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Angela Lansbury praises UK actor training compared to US

Angela Lansbury. Photo: Stephen Paley
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Angela Lansbury has paid tribute to the “wonderful” and “complete” training that actors receive in the UK, compared to that which is provided in the US.

She said that there were fewer opportunities for emerging actors in America to hone their craft, whereas the UK had many small theatre companies through which performers could “grow”.

Speaking at the Gielgud Theatre today ahead of her return to the London stage in Blithe Spirit, Lansbury said: “The training process of British actors is so total and so complete and so wonderful that the great talents emerge.

“But they come by way of repertory and by playing a number of roles – which we don’t get a chance to do in America. We just don’t have the superstructure to create enough small companies to give young actors the experience they need to grow and become great actors, whereas you do have that in England.”

She added that she would have preferred to start her career in this way: “I always regret that I didn’t come by way of that route. I had to come by way of the movies, which is ok but it’s a little different.”

However, Lansbury said it was “much tougher” for younger actors now than it was when she began her career.

“People always say ‘Weren’t you a very ambitious actress?’ I wasn’t, I did what was handed to me. The things that were handed to me left, right and centre were quite extraordinary,” she said.

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