BA (Hons) Acting - Drama Centre London

Intensive and vocational, BA Acting prepares you for direct entry to the profession while laying the foundations for a lifelong acting career. It’s based on the work of teaching giants like Stanislavsky.

This course is part of the: Drama & Performance Programme

Scholarships and Awards available:

Charlotte and Dennis Stevenson Awards
Foundation for Essex Arts Scholarships
Mead Scholarships and Fellowships
Yat Malmgren Bursary

BA Acting at Drama Centre London, part of Central Saint Martins.

BA Acting, Two Planks and a Passion. Photo: Mark Duffield

Two Planks and a Passion. Photo: Mark Duffield

5 great reasons to apply

  • Drama Centre London offers prestigious and highly regarded professional conservatoire training for the theatre and recorded media, providing a methodological and innovative approach to developing the actor’s unique talent. A very small cohort ensures maximum individual attention.
  • You’ll benefit from strong contacts with the profession, including regular visits by distinguished practitioners, visiting professors or directors.
  • You'll be guided by a core team of dedicated and highly gifted teachers whose work is adventurous, modern and international- and whose training has been influenced by the core disciplines of Drama Centre’s inaugural directors, offering education and training for life.
  • Our Agents Showcase opens doors to professional opportunities during the later stages of the course: in recent years students still in training have secured prestigious professional engagements.
  • You'll benefit from close links with the Directing Course at Drama Centre and collaboration with student designers, filmmakers and others within Central Saint Martins and the University of the Arts.


Course Leader

Seb Harcombe

Course Location

King's Cross, London

Study LevelUndergraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length3 years full time
Home/EU Fee

£9,000 per year (2016/17). 

Please note that fees for the 2nd and any subsequent years is 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

£17,230 per year (2016/17).

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 DateMonday 25 September 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September - Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January – Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 16 April - Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route


Application DeadlineApplications for 2017/18 entry will close on 15 January 2017.
UCAS CodeW410
University CodeU65

Content and structure

Highly vocational and intensive, BA Acting prepares you for direct entry to the acting profession while laying the foundations for a successful career in acting.

Distinctive features of BA Acting include:

  • Intensive career focus, including a well-attended Agents' Showcase event.
  • Close links with the directing course at the Drama Centre London and collaboration with student designers, filmmakers and others from within Central Saint Martins and University of the Arts London
  • Strong contacts with the profession, including regular visits by distinguished practitioners either as lecturers, visiting professors or directors
  • A methodological approach based on the work and achievements of leading artists and teachers from 20th century European and American theatre
  • A balanced approach to repertoire, covering the classics and contemporary theatre and with a strong emphasis on the screen

UAL statement on learning and teaching

Courses in UAL span a broad range of art, design, communication, business, media, science and communication subjects. So the ways in which you learn and how your time is used will vary according to the specific course you are studying; this may be in studios, labs, classes, involve working alone, learning from peers in pairs or groups, or with external partners. Most importantly, no matter which course you enrol on, you will learn not only about your subject but also about how you learn and how to increase your knowledge base.

Our courses will guide you to take increasing responsibility and ownership of your work and your learning. We do this so that you will be ready and able to take full advantage of the full range of opportunities offered by the creative industries in the global economy.

UAL statement on assessment methods

Assessment always sounds austere and foreboding, but it is not. We see assessment as a very real part of learning, rather than just a means of looking back at past work and measuring achievement; we believe that assessment helps you plan future work and develop new ideas.

Your work will be assessed through projects or portfolios, with written papers or research journals, and, on some courses, examinations.  You will be graded according to a set of marking criteria that relate to such things as research, subject knowledge, methodology, and your capacity to analyse and reflect on your achievements. So don’t be afraid of assessment - it is the way to progress.

BA Acting runs for 108 weeks full time over three years, and is divided into three Levels, each lasting 36 weeks (30 weeks of study and 6 of production/performance).

The whole course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each Level.

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: Level 4 (which is stage 1 of the course), Level 5 and Level 6.

There's a progression point at the end of each Level and, in order to progress, all units of the preceding Level must normally have been passed.

If you're unable to continue on the course, a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) will normally be offered following successful completion of Level 4, or a Diploma in Higher Education following successful completion of Level 5.

To gain a BA (Honours), students must successfully complete 360 credits. The final award is made up of marks from Level 6 units only, weighted in line with their credits.

Course outline

BA Acting is structured as an organic process of development over three years (stages) and comprises: Main Study (Acting, Voice, Movement), Contextual Studies (Theatre & Character Analysis, Music), and Personal and Professional Development, including intensive professional preparation.

Course work upholds a methodological approach to acting while developing your ability to work as part of an ensemble.

Course methodologies derive from the work of leading artists and teachers from 20th century European and American theatre. These include Konstantin Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof, Yevgeny Vakhtangov, Bertolt Brecht, Joan Littlewood, Rudolf Laban and Yat Malmgren.

The core technical disciplines (acting, voice, body) require a process of progressive and systematic development over three years. Many of the activities associated with these disciplines, such as regular classes and daily warm-ups, are about 'tuning the instrument'. Imaginative, analytical and critical faculties call for similarly careful and progressive development.

At the heart of BA Acting at Drama Centre London is performance, a complex process of decision making and problem solving that calls for an interaction between conscious and unconscious activity, intuition and skill. All course teaching and learning activities culminate in rehearsal exercises, which are given before internal or public audiences.

  • Stage One is entitled 'The Year of Subjectivity'. During this year you'll investigate the self and learn to move from the concrete to the abstract in your work.
  • Stage Two is entitled 'The Year of Objectivity'. During this year you'll learn to locate your work within a conceptual framework.
  • Stage Three is entitled 'The Year of Synthesis'. During this year you'll learn to merge learning elements and disciplines into a single organic process.

BA Acting as a whole sets out to help you become an educated and trained actor, 'owning' your acting process and ready to enter the profession.

Stage One: The Year of Subjectivity: Abstraction and Investigation

Stage One initiates a systematic study of the essential skills of the actor through a series of practical classes in acting, voice, movement, movement psychology, ballet and singing. By contributing to our public shows during production weeks you'll gain an organic sense of what making theatre is about, working in a range of roles behind the scenes as well as occasionally on stage alongside Year 3 colleagues. Supporting these opportunities are classes in theatre analysis, character analysis and music. You're also introduced at a basic level to the special discipline of acting for the camera. As an actor you must be part of the society you live in. We encourage you to read widely, to visit exhibitions and performances, and to connect with cultural life in London.

During the year you'll participate in three Rehearsal Exercises. At this early stage the plays will mostly be taken from the realistic repertoire, embracing social realism and the comic. The first Rehearsal Exercise takes the form of a rehearsed reading. In Terms Two and Three the Rehearsal Exercises are staged, with a focus on repeating with precision what you've developed in rehearsal.

Stage Two: The Year of Objectivity: A Conceptual Framework

In Stage Two you'll study essential acting skills in more depth. In addition to studying acting, voice, movement, movement psychology, ballet and singing, you'll begin to explore stage combat techniques. You'll also start work on acting for the microphone while learning how to be at ease in front of the camera.

Stage Two puts more emphasis on the demands of the classical stage, focusing on the challenges posed by complex texts from the neo-classical repertoire. Your work on movement psychology gives you a more detailed grasp of character typology and the principles of structure and composition in acting. Work on theatre analysis and contextual studies focuses on the artistic repercussions of key social developments.

During this year you'll participate in three Rehearsal Exercises that present stylistic and emotional challenges.

Stage Three: The Year of Synthesis

In Stage Three you'll develop your expressive range and control of your creative resources further, synthesising and refocusing them. Your Rehearsal Exercises focus on sustaining an entire role in an exacting play in front of an audience while you build mature creative relationships with directors, designers and others. The course emphasis shifts from structured classes towards independent work.

To prepare you for professional life you'll learn about agents, casting directors and the actors' union. Your tutorials will help you meet the demands of professional auditions. You'll prepare short monologues and dialogue scenes, drawing mainly on contemporary material, for our Agents' Showcase. And you'll be encouraged to develop strategies for managing the periods of unemployment that are part of a professional actor's life.


Course Leader: David Jackson

Acting for Microphone: David Angus
Analysis: Ben Askew
Acting: John Beschizza
Text: Alex Bingley
Acting for Camera:Bill Britten
Musical Repertoire: Andrew Davidson
Speech: Jonathan Dawes
Singing: Graham Dufresne
Shakespeare Text:Paul Goodwin
Stage Combat: Tim Klotz
Acting: Oleg Mirochnikov
Analysis:Vladimir Mirodan
Movement: Liana Nyquist
Voice: Janis Price
Character Analysis:Tim Robins
Acting: Aoife Smyth
Ballet: Glen Snowden
Acting: Annie Tyson
Music: John White

Visiting professional: Tony Clark 
Visiting professional: Gary Davy
Visiting professional: Simon Dormandy
Visiting professional: Alan Dunnett
Visiting professional: Chris Ettridge
Visiting professional: Lawrence Evans
Visiting professional: Mark Friend
Visiting professional: Diana Fraser
Visiting professional: Rupert Frazer
Visiting professional: Nikolai Foster
Visiting professional: Jane Gibson
Visiting professional: Piers Haggard
Visiting professional: Rob Hale
Visiting professional: Scott Handy
Visiting professional: Philip Hedley
Visiting professional: Jonathan Humphreys 
Visiting professional: Melanie Jessop
Visiting professional: Gabrielle Jourdan
Visiting professional: Sue Lefton
Visiting professional: Mark Ravenhill
Visiting professional: Kath Rogers
Visiting professional: Agnes Treplin
Visiting professional: Di Trevis
Visiting professional: David Tucker
Visiting professional: Richard Williams



Our BA Acting Stage Three Showcase, presented before an audience of agents, casting directors and potential employers, opens doors to professional opportunities in London and beyond during the later stages of the course.

In recent years, students still on the course have secured prestigious professional engagements, including:

  • ‘The Rotters’ Club’ - BBC1
  • ‘What the Butler Saw’ - Hampstead Theatre and Criterion Theatre (West End)
  • ‘Cymbeline’ - Cheek by Jowl at the Barbican and on a European tour
  • ‘Macbeth’ – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
  • ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore’ – West Yorkshire Playhouse
  • ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Marat/Sade’ – Royal Shakespeare Company
  • ‘Black Watch’ - National Theatre of Scotland, Barbican and New York
  • 'The Physicists' - Donmar Warehouse

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 (until recently Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company) and filmmaker David Leland are two of the many directors among our graduates.

BA Acting aims to deepen your awareness of the profession in all its aspects, including the risks and uncertainties associated with the acting life. In addition to your education and training as an actor, we offer education and training for life and work through our personal and professional development programmes.

Entry requirements

This degree course requires an audition

Entry to BA Acting is highly competitive. Selection is determined by the quality of the application, indicated primarily in the quality of your audition and interview. See below for the selection criteria and information on how to apply.

You also need to meet minimum entry requirements as indicated below, but please note that such qualifications alone will not be sufficient.

  • A Foundation Diploma in Performance (level 3 or 4)
  • A pass in 1 GCE A Level
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)


  • Passes in 2 GCE A Levels
  • 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 Baccalaureate 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 requirements

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 a visa, enrol, and start your course. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the 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 can download the International Application For Admission PDF below:


What we look for

We look for students who are ready to take on an extremely demanding profession, who are mature and self-confident, and who are willing to take criticism and turn it to their advantage while preserving a sense of humour. Above all, we look for people who can express themselves freely and with confidence.

We're looking for potential student actors who are committed, sensitive, imaginative, curious and resilient, with a passion for acting and a serious approach to the art of acting in the classical tradition. We're looking for people who are not afraid to take creative risks, who respond to stimuli and who are excited by the idea of being in an ensemble, working generously and openly with others.

Student selection criteria

Our BA Acting Audition Panel assesses all candidates in these areas:

  • Stage presence
  • Ability to work as part of a group
  • Ability to respond to direction
  • Useful balance between emotional and intellectual engagement
  • Spirit of enquiry
  • Storytelling
  • Knowledge of the demands and the realities of the profession

The interview will focus on:

  • An examination of your knowledge of theatre, your professional aspirations and your understanding of the realities of the profession
  • Why you're interested in Drama Centre London and its particular approach to training
  • Your choice of text or texts and understanding of the material

At Drama Centre London we aim to audition all qualified applicants. We ask you to prepare two audition speeches, each lasting no longer than three minutes. One speech should be in verse and from a play by Shakespeare or one of his contemporaries. The other speech should be from any play written later than 1830.

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 you to present the scene(s) with.

Audition advice

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 canteen or within walking distance at a range of shops, takeaways and cafes.

When choosing your audition texts, pick pieces that:

  • Are of your own gender and playing age
  • Last between 1.5 minute and the maximum of 3 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

Your interview will include a focus on the play or material chosen, its context and meaning. We may also ask you to improvise or do simple exercises as part of the selection process.


2017/18 entry

Home / EU applicants

Apply to BA Acting through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). From the UCAS home page go to 'Apply', where you’ll be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form. 

The University UCAS code is UAL. The University code is U65. The course code is W410 BA/ACT.

International applicants

If you are from outside the European Union: You have two options to apply for undergraduate courses.

  • Apply through UCAS
  • Audition by DVD- Although we encourage all BA Acting applicants to attend for audition and interview you may, alternatively, submit a DVD of you performing one speech from a play by Shakespeare and one other from a play of your choice. Please don't submit a video recording of a theatre 'performance', though extracts from film work can be included as well as speeches. The panel may then invite selected candidates to attend a recall day. Contact if you would like to audition by DVD.

Visit the undergraduate application page for full details of these options.

If applying direct to Central Saint Martins, please complete the form below and sent it along with copies of supporting documents (such as previous qualifications / references) by mail to: International Office, Central Saint Martins, The Granary Building, Granary Square, London , N1C 4 AA  UK.

Study Abroad

For information on applying to Study Abroad please visit the Study Abroad section.

We're here to help

Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please use our enquiry form.

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.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you’re considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

Once UCAS has forwarded your application form to Drama Centre London you'll be sent an audition pack including instructions on how to book and pay for your audition online. The non-refundable audition fee is £50.00. Auditions normally take place between December and June. Drama Centre London seeks to audition and interview all applicants. We recommend you choose an early audition date. For more details about our audition procedure visit the auditions and interviews page.

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.

Candidates will be invited to attend a selection process that consists of:

Audition day

The BA Acting audition day has three stages. After each stage we make a selection and notify candidates using a shortlist pinned to the board. If your name doesn't appear on this 'recall' list, it means your application won't progress further and you'll receive formal notification in due course from UCAS.

Stage 1
First audition including a short interview: two speeches heard by a panel, normally composed of Centre staff and a professional representative. The recall list will go up at about 1.30pm.

Stage 2
Recall: if you're selected after the first stage the panel hears one or more speeches, conducts an extended interview about you and your materials, and may also ask you to work on the speech under direction. A second list will then go up.

Stage 3
Workshop: if you were selected after the second stage, you may be asked to work with partners on simple verbal and non-verbal improvisations in a workshop lasting about one hour.

Please note that stages 1, 2 and 3 are normally held on the same day. Auditions sometimes finish around 7.30pm and you may need to make appropriate travel arrangements.

If you progress to the end of the day we'll write to you soon afterwards to let you know the panel's decision. Some candidates will be invited back for a full recall day.

Recall day

Candidates selected from the third stage are invited to spend a whole recall day at the Drama Centre London to take part in core classes (e.g. acting, improvisation, movement, singing, voice). You'll also have a chance to meet key members of staff informally and may also have a further interview with the Director.

Selection is made by a minimum of two members of staff and offers of places are based on our selection criteria as described. We keep notes about decisions made following the interview process.

The result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through UCAS track. You'll only receive further communication directly from the college if your application has been successful and this will be in the form of a full offer pack.

Receiving results of your application

  • If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS track.
  • If you made a direct application, the result will be emailed or sent by post.

You’ll only receive further communication directly from the college if your application has been successful and this will be in the form of a full offer pack.

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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