Motivation to Act

A Critical Evaluation of the Actor-Entrepreneur's 'Why' in a Post-Covid Landscape

  • Steven Sparling Kingston University
Keywords: Performers, Sustainability, Motivation, COVID, Arts Entrepreneurship, Creative Entrepreneurship


COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the global performing arts, particularly for live performance, such as theatre. Graduating actors and musical theatre graduates have faced a scarcity of opportunities to launch their careers, and this is having a negative impact on their motivation and mental health. This article draws upon qualitative research gathered in 2015 with mid-career UK actors to codify the reasons or motivations for pursuing acting as expressed by the research participants. Ten different motivations to act were identified. Using theories of flow and self-actualization, this research evaluates the stated motivations to assess which might be sustainable in light of COVID-19 constraints on acting production and which motivations might contribute towards negative mental health. This is positioned for the arts entrepreneurship educator as a classroom exercise to help students articulate their motivations and as a way to open dialogue about personal resilience, mental health and structural inequality within the performing arts. The aim is to help position graduates more strongly towards sustainable career paths.

How to Cite
SparlingS. (2021). Motivation to Act: A Critical Evaluation of the Actor-Entrepreneur’s ’Why’ in a Post-Covid Landscape. Journal of Arts Entrepreneurship Education, 3(2), 16-37.