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MA Acting

College
CSM
Course length
One year full-time (45 weeks)

Course closed

This course is now closed and will no longer be taking applications. Please look at the related courses in our Performance Programme. Here is the closure announcement.

An intensive one year (45 week) full-time course that focuses on the actor as both material and maker.

MA Acting offers rigorous training and a variety of complementary techniques in preparation for the contemporary profession; this course facilitates your physical, intellectual and expressive development into a skilled and versatile actor. It is part of the Performance programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Contemporary and traditional: MA Acting is a contemporary acting course with a traditional underpinning. It produces skilled imaginative actors who use their own creative intelligence.
  • Intensive and challenging: You will participate in a demanding and fulfilling programme of classes covering movement, voice, speech, ballet, social dance, neutral mask, a range of acting techniques and rehearsal approaches.
  • London and beyond: MA Acting uses a full range of facilities at Central Saint Martins and encourages collaborations within the Performance programme and beyond. The course has an established and long-term association with Boris Shchukin Institute (BSI) in Moscow. This provides students with the option of a substantial study programme at BSI in the second unit of the course.
  • Successful alumni: There is an impressive list of performers and directors who have emerged from the Performance programme at Central Saint Martins. We take pride in our graduates – not only as successful actors but also for the positive changes and social impact they are making in the industry.
MA Acting collaborative live project

Student work

Performance stories

Reader: Andrea Luka Zimmerman

To mark our new Readers, we hear more about their research plans. Here, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Reader and Lecturer in the Performance programme, talks about access to artists' films and the need for new narrative structures in film.

Facilities

Alumni

Carlotta De Gregori
Carlotta De Gregori - MA Acting 2018
Johny Gill
Johny Gill - MA Acting 2018
Madeleine Gray
Madeleine Gray - MA Acting 2018
Robin Harris
Robin Harris - MA Acting 2018

Course overview

MA Acting explores various acting techniques, bringing them together in creative interaction. Students investigate contemporary texts and recognised dramatic literature from a range and diversity of sources. You will apply acting techniques of material of different origins, establishing connections across dramatic approaches to them. By tracing influences back to their sources, the course highlights the contexts from which contemporary acting draws its strengths. 

MA Acting prepares you to compete for work on stage, screen broadcast media and in related fields. The course examines proven acting techniques and enables students to enhance and exploit their individual capacity and agency to its full potential. It challenges connections between perspectives of traditional theatre, modern realism, and contemporary performance, adjusted to the needs of the individual as a developing professional. You will be encouraged to synthesise and develop your own insights through your individual working methodology. This will be suitable for a wide range of practice including recorded media.

MA Acting approaches performance by addressing the need for generosity, collaborative kindness/collegiality/inclusivity, and professional ethics as an actor. The course emphasises theatrical approaches. In particular, it focuses on narrative structures, movement expression and the conveying of complex texts by means of a well-trained voice. You will also explore text and subtext in detail. You will focus on vocal accuracy with speed, expressivity on a large scale, and engagement with the audience. You will also be encouraged to develop skills required for; realism, character, action and the relationship between storyteller and audience. 

The course focuses on complementary acting techniques required for performing a range of texts and narratives. It will encourage you to discover a working method that can be applied to most dramatic material. This will be tested in practice through scenes taken from plays. These may include works by Pinter, Ibsen, Strindberg, Pirandello, and Gorky but also a range of contemporary writers. 

Course units

MA Acting seeks to develop its students’ individuality, technical skills and professional outlook. You will be supported to become a professional artist, committed to the management and development of your practice.  

One of the key features of the course is its strong links with the profession. Throughout the course, you will learn more about the realities of how theatre and the acting professions work in contemporary spaces. Actor training at CSM has built up a close relationship with the professional community since its origins with the Drama Centre London. Student and graduate work is celebrated by professional employers, practitioners and agents.  

Unit 1: Skills and Techniques of Acting  

This unit examines a range of acting methodologies, preparing you for future rehearsal of scenes. It is structured as an intensive preparatory period of acting techniques and physical and language skills. It is followed by an execution element, in which these techniques are developed and tested. This takes place through scene study of challenging and complex texts.  

Unit 2: The Practice of Acting  

Unit 2 is dedicated to developing your practical understanding of the demands of different texts, materials and platforms for acting and you will rehearse scenes from Elizabethan drama. Then, following an induction and preparation you will explore an acting technique in-depth, for example, the Vakhtangov technique.  

The second part of the unit begins with rehearsals on scenes, duologues and audition monologues. Your studies will focus on performance, including an industry showcase and preparation for the profession. 

Unit 3: Consolidation and Performance  

Unit 3 integrates your learning experiences. You will have the opportunity to use and develop your skills. You will prepare for employability, including critical engagement with current practice in the field of acting.  

Professional preparation 

In Unit 3 there are elements of personal and professional development. These underpin the way in which you deal with the dynamics of the creative team throughout the course. Your integration into professional fields and into practice of theatre will be increasingly related to your current activities. For example preparation of head shots and CV or professional profiles.

Reflective journal summaries 

The process of self-evaluation is a key aspect of the course. The principal instrument of this is a reflective journal summary. This will allow you to develop your self-awareness as a practitioner. It will encourage you to reflect on all aspects of your creative work. By capturing an analytical dialogue between yourself and the work, you will both inform and challenge your practice.  

Mode of study 

MA Acting is offered in full-time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 12 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study. 

Credit and award requirements 

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.  

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree).  

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only.  

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.  

Learning and teaching methods

  • Briefing materials and meetings 
  • Inductions and workshops 
  • Skills and techniques classes 
  • Rehearsal exercises 
  • Live external and internal projects and performances 
  • Personal and group tutorials 
  • Seminars and debates 
  • Critiques and presentations 
  • Study and directional planning 
  • Recommended reading, viewing and visits 
  • Independent study 
  • Peer and self-critical evaluation 
  • Assessment feedback 

Assessment methods

  • Active engagement in skills classes 
  • Research and preparatory work 
  • Documentation of work 
  • Live presentations and performances 
  • Participation in activities and debate 
  • Peer and self-critical evaluation 
  • Formative and summative assessment 

Staff

Laura  McCormack

Laura McCormack

Course Leader, MA Acting

Oleg  Mirochnikov

Oleg Mirochnikov

Senior Acting Tutor in Vakhtangov Tradition, Performance

Benjamin  Askew

Dr Benjamin Askew

Lecturer in Theatre Analysis, Performance

David  Angus

David Angus

Lecturer in Radio Drama, Performance; Lecturer in Recorded Voice, BA Acting

Associate lecturers

Ballet: Glen Snowden
Critical Analysis: Mary Ann Vargas
Movement Psychology: Lydia Baksh
Movement: Liana Nyquis
Music: John White
Practical Voice: Alex Bingley
Speech and Dialect: Helen Ashton
Stage Combat: Tim Klotz

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An honours degree 
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference

Or a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Entry to this course will also be determined by audition.

English language requirements

IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with at least 6.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • High level of intellectual engagement
  • High physical awareness and adaptability
  • High vocal awareness and adaptability
  • Highly developed characterization
  • High interactive awareness and adaptability
  • Confidence and flexible collaboration
  • An interest in theatre.

What we are looking for

Successful candidates for MA Acting will be expected to bring to the course a level of understanding of drama in its various contexts as well as an ability to work autonomously for sustained periods with the appropriate concentration, focus and resilience. As the course places strong emphasis on collaboration and the ability to work within an ensemble, successful candidates would be expected to demonstrate openness, flexibility and generosity within the context of a creative group. The vocational nature of the course implies a certain degree of proficiency on entry.

Making your application

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (between 300-500 words) and should include:

  • Details of your particular subject interests
  • Relevant experience or abilities
  • What you wish to achieve on the course
  • Your career aspirations.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 31 March 2020 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

There are two ways international students can apply:

  • One of our official representatives in your country
  • A direct application.

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (between 300-500 words) and should include:

  • Details of your particular subject interests
  • Relevant experience or abilities
  • What you wish to achieve on the course
  • Your career aspirations.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 31 March 2020 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.


After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to submit a portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Auditions

You will be invited to book and pay for an audition through the UAL Portal.  The cost of the audition is £50.00 and is non-refundable.  

You can audition in two ways:

  • Upload filmed audition pieces via the UAL Portal
  • Attend an in person audition.

Due to the volume of applications received, we have limited availability for in person auditions.  We strongly advise you book your audition early and we often find there is greater availability for the earlier audition dates.  Please note if you are unable to attend an audition you have already booked we cannot rearrange an alternative date for you. In these circumstances, you will need to submit filmed audition pieces via the UAL Portal.

MA Acting has two stages.  Not all applicants are invited to Stage 2, recall. Recall can only be undertaken in person at the CSM Kings Cross site.

Stage 1

You will present two speeches to a panel, normally composed of Programme staff and a professional representative. Your speeches must last no longer than TWO minutes each.  One speech should be by Shakespeare or one of his contemporaries and the other written later than 1830 onward. You may be asked to explain briefly the context of your material.

You may replace one or both speeches with duologue scenes from the same period(s); in which case you need to bring a partner with whom to present the scene(s). All candidates are interviewed, with particular attention being given to the pieces chosen, their context and meaning. You may also be asked to improvise or attempt simple exercises.

Stage 2 – Recall

If you are selected after the first stage, the panel will ask you to repeat one or more or your speeches in a workshop that will include the other candidates invited to stage two. The panel are likely to redirect your speech and may ask you to work with a partner, either another candidate or a student already at the school.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

£17,300 (2020/21)

£1,000 discount for Home/EU students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

International fee

£25,880 (2020/21)

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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