Derek Jacobi: ‘Drama schools can’t teach you how to act’

Derek Jacobi as King Lear at the Donmar Warehouse in 2010. Photo: Johan Persson
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Derek Jacobi has criticised drama schools for allowing students to graduate with a desire “to get famous quickly”.

Jacobi said he did not believe that drama schools “can teach you to be an actor” and added: “I think you’re an actor before you go in – they teach you all the other things that you need you to lose or acquire. But they can’t teach you how to act.”

He added: “And I think they allow these students to leave with the wrong attitude. The attitude nowadays seems to be to get famous quickly, to get ‘celebrity’ quickly, to get known quickly… without actually learning your job.

“I watch television and – I sound like an old fogey now – but I can’t hear what they’re saying sometimes. The words are the bedrock of what we are given as actors.”

The actor was speaking at a New York Times event in London with Ian McKellen. Jacobi has been recovering after a back injury and said that he had “no plans” for stage roles in 2015.