London: Veteran actor Sir Ian McKellen feels that the standard of British drama is deteriorating because young actors are motivated by fame and money rather than by love for theatre.
The 71-year-old said good theatre is suffering because a cut-throat drama school culture is teaching young actors to be too self-centred.
"Standards of performance are being reduced. Once someone declares they are a professional actor, they can now perform wherever they want. There is no system any more," telegraph.co.uk quoted him as saying.
He added: "All those drama school messages like, `You are on your own in this business` and `Get yourself an agent` or `Don`t believe another actor who gives you a note on your performance` are only a part of the picture."
McKellen, who is a vice-president of the National Youth Theatre, said he was dismayed at the money-driven attitude he observed in many young actors, who he said choose their roles based on how much they pay rather than on their theatrical merits.
"It is always a surprise to me when I meet young people who are just happy to have got a big job, or to have got a good agent," he said.
"Happily there are others who talk about the long term and who take extra care with their choices and do not think too much about how much they are paid," he added.