Foundation Studies in Performance - Drama Centre London

Applications closed 2016/17

Applications for 2016/17 entry to this course have now closed. Visit the Places available page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.  

With its focus firmly on practical skills and techniques, Foundation Studies in Performance broadens your horizons and lets you test your aims and aptitudes in a supportive environment. You’ll emerge very well placed to apply for further training in the highly specialised, competitive and demanding performance sector.

Trilokjit Sengupta

Students take part in ballet class, part of the conservatoire based teaching at Drama Centre 

Trilokjit Sengupta

Students perform in their Final Major Showing, a public performance in the Platform Theatre Studio

Shahrbanoo Nezam Mafi

Students film work for their Final Major Project pieces

Performance class.

Students prepate for a movement class at Drama Centre. Key staff teach across the whole school, both on the Foundation course and on BA Acting. 

Welcome from Richard Williams, Course Leader

I know that most people on the Foundation course want to go onto a BA Acting course at a recognised drama school. In fact many people on the course have tried for a BA and been recommended to gain more experience. Therefore our foundation course offers a terrific preparation for BA Acting auditions and courses.

As part of the course you will get one-to-one advice and tuition on audition monologues so you are in the best possible condition both physically and mentally for your next step. And we have a great success rate. Each year about sixty percent of the year group go onto a BA Acting or Directing course at a recognised drama school. 

That's only a part of the course. You'll enjoy studying a broad range of subjects - including Shakespeare, Stanislavski, Text in Action, Acting for Camera, Dance, Movement and Performance Technique - all part of the highly focused Drama Centre conservatoire training. Our students approach their next step with the confidence that only such an intensively concentrated course can offer. I know the course isn't cheap, but that's because we are offering the very best of teaching and tuition with an incredibly intensive 30 hours of teaching weekly. 

Take a moment to read how vitally productive some of the present and past students have found it. Think about Drama Centre London Foundation Course as the place to begin your successful theatrical career.

Richard Williams
Course Leader Foundation in Performance Studies

Comments from this year's students

"The knowledge and experience I have gained from the course is phenomenal. It's an incredible start for anyone considering a career in performance"

"I definitely feel it's great value. It's world class training that has prepared me for a BA course"

"Worth every penny and I feel lucky to have gained a place here at Drama Centre."

"The tutors have taught me to challenge myself."

"The intensity was what I needed, the course was challenging and extremely beneficial."

"The Drama Centre course has allowed me to express myself physically and emotionally in a safe and creative environment. The foundation has given me invaluable tools that will carry me through my career."

"I got to know myself a lot better, physically and mentally in a safe and collaborative environment."

Richard Williams is a theatre and opera director with a long and distinguished career who has won several awards for his directing. He has worked with some of the country's leading performers including Imelda Staunton, Roger Allam, Mark Rylance, Sylvester McCoy and Alison Steadman. Naturally he brings a wealth of experience to the course as well as careful attention to each individual student.

The tutors on the Foundation Course all also teach at BA or MA level and include Oleg Mirochnikov, Liana Nyquist formally assistant to Yat Malgrem, film maker and West End director Harry Burton, and ex RSC actor and director Paul Goodwin.

After the completion of the course the Course Leader invites students to join in one or more summer projects which he is connected to in a professional capacity. So in the past students have appeared alongside professional performers at The Bath International Festival in a cabaret of Brecht/Weill songs, poems and scenes; Buxton Opera Festival in acting roles in a Vivaldi opera; the well-established Old Vic New Voices project; ‘Chalk Legends’ an epic production with The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as part of the Cultural Olympiad and other exciting professional opportunities. 

5 great reasons to apply

  • Foundation Studies in Performance at Drama Centre London has an extremely strong record of students gaining places at recognised drama schools for BA courses. 
  • You'll benefit from excellent studio, practice and teaching rooms in our iconic building, part of the exciting King's Cross development
  • The course offers a real experience of drama school life, with the same teaching staff and facilities as the BA and postgraduate courses at Drama Centre London.
  • You'll experience weekly visits to theatres and other cultural visits as well as close contacts with the profession and professional actors
  • You'll have the opportunity to participate in a professional production - a great start to your career CV!


Programme Director

Richard Williams

Course Location

King’s Cross

Study LevelFoundation
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year - full time
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fee - £13,290
Registration fee - £174 (2016/17). The 2017/18 fee is yet to be confirmed.
Other (cultural visit fees) - £300

Total: £13,764

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

Tuition fee - £13,290
Registration fee - £174 (2016/17). The 2017/18 fee is yet to be confirmed.
Other (cultural visit fees) - £300 (2016/17). The 2017/18 fee is yet to be confirmed.

Total: £13,764

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateTuesday 30 August 2016, finishing on Friday April 21 2017. Enrolment will be on Friday 26 August 2015.
Autumn Term DatesTuesday 30 August – Friday 28 October 2016 | Holiday week w/c 31 October
Spring Term DatesMonday 07 November – Friday 16 December 2016 & Tuesday 03 January – Friday 24 February 2017 | Holiday Week w/c 27 February
Summer Term DatesMonday 06 March 2017 – Friday 21 April 2017 (No teaching Good Friday 14/04/17 or Easter Monday 17/04/2017)
Application Route

Direct application

Content and structure

The Foundation Course at Drama Centre London is aimed at those who wish to improve their acting, directing and other performance skills in order to make informed decisions about their future careers. This course is part of the Access to HE and Progression programme.

Foundation Studies in Performance enables you to experience the rigour and variety available in the field of drama and to test your expectations and aspirations against the realities of vocational training. On completing the foundation course, students will normally expect to go on to study in higher education, mainly at vocational drama schools.

During the foundation course you will enhance your capacity to learn in a disciplined, organised manner and develop skills leading to self-reliant learning. You will also develop your critical awareness of contemporary performance and will learn to express your ideas clearly and articulately.

Foundation Studies in Performance is fully based in the practice of performance, delivered within a leading drama conservatoire, thus benefiting from the high levels of expertise of the professional staff at Drama Centre London.

Foundation Studies in Performance is "diagnostic" in nature: that means that the tutors will seek to help you widen your understanding of the various opportunities for careers in the field of drama. You may already feel that you are determined to pursue a career in acting or directing, for example. In this case, the course will help you to test your commitment and define your expectations. On the other hand, you may feel that, while attracted by the idea of working in drama, you are not yet sure of what the profession has to offer and of how your talent can be developed. If this is the case, then Foundation Studies in Performance will help you explore the opportunities available and enable you to make informed decisions about future studies.

Foundation Studies in Performance is structured in three stages and includes units in:

  • Acting
  • Acting for Camera and Recorded Media
  • Rehearsal and Performance
  • Improvisation
  • Movement
  • Voice
  • Text Interpretation
  • Introduction to the Performing Arts Business
  • Monologue Study
  • Scene Study/Rehearsal Methodology
  • Singing
  • Directing/Writing options
  • Preparation for Auditions

Stage 1

The first, exploratory, stage introduces you to core areas of performance: interaction; physical expression; communication of ideas. You and your colleagues arrive at a shared understanding of the essential nature of performance and its various media, periods and styles. Focused visits to theatre, dance, film and other performance opportunities are followed by group discussions designed to provide a contemporary and historical context. Sustained acting, voice and movement classes begin to develop a sense of 'play', character and circumstance and stage relationships.

Stage 2

The second, pathway, stage invites you to focus on a range of projects, studying the creative, technical and vocational aspects of the different performance media, reflecting your individual interests and potential. Scene and monologue study, recorded media, more advanced movement and voice, contribute to the deepening of the understanding of the art and skills which enable communication between performer and spectator.

Stage 3

The third, confirmatory, stage encourages you to adopt an autonomous, proactive approach to your future development as a performer. You undertake a significant piece of work and assume within it roles that reflect your future aspirations for work and/or further study. You continue to develop and put into practice your own ideas, informed by the experience of the first two stages. Personal, professional and promotion skills are put into practice in order to support your applications to drama schools and elsewhere.

Detailed course information: Foundation Studies in Performance (PDF 229KB)‌


Course Leader:Richard Williams


An impressive list of famous performers and a number of world-famous directors have emerged from courses at Drama Centre London.

Alumni include Paul Bettany, Pierce Brosnan, Simon Callow, Frances de la Tour, Paola Dionisotti, Colin Firth, Tara Fitzgerald, Anastasia Hille, Geraldine James, Helen McCrory, Jack Shepherd, John Simm, Colin Tierney, Lambert Wilson, Penelope Wilton and many more. Adrian Noble (for ten years Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company); film writer and director David Leland; novelist Esther Freud and television director Jan Sargent are among our graduates.

Entry requirements

Foundation Studies in Performance requires an audition

Selection to this course is determined by the quality of your application, meeting the minimum entry qualifications, and satisfying the selection criteria through the quality of an audition.

Drama Centre London recognises that your academic qualifications provide only partial evidence of your capacity to benefit from and ability to succeed on a foundation programme.

Minimum entry requirements

  • Passes in 1 GCE A Levels or a twelve Unit AVCE
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)


  • BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)

This educational level may be demonstrated by possession of equivalent qualifications; e.g. International Baccalaureat or High School Diploma. 

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by, for example: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

English language requirement

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for your visa, enrol and start your course. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the UAL English Language requirements page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

International applicants

Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please contact us by email:

The University has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section

The Language Centre offers international students quality language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to all international (non-EU) students who have been offered a place on a full time course at the University of the Arts. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

We also offer a number of short courses that enable students to improve their portfolios and English skills before applying to their chosen course. For further information visit our Short Course section.

What we look for

We look for applicants who can perform as a member of an ensemble, show a positive attitude to performance and demonstrate commitment.

Student selection criteria

The Audition Panel assesses all applicants' potential with regard to:

  • Analysis of the character, text and action presented in the audition pieces
  • Stage presence, use of emotion, intellectual engagement, voice and body
  • Acting focus, level of intensity and variety of expression
  • A sense of play and the ability to collaborate on stage
  • A sense of play and the ability to collaborate on stage
  • Knowledge and experience of performance
  • Awareness of personal and career goals

The interview will focus on:

  • Your views and ideas about theatre and performance
  • Your experience and aspirations for further training or study

Drama Centre we aim to audition all qualified applicants. We ask you to present two contrasting monologues from plays of any period; each one must last no longer than two and a half minutes.

You can replace one or both speeches with duologue scenes from the same period(s), in which case you’ll need to bring a partner with whom to present the scene(s).

Audition and interview advice

When choosing your audition pieces, you are advised to pick pieces which:

  • Are of your own gender and playing age
  • Last between 1.5 minute and a maximum of 2.5 minutes
  • Avoid swearing, unless it’s essential to the context
  • Demonstrate your current acting ability, rather than showcasing roles you would like to take on

The interview panel places a lot of emphasis on the interview in seeking to determine your potential as well as to help clarify your aspirations.

On audition days you will be looked after by Drama Centre students who will do their best to answer your questions and help you relax so that you can give the best account of your potential. Wear clothes that are comfortable and allow you to move freely. Try not to wear clothes that will work against the characters you’ll be portraying.

You should set aside a whole day. You’ll find refreshments in the coffee bar or canteen or within walking distance around King’s Cross Station.

For further advice please see Apply and audition web page

How to apply

When to apply

The deadline for applications for this course is 30 July 2016, but please note that the deadline for bursary applications will be 1 July 2016. Places are limited, however, so we advise you to submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment. 

Deferred entry

Because places at the Drama Centre are limited and courses are regularly over subscribed, the Centre does not normally accept applications for deferred entry. Deferred places are only made available under exceptional circumstances and will only be held for one year.

What happens next?

Once we have received your application form we will email you information on how to pay your £50 audition fee and book your date online. We recommend that you apply early and choose an early audition date. (Auditions start in early spring) Please check our website for dates and updates on the availability of audition dates.  

Please note: If you have auditioned this year for BA Acting or MA Directing at Drama Centre London, have paid the audition fee once already, and the panel has indicated in its letter to you that you would benefit from undertaking a Foundation course, then you can apply for the Drama Centre Foundation in Performance without having pay another audition fee. When being considered for the Foundation course, the panel will take into account the comments recorded by the BA audition panels.

Please bring a passport size photo of yourself for us to add to your application details and give it to the Audition Panel when you go in for your audition. You can also bring your CV if you wish to add to the data already entered, but you don’t have to. 

The selection process

The audition day

Stage 1 First audition including a short interview and  two speeches taken from plays of any period heard by a panel of two. The recall list will go up at the end of the session. In assessing your suitability for the course, the admissions panel will place greater emphasis on the interview than on the audition pieces and will take into account the following criteria:

  • knowledge and experience of theatre
  • awareness of personal and career goals
  • analysis of the character, text and action presented in the audition pieces
  • stage presence, use of emotion, intellectual engagement, voice and body
  • acting focus, level of intensity and variety of expression
  • a sense of play and the ability to collaborate on stage.

Stage 2 Workshop: if you were selected after the first stage, you will be asked to work with partners and in a group on simple verbal and non-verbal improvisations in a workshop lasting about one hour.

Please note that stages 1 and 2 are held on the same day. Auditions sometimes finish around 6.00pm and you may need to make appropriate travel arrangements.

Can't attend the audition?

International applicants (or EU in exceptional circumstances) unable to attend for audition may submit a DVD or USB (flash drive) of your performance of the two speeches as indicated above, at the same time as sending in the application form. If you are short-listed you will be interviewed by telephone.

DVD or USB must work on all Apple Mac and PC computers. All movies should be in QuickTime format.

Please contact the Admissions Team for further information by using our course enquiry form.

Selection is by the audition team (normally the Course Leader and one other), and offers of places are made on the basis of our selection criteria. We expect to let you know the outcome of your audition within two or three weeks. Applicants are informed of the decision by email via either the Student Administration or the International Office.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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