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Central Saint Martins

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BA (Hons) Acting

Start date
September 2019
Course length
3 years
UCAS code

Course summary

Applications closed 2019/20
Applications for 2019/20 entry to this course have now closed. Visit the ‘Courses with places available’ page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.

A Drama Centre course at Central Saint Martins. BA Acting prepares you for direct entry to the profession while laying the foundations for a lifelong acting career.

The intense and vocational course is inspired by teaching giants such as Stanislavsky, Vakhtangov and Yat Malmgren, and benefits from extensive industry contacts.

This course is part of the Performance Programme.

Great reasons to apply:

  • BA (Hons) Acting offers a prestigious and highly-regarded conservatoire training for professional theatre and recorded media.  It provides an innovative and methodological approach to developing the actor’s unique talent. A very small cohort ensures maximum individual attention and world-class education and training for life
  • BA Acting is one of the courses in the Programme that originates from the unique approach and techniques that were developed by Yat Malmgren and the course originated from Drama Centre London
  • You'll be guided by a core team of dedicated and highly gifted teachers whose work is adventurous, modern and international. Our actor training is a unique blend of character analysis, contemporary Stanislavsky, and Vakhtangov’s ‘Fantastic Realism’
  • You'll benefit from close links with the MA Directing course at Drama Centre London and collaborations with students from the vibrant artistic culture of Central Saint Martins and the University of the Arts London, including designers, artists, film-makers and writers
  • You’ll benefit from strong contacts with the profession, including regular visits from distinguished practitioners, alumni, visiting professors and freelance directors
  • 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
  • Five minutes’ walk from St Pancras International, we are at the heart of dynamic, multicultural London, the theatre capital of the world.

Open days

The next round of open days will take place early December 2019, please check back here by November 2019 to book online.

Scholarships, awards and funding

Drama Centre London

Find out more

An introduction to the BA Acting course

Student work

Student monologues – Class of 2018/19

Drama and Performance stories

Show Two: in pictures

Show Two: Design opened last night as the College showcased performances, installations and work by our graduating students from over 20 courses on our design-led Programmes.


Photograph from the stage of the Platform Theatre looking out onto rows of grey seats.
Platform Theatre at Central Saint Martins

Platform Theatre

Find out more about our Platform Theatre.

Tiered rows of grey seats, in the far corner someone is sat working at a desk
Studio Theatre at Central Saint Martins

Studio Theatre

Find out more about our Studio Theatre.

Inside the Costume Store at Central Saint martins. There are posters on a far wall and the room is filled with cupboards, rolls of posters and a mannequin.
Costume Store at Central Saint Martins


Find out more about the Costume facilities at Archway.

Class of 2018/19

Class of 2017/18

Course details

The purpose of the BA Acting Course is to prepare you to compete successfully for work as a professional actor. The course incorporates classes in acting, character analysis, movement, music, singing, voice, speech, play analysis, cultural and contextual studies that situate the actor in a wider context and preparation for the acting profession. The classes are fully integrated, designed to address the individual needs and aspirations of each student.  Assessment is based entirely on performance and class work. Students on this course are entitled to student membership of Equity, applying for full Equity membership on graduation.

The Stanislavski Method

The most famous and detailed of all systems and the point of departure for most subsequent developments. BA Acting works with both the Russian and the American methodologies. The course places a lot of emphasis on an approach to acting based on physical action, exemplified in Stanislavski’s late period work as well as that of Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof. The teaching therefore ensures a balance between the requirements of the stage on one hand and of film and television on the other.

German Expressionism and the legacy of Rudolf Laban

The course was created around the work of Yat Malmgren, one of the great solo artists of European modern dance and the creator of the Laban-Malmgren System of Character Analysis. His unique contribution developed the theoretical work on the psychology of movement initiated by Rudolf Laban, visionary innovator in the field of choreography and movement theory.


The course takes an eclectic approach that fuses the contributions of the modern masters, Vakhtangov, Brecht and Grotowski, placing at the heart of its work the exploration of character, story and dramatic relationships through improvisation.

Student individuality

Above all the course aims to develop its students’ individuality, technical skills and professional outlook to the point where they become independent artists, committed to the management of their creative resources. Its culture is one of disciplined patient development and profound enquiry into acting and directing.

Course units

Stage One (first year)

  • Unit one: Introduction to Study in Higher Education (20)
  • Unit two: Foundation, Exploration and Work on the Self (40)
  • Unit three: Rehearsal Methods for Realism (40)
  • Unit four: Analysis one: Archetypes and Storytelling (20)

Unit 1 encompasses the whole of the first term’s work, with particular emphasis on core concepts taught in the form of seminars and autonomous preparation for the dramatic presentation of research outcomes. In terms two and three, unit one gives way to unit four, which provides students with an opportunity to critically investigate theatrical archetypes and dramatic storytelling from both Western and Eastern perspectives, using the research and presentation methods established in the first term. unit two incorporates a wide range of performance skills required by the contemporary actor and is ongoing throughout the year. Although many of these skills need to be established by regular repetition and staff-led classes, there is also abundant scope for the individual exploration of students’ creative response to their personal history and cultural heritage, through improvisation and student-led exercises. For the first eight weeks of each term, unit three offers a gradual introduction to a specific rehearsal methods, applied to a play drawn from the Realist canon. Towards the end of term, skills classes give way to a full-time focus on these rehearsal exercises, which may include contemporary British plays, American Realism of the 30s and 40s and the ‘classical realism’ of France, Russia and Scandinavia at the turn of the 19th century.

Stage Two (second year)

  • Unit five: Expansion, Consolidation and Work on the Role (40)
  • Unit six: Character Analysis and Composition (20)
  • Unit seven: Rehearsal Methods for the Classical Actor (40)
  • Unit eight: Analysis two: Renaissance, Realism, Internationalism (20)

Stage 2 operates on a similar pattern to Stage 1. Skills classes operate a spiral curriculum, in which expertise in voice, movement and acting is refined and reinforced. The central importance of Character Analysis to BA (Hons) Acting is underlined by its allocation to an independent unit, which leads to the performance of ‘The Six’, i.e. a series of solo scenarios, using each of the character types. Rehearsal exercises during Stage 2 occupy the same position in the structure of the course: they are an opportunity to implement skills practised in Unit 5 in the 10 rehearsal and performance of text. They also introduce students to additional ways of working, both with staff directors and visiting tutors. The key development from Unit 3 to Unit 7 is that students are introduced to the challenge of dealing with heightened texts and non-naturalistic forms of theatre, frequently using complex language and verse. Plays are likely to be selected from the English Renaissance, the Restoration period, European classics or non-naturalistic material from the contemporary era. Unit 8 extends the work of Unit 4 through a critical examination of key themes from a multinational perspective, Renaissance Europe, Realism and the contemporary play.

Stage Three (third year)

  • Unit nine: The Skilful Actor (40)
  • Unit ten: The Professional Actor (80)

The purpose of stage three is to provide opportunities for students to synthesise the skills learned during stages two and three, to apply them to a range of creative projects, including both live theatre performance and recorded media and to prepare to apply their skills and talents in the world of the professional actor. The two units in stage three comprise an integrated package of activities that incorporate meetings with industry professionals and showcasing of work, audition practice, further development of skills that relate directly to public productions, participation in radio and screen acting projects and the opportunities for selected students to participate in industry-related events, such as the Wanamaker Festival, the Carleton Hobbes Awards and the Spotlight prize. Public productions normally take place in the Platform Theatre. Each student will be cast in three plays, either involving the entire year group or a sub-division of the cohort.


David  Jackson

David Jackson

Course Leader, BA Acting

David  Angus

David Angus

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


Aoife Smyth
Oleg Mirochnikov
Ben Askew(Character Analysis)
Mathew Wernham (Character Analysis)


Liana Norton (Movement Psychology)
Glen Snowden (Ballet)
Lydia Baksh (Movement Psychology)
Tim Klotz (Stage Combat)


Alex Bingley
Janis Price 
Jonathan Dawes

Music and Singing

Graeme du Fresne
John White


Ben Askew

Recorded Media

Bill Britten (TV and Film)

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 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:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

*          2 A Levels at grade C or above

*          Pass in Foundation Diploma in Performance (Level 3 or 4) and 1 A Level at grade C or above

*          Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma

*          Pass at UAL Extended Diploma

*          Access to Higher Education Diploma

*          Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma

And three GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C).

Entry to this course will also be determined by audition.

APEL - 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.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 7.5 or above, with at least 6.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English Language requirements webpage).

What we are looking for

We are looking 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Selection criteria

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

  • Stage presence
  • Ability to work as part of a group
  • Ability to respond to direction
  • Useful balance between emotional and intellectual engagement and spirit of enquiry
  • Storytelling ability
  • Knowledge of the demands and the realities of the profession
  • An examination of your knowledge of theatre, your professional aspirations and your understanding of the realities of the profession
  • A genuine interest in Drama Centre London and its particular approach to training
  • Ability to select and understand appropriate material.

Making your application

Applications for 2019/20 entry for this course are now closed. Applications for 2020/21 entry will open in Autumn 2019.

You should apply though Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 W410

We do not consider applications for Year 2 and Year 3 Entry for this course.

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

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is 15 January 2019.

Applications for 2019/20 entry for this course are now closed. Applications for 2020/21 entry will open in Autumn 2019.

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Central Saint Martins:

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

If you are applying via UCAS you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 W410

We do not consider applications for Year 2 and Year 3 Entry for this course.

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

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is 15 January 2019.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application 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.

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 / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next


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

You can audition in two ways:

  • Upload filmed audition pieces via the UAL Portal

Applicants who are unable to come in person will have the opportunity to submit filmed auditions.  Please be aware that if you are invited to attend a recall day, you will need to attend in person at the Central Saint Martins Granary Square building.

The deadline for uploading your filmed audition is 13.00 on Friday 15th February 2019.

  • 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.

The auditions commence from 1 December 2018 and run until 10 April 2019, subject to availability.

The BA Acting audition day for applicants who come in person has two stages.

Stage 1

You will be invited to a morning workshop at which you will present two speeches to an audition panel. One speech should be by Shakespeare or one of his contemporaries and the other written any time from 1950 onwards. Your speeches must be no longer than two minutes. You may be asked to explain briefly the context of your material.

After stage one we make a selection and notify candidates using a shortlist pinned to the door of the audition room.. If your name does not appear on this list, it means your application won't progress further on this occasion and you will receive formal notification in due course from UCAS.

Stage 2

If you are selected after the first stage, you will be invited to stay for the afternoon to work further on one or more of your speeches. 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. You are not expected to be perfect, but you will be expected to respond openly and bravely to the re-direction exercise. During the afternoon, the panel may also question you about your choice of material, your knowledge of the play, and your reasons for applying to Drama Centre. The afternoon sessions normally finish by 17.00 at the latest.

Please note that stages one and two are normally held on the same day.

There are three possible outcomes at the end of the audition day:

  • We may invite you to attend a full Recall day
  • We may suggest you re-apply for a Foundation, MA Acting or other suitable course within the university (if we recommend another UAL course, the audition will be free)
  • Your application has been unsuccessful and you will be formally notified of the outcome by UCAS.

Recall day

Candidates selected from the second stage or from online audition are invited to spend a whole day at Drama Centre at Central Saint Martins to take part in core classes, including acting, improvisation, movement, singing and voice. This will give you the chance to meet key members of staff and to experience BA Acting’s particular approach. You will need to prepare a song and bring sheet music on the day. It is in your interests to ensure the music is securely taped together so that the accompanist can sight-read it easily. Bear in mind you are not expected to be a great singer (although we don’t mind if you are!). Staff will be interested in seeing if you can act through your song. You will perform both your audition speeches again and you should be ready to respond to re-direction if required. Towards the end of the day you will present your classical monologue to all the candidates, students and staff present on the day in a supportive atmosphere. Finally, you will have the opportunity to ask questions of existing students and staff.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track or the UAL Portal.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250 (2019/20).

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2018/19 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£22,920 (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.


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

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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

Our 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.

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