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Front Row: A Grounded Theory Exploration of the Psychological Wellbeing of Professional Actors

Kumar, S (2019). Front Row: A Grounded Theory Exploration of the Psychological Wellbeing of Professional Actors. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

Within the media increasing numbers of testimonies are being exposed in relation to the consequences actors suffer as a result of their art. Despite actors being of topical interest to society, to date, research has focused on other groups of performing artists, with the actors being somewhat forgotten. This qualitative study aims to understand the nature of the processes involved in being a professional actor, and how that affects individual psychological wellbeing. It hopes to address the scarcity of research and understand more about this unique population, and how care can be adapted to meet their needs.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight professional actors. The resulting data was systematically analysed and categorised in accordance with principles of constructivist grounded theory.

The findings exposed that the acting industry has an extremely highpressured culture, throughout all stages of an actor’s career, from training, to seeking work, to being on a job. Secondly, the findings revealed that the methods actors use to get themselves into a character involved manipulating their imagination and their body to enter an out-of-body like state in an unregulated way. The third finding showed the impact of these first two findings on the actor's wellbeing and how their social, mental and physical wellbeing is impacted in a negative way. The last finding addresses the addictive nature of acting and gives insight into what keeps an actor in their profession despite the recognised harm to self and pull to leave.

A framework for psychologists to draw on in their work with actors is proposed, and suggestions are made regarding the position of counselling psychology in supporting the unique needs of actors. Collectively, the findings support previous research, and future research directions are explored.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23311
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