National Actors’ Day on September 8 is about celebrating how actors make us feel when they play our favorite characters and how they help us appreciate the art form as a whole. This day is celebrated in the U.S. to honor the actors who give their talent, time, and energy just to entertain us. It recognizes not only the big stars, but also the artists who have portrayed roles in media such as film, T.V., or theater. We recognize the work of those in this profession, so it’s good to take a day to value their amazing work. Recognizing the work of these artists can make more of a difference than we may realize.
History of Actors' Day
Acting is said to have originated in Egypt as early as 4000 B.C. when priests worshiped the memory of the departed. In China, keeping alive the memory of the victory of the current emperor’s ancestors over its predecessor paved the way for the development of the first nonreligious acting.
In Ancient Greece, the forms of acting occurred with drama plays. Early actors used a mask to portray several characters in one play. They made the body express through mime what the face could not. Meanwhile, the Roman Empire’s theatrical plays were filled with spectacle and diversity.
The Middle Ages, with its season of Catholic influence, attempted to label acting as a dangerous, immoral, and pagan art form, which lowered its popularity immensely. The Renaissance period then brought acting back and transformed it again with morality plays. This was followed by William Shakespeare in the 1700s, who solidified theater acting in its place.
Italy was the birthplace of modern professional acting in the West during the early 16th century. Actors invented words and actions to breathe life into scenarios, teaching actors to collaborate. Even so, the weight is still on an individual actor’s skills and cleverness.
Since then, acting has evolved into a highly respected art form. Famous actors from all over the world play characters from books, plays, and scripts, and then convey those characters through Broadway shows, theater plays, and films.
Actors' Day timeline
Pisistratus, the ruler of Athens, establishes a series of public festivals featuring competitions in music, singing, dance, and poetry.
Thespis steps onto the stage at the Theater of Dionysus, becoming the first recorded performing actor.
Women begin to appear in plays and movies in their own right.
Joan Littlewood pioneers the use of improvisation in the United Kingdom.
Actors' Day FAQs
When did Saudi Arabia reopen theaters?
Saudi Arabians started flocking to cinemas in April 2018 after nearly a 40-year ban. This was one of the reforms put forth by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a means to modernize Arab culture and lessen the kingdom’s economic dependence on oil.
Who coined the term ‘EGOT?’
“Miami Vice” actor Philip Michael Thomas conceptualized the term ‘EGOT’ in his pursuit of winning the major entertainment awards in the acting industry. ‘EGOT’ stands for the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards, thus becoming a distinction for actors who won all of these awards.
What is the latest number one worst movie?
As of 2022, “The Last Days of American Crime” (2020) was rated the worst movie on the site “Rotten Tomatoes.”
Actors' Day Activities
Share on social media
If you're a cast member, post photos from the rehearsal room or behind the scenes, or record a video explaining what got you into acting. Share your love of acting with the world.
Watch some shows
Take this day to watch your favorite actors' greatest works. You can also host a movie night with friends and family and share this holiday with everyone.
Have a party
A movie-inspired party to celebrate the date is a fantastic way to mark this day. Keeping it specific to a genre will make it easier to find fun costumes.
5 Fun Facts About Acting That Will Entertain You
Greek poet inspired a term for actors
Actors are commonly referred to as ‘Thespians’ in honor of the first actor, Thespis.
Studying performances is a science
The study of how aspects of a performance translate to its audience as signs is known as semiotics.
Actors become more relaxed as they perform
A performer's heart rate rises the most before they begin speaking, then drops significantly at the end of a monologue, big action scene, or performance.
No women are allowed
In England at the time of William Shakespeare, only men could become actors.
Actors reach global audience
There are approximately 200,000 cinema screens worldwide.
Why We Love Actors' Day
It is fun
This day is all about enjoying creative performances. It is a day of merriment as we celebrate our favorite actors and actresses.
We watch our favorite shows
There's nothing like kicking back and watching your favorite movie or T.V. show. On National Actors’ Day, we get to enjoy more of them with our loved ones.
We learn some history
Acting goes back thousands of years. National Actors’ Day is the perfect opportunity to learn all about it.
Actors' Day dates