Actor Kaitapere

Actors entertain people by using body movement and speech to play a character in media and stage productions.

Actors may do some or all of the following:

  • audition for parts in performances on stage, in film or on television
  • study scripts and research the character and project they're working on
  • memorise and rehearse their character's lines, cues and physical movements
  • act out the role for an audience or in front of a camera
  • improvise parts of their character's personality or actions during rehearsal or in front of an audience
  • perform stunts for an audience or in front of a camera.

Physical Requirements

Actors need to be reasonably fit and healthy, as the work can be physically demanding. They should also have clear speech.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for actors includes:

  • amateur or professional acting
  • performance work (eg, kapa haka)
  • any sport or other pursuit that involves teamwork
  • physical activities such as horse riding, gymnastics, scuba diving and boxing.

Personal Qualities

Actors need to be:

  • able to memorise lines
  • able to take direction, accept criticism, and work well under pressure
  • disciplined and motivated
  • creative and imaginative
  • able to work well as part of a team and with agents
  • strong communicators
  • organised.


Actors need to have:

  • knowledge of how people behave and speak, so they can create believable characters
  • the ability to project their voice to fill a performance space
  • knowledge of a range of books, plays and poetry
  • knowledge of different cultures
  • knowledge of the New Zealand media industry
  • skill in interpreting and analysing roles.

Stunt performers need to have:

  • knowledge of different stunts, including which stunts to perform in certain situations and the best way of performing them
  • the ability to use specialist stunt equipment such as flying harnesses and airbags
  • skills relating to the type of stunts they are performing such as martial arts, gymnastics or driving.



  • often work long and irregular hours, including evenings and weekends
  • work indoors in places like theatres, television and film studios, and radio stations. They also work outdoors on location
  • may travel to film on location, or if they are part of a touring production.

Actors may progress into related roles such as author, director or media producer.

Actors may specialise in stage acting, television shows, film, advertisements or voice-overs.

With industry experience, stuntspeople may progress to become stunt co-ordinators. Stuntspeople may specialise in doing stunts such as high falls or fights. 

Years Of Training

There are no specific entry requirements to become an actor. However, a Diploma or Bachelor of Performing Arts, or a Bachelor of Arts majoring in drama may be useful.

Requirements for stuntpeople

To become a stuntperson you need to have the skills, knowledge and ability to perform stunts.

To be a member of the Stunt Guild of New Zealand you must be at least 18 years of age and meet other specific criteria.