How to choose masterclasses for actors

As an actor I can only begin to answer this question by telling you how I would personally choose Masterclasses and why should you take my advice? Well, as someone who moved to London a few years ago, from Devon, I've tried quite a few courses and workshops, of different techniques, at varying prices. And someone else's perspective is always useful in trying to decipher your own!

My first piece of advice would be to read. Read reviews of the Masterclass / workshop online, try and ask other people who have attended, look on CCP, send other actors messages, help each other if you are asked. Then go out and buy the book first, for example if you're considering a Masterclass in the Meisner technique, or physical theatre, or puppetry and the class is going to cost you some money, why not spend a smaller amount on a taster first. Think of it like revising for an exam and in reading up on what you will be studying / learning, you will be better placed to know whether the class is for you, if you decide that it is then you will also get more out of it by 'revising' first.

Número deux - research your Masterclass leaders or workshop practitioners before signing up. Ask yourself some simple questions: do they work directly in the area I'm interested in? What questions would I like to ask them? Would meeting them be a good return on my investment i.e will I learn something from them or is there the opportunity to work with / for them? If they are a prospective employer you will need to make sure you know why you want to work for them and go armed with CV, headshot and business cards.

Thirdly, when you attend a Masterclass ALWAYS go armed with CVs, headshots and business card if you have them. The number of times I've kicked myself for not doing this and bear in mind you are attending an 'industry event', with like minded people, interested/working in the same business!

Cost is only entering my advice blog in fourth because I believe that all of the above you can do for free beforehand or at minimal cost and when it comes to spending money on a Masterclass I've already mentioned my simple rule - will I get a return on my investment? Will you have a showreel at the end and is it worth the £5000 cost of the corse for example, is there a showcase, are the practitioners / tutors idols of yours, or have they become so during your research?Time.

Fifth, do you have the time to attend the class? Would your time be better spent doing something else like writing to that agent / producer. Is the time taken up by the class used well i.e if its a twelve week course what are you going to be doing for twelve weeks, you can work out the hourly rate of what you're spending too, there's that mention of money again.

And lastly if you do choose to attend a class or workshop please use your time wisely, make the time to take notes, take the time to approach the practitioner, it is your time and you might've paid for it.Lastly, will it inspire you? I attend several Masterclasses at varying interludes, paid for and for free, with well know theatre practitioners and also with friends in the business and I always ensure I am inspired. Listen to friends' advice, listen to your Masterclass leader, it is an amazing business we work in and if you get to go and have a 'lesson' in your chosen area, let it be a lesson well learnt and not easily forgotten.