courses from edX, Coursera, Udacity, FutureLearn, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and many more. If the course is an older class or is archived, you won't be able to interact. If it's an ongoing course, you probably will. And if you have a question, you can always try asking Class Central here.
Are there assignments or projects aside from watching videos? Yes, depending upon which site the course is shared from, you'll probably have some type of additional content.
Is there a designated time period for completion of the course or certain assignments? Each course will have its own time periods and any assignment due dates noted, or if it's older or archived, you'll see the dates of the original class as well.
Is there a certificate or any type of official confirmation of course completion provided at the end? Does the school provide a transcript? Some offer certificates free of charge at the end, while others charge a fee for providing it. If you create an account, Class Central also compiles a 'transcript' (actually just a personal catalog of course achievement) for you if you take more than one class, like founder Dhawal Shah's shows here.
- Has a 4.6 rating on FaceBook reviews (with 89 reviews reported)
- Curated courses offered from universities worldwide
- Monthly blog keeps you updated on new course offerings
- If you add a course currently unavailable, Class Central will notify you when it's due to start again
- You must pay for certificates of completion for most courses offered. Graded assignments and mentorships are also paid only.
These are high quality content curated courses from around the globe. If you aren't opposed to paying for a certificate (or you don't need one), this should be fine for you. Also, if you're low income and want to request assistance purchasing your certificate, some providers will help with that - check Class Central's site for details.
Best free online acting classes on Udemy
As we continue our voyage to find acting classes online, destiny brings us to Udemy.
Although they aren't free, they are often discounted (some are even offered as low as $9.99!) and there's a 30-day money back guarantee, so we think it's worth a look.
They have several different types of acting courses, such as these below:
Plus, if you filter your search to show you the lowest prices, you'll get some great deals! Check out our picks below.
A Comprehensive Guide to Child Acting
If you're looking for online acting classes for kids, this is probably among the best you'll find. As you can see above, it's rated high among students who've taken it, and currently on sale from the already low price of $21.99 — with a 30-day money back guarantee.
You can watch free sample videos on the site here as well (upper right corner), if it helps you decide on the purchase.
With this course, you'll get 8 hours of on-demand video instruction accessible on both TV and mobile devices, full lifetime access to the course, and a Certificate of Completion. Not bad!
We also liked this next course, for anyone seeking online acting classes for adults.
Acting 101 for Adults
You'll get 7 hours of on-demand video instruction with this course, also with full lifetime access, and viewable on both TV and mobile devices. You'll have some assignments with this one, so be sure to watch for those due dates! And again, you'll receive a Certificate of Completion at the end. Superb!
Directing the Actor: A USC Course with Nina Foch
This one looks great for anyone interested in the full gamut - not only acting, but directing, casting and acting all together!
It's series of lectures produced by George Lucas (yes, the George Lucas who created Star Wars and Indiana Jones) and Randal Kleiser compiled from Nina Foch's class at University of Southern California.
It comes with 4 hours of on-demand video, a full lifetime of access, and easy viewing on both TV and mobile devices. You'll also get a Certificate of Completion at the end with this one.
More Udemy info:
Price: Varies; some can start as low as $9.99; others start at $10.99 or $12.99. Regular prices range from about $21.99 to the low hundreds per course.
Can you interact with other students or the instructor? Yes, for most of them you can interact by message and/or online discussion.
Are there assignments or projects aside from watching videos? Most are primarily video, but some acting instructors may recommend practice exercises to be done offline as well.
Is there a designated time period for completion of the course or certain assignments? It depends on the class. Most are comprised of several hours of video instruction which can be viewed anytime on-demand.
Is there a certificate or any type of official confirmation of course completion provided at the end? Does the school provide a transcript? Most paid courses will receive a certificate of completion, as well as some free ones.
Anything recommendations or other cool extras?
- Over 65,000 courses currently offered in 80 languages, with some free
- Reputable company
- Available on a range of devices for optimal convenience
- Users can create a course of their own and receive earnings if it sells
- Selection of courses can be overwhelming
- Not many free courses available
- Customer service not always prompt with replies
This company maintains 3 stars on Trustpilot, with about 70% positive reviews out of 350. If you message customer service, it may take them a day or two to reply. Otherwise, many of the courses seem reasonably priced, and you can get some deals starting at $9.99 — not bad at all.
Best free online acting courses on SmartActors
Now we visit the SmartActors site for a shot at match-ups with top acting mentors and coaches — who'll set you up with online classes and great one-on-one sessions.
You'll get paired up with experts for your coaching, mentoring, and acting classes for beginners online (or even intermediate and advanced actors), all offered with a Free Trial.
First you select your monthly or annual membership plan, then you click to activate your 'Free Trial':
Your free trial lasts for 24 hours, after which your selected plan kicks in. You'll choose from one of these below:
Notice the fine print on the bottom left — your mentoring won't begin until after the free trial ends... bummer.
But you can still play around with the other functions of the site and check out some of the acting classes and videos available.
Here's what they suggest in regard to classes:
SmartActors members also get a heads-up on the goods in the SmartActors Marketplace, with discounts on headshots, marketing, and other products and services here.
You can watch plenty of previews of classes here, but you'll need to sign up for that trial membership to unlock the whole video.
More SmartActors info:
Price: Free for the 24-hour trial. Then it's up to you - there's a membership plan for $25/month (Emmy), $50/month (Golden Globe), or $150/month (Oscar), varying based upon your preferences; details here.
Can you interact with other students or the instructor? Yes, depending upon which membership you choose, you can interact with your instructors, coaches, or mentor - with the Oscar plan, for example, you'll get a 60-minute session with your mentor every month. You can also break it into smaller increments, and it rolls over into your next month if you don't use it, as long as you remain a paid member.
Are there assignments or projects aside from watching videos? There are one-on-one sessions, tips for success, and other such activities. Most of the learning content is in video form, though.
Is there a designated time period for completion of the course or certain assignments? Hard to say without purchasing a membership or doing the free trial, but we're guessing some have a start and end date while others don't.
Is there a certificate or any type of official confirmation of course completion provided at the end? Does the school provide a transcript? After taking courses for one year, you'll receive a certificate. Once you've received that, you can add SmartActors to your resume under 'Training'.
Anything recommendations or other cool extras? Nope.
- High quality, professional-looking website
- Appears to have numerous videos to learn from
- Options to work one-on-one with a mentor every month
- Free video samples are extremely short; not long enough to see whether you like the service before buying
- 24-hour free trial is very short, then the membership fee kicks in
- Very little customer reviews or feedback on this company was found
Looks like a professional, legit company, but there isn't much available about them as far as reviews or feedback anywhere. We generally don't like super short free trials, but at least this site offers one - some offer nothing free at all. It looks like most of the memberships can go month-to-month, so you can see whether you like it during that time and cancel before the next month kicks in if you don't.
Best free online acting classes at The Center for Learning in the Arts and Sciences
If you've got an aspiring actor in grades K-2, you may want to check out The Center for Learning in the Arts and Sciences Literacy Through the Arts program, offered via a partnership between the San Diego Unified School District and the University of California, Irvine.
Acting classes for beginners are offered online free of charge, in video form as well as free, downloadable lesson plans on 3 grade levels.
Intended to boost literacy, the program offers several options for each grade level, including dance classes and the above and following theater classes. Each lesson comes with a YouTube playlist of each accompanying video in the series for quick reference, such as this one from Grade 2's Lesson 9:
They also offer class lesson plans for Puppetry, a close cousin to acting, for students in grades K-2 in the program.
Here is one of the 2nd grade video lessons where acting students are demonstrating what they've learned using some creative changes to the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
Their class' teaching artist, Mike Sears, watches and gives tips on this 'dress rehearsal' prior to another class coming in to see the acting demonstration:
The final acting demonstration takes place in this video as a performance for another class, complete with all the actors portraying their roles and a technique for managing stage fright from Mr. Sears:
Now let's get into the summary:
More Center for Learning in the Arts and Sciences info:
Can you interact with other students or the instructor? Not the original ones, but if you use these lesson plans, you can interact with your own group and instructor.
Are there assignments or projects aside from watching videos? Hopefully you and your group will follow along with the lessons and act them out as depicted in the accompanying videos.
Is there a designated time period for completion of the course or certain assignments? No.
Is there a certificate or any type of official confirmation of course completion provided at the end? Does the school provide a transcript? No.
Anything recommendations or other cool extras? No. These are ideally designed for use by teachers, but you can most certainly try them at home if you have a homeschool acting group, daycare or summer camp group, or just need a creative activity for children of the ages presented.
- Complete lesson plans with video accompaniment for full theater program, grades K-2
- Free of charge
- Articles explaining how these programs boosted literacy scores are shared on the website
- No interaction with teachers to ask questions if you aren't sure about something
- Limited age group lesson plans available
These are great if you have a group of K-2 (ages appx 5 - 9) kids for a few weeks and want to engage them in acting classes for a creative, productive activity. If you can download the lessons (or just view them online) and want to follow along with the online acting classes on YouTube, each lesson has a playlist for easy reference.
Best free online acting classes at LearningPath.org
Still searching for the ideal online acting classes, free of charge? We've got another gem for you to check out. Similar to MIT OpenCourseWare, LearningPath.org compiles free courses from top online schools for student use via their website.
Some of the free acting and playwriting courses offered on LearningPath.org are as follows:
Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
A free course centered around Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
Classical Drama and Society, Utah State University
Here, USU offers a free acting course that surveys ancient Roman and Greek drama to present the evolution of ancient plays.
More LearningPath.org info:
Can you interact with other students or the instructor? For some courses, yes. Others are older classes and you cannot interact with the original instructors or students - but if you create your own course from the lessons and videos provided, you can certainly interact with your own students/instructors.
Are there assignments or projects aside from watching videos? Yes, there may be several different types of extra assignments and projects, depending upon the class. Check the syllabus provided for each course to see your assignments and their due dates.
Is there a designated time period for completion of the course or certain assignments? It depends on the course. Some can be completed anytime; others have due dates assigned.
Is there a certificate or any type of official confirmation of course completion provided at the end? Does the school provide a transcript? Some do - like Open University. Others do not, like MIT OpenCourseWare and Utah State University. (Note: The schools may offer certificates, degrees, etc. for various courses and disciplines, but this summary is pertaining solely to the free courses shared on LearningPath.org).
Anything recommendations or other cool extras? No.
- Free online acting courses available from top universities
- Some courses can be accessed anytime using several types of devices
- Some courses have ratings based on reviews of previous students
- Some are older and do not offer any interaction with, nor ratings/reviews from original instructors or students
If you really wish to take acting classes online, LearningPath is a good source to check for free courses offered through top universities. Scroll through and see what meets your needs. (The best options are probably those with high ratings posted from previous students.) These also offer ideas for acting teachers to use in developing their own courses.
So, what do you think? We'd love to hear from our budding actors! Are you ready to rock some new acting skills by taking these online free acting courses? Which ones look the best to you? Let us know if you take any, and how it went. We look forward to hearing about it - and good luck!