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BA (Hons) Acting

Course length
Three years full-time (99 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.

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.

This intense and vocational course is inspired by contemporary Stanislavski-based practice, Vakhtangov’s “fantastic realism” and Yat Malmgren’s Character Analysis. It is part of the Performance programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Inspiring staff team: You will be guided by a core team of dedicated and highly gifted teachers whose work is adventurous, contemporary and international.
  • Conservatoire training: BA 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 small cohort ensures maximum individual attention and world-class education and training.
  • Professional links: You will benefit from strong contacts with the profession, including regular visits from distinguished practitioners, alumni, visiting lecturers and freelance directors. Agents and casting directors are invited to third-year public performances and showcases.
  • Drama Centre: Your training will be informed by influential methodologies, including the distinctive approach to the Stanislavski system which was originally developed by Drama Centre.

Drama Centre London

Find out more

An introduction to the BA Acting course

Student work

  • The-Treatment-Ojan-Genc-and-Joshua-DunnMark-Duffield-2019.jpg
    © Mark Duffield
  • The-Treatment-Eleanor-BarrettMark-Duffield-2019.jpg
    © Mark Duffield
  • The-Treatment-Eleanor-Barrett-and-Matt-WilliamsMark-Duffield-2019.jpg
    © Mark Duffield
  • NSFW-Laetitia-Valstar-and-Jules-Chan-Mark-Duffield-2019.jpg
    © Mark Duffield
  • NSFW-James-Warburton-and-Jules-Chan-Mark-Duffield-2019.jpg
    © Mark Duffield
  • The-Treatment-Dannie-Harris,-Olivier-Huband,-Naomi-TankelMark-Duffield-2019.jpg
    The Treatment - Dannie Harris, Olivier Huband, Naomi Tankel © Mark Duffield

Student monologues – Class of 2019/20

Drama and Performance stories


Photograph from the stage of the Platform Theatre looking out onto rows of grey seats.
Platform Theatre at Central Saint Martins
Tiered rows of grey seats, in the far corner someone is sat working at a desk
Studio Theatre at Central Saint Martins
Students in the costume store
© John Sturrock

Class of 2018/19

Class of 2017/18

Course overview

BA Acting prepares you to compete for work as a professional actor. The course includes a wide variety of classes, including acting, character analysis, movement, music, singing, voice, speech, play analysis and cultural and contextual studies.  This combination of classes will equip you with the skills needed for the acting profession and will situate the actor in a wider context. The classes are inter-connected and designed to address your individual needs and aspirations. 

The teaching approaches used at Drama Centre have evolved from both Russian and American methodologies. The learning materials used for classes include a variety and styles and genres, including naturalism, realism, expressionism and heightened verse drama. You will be actively encouraged to identify links between the great theatre of the past and the contemporary world. In addition to working on classical and modern plays, you will have the opportunity to devise original projects as part of your analysis work. The range of teaching ensures there is a balance between the requirements of stage performance and the demands of screen acting and recorded media. 

The course will deepen your awareness of the realities of a professional acting career. It will help you to learn how to manage its risks, rewards and inherent instability. BA Acting encourages its students to see themselves as creative people who can make a difference to their society and community. As such, it provides an inspirational learning experience for people who go on to work in a wide variety of fields. 

Course units

In order to develop your own approach to acting, you will study the core disciplines of acting, physical and vocal skills and rehearsal exercises. Many of the activities in these disciplines are concerned with finding your voice as an actor. Through practical exercises, theoretical seminars, workshops and rehearsals, you will engage in a dialogue between you own personal view of the creative process and inherited tradition.

Stage 1

Unit 1: Introduction to Study in Higher Education  
Unit 2: Foundation, Exploration and Work on the Self  
Unit 3: Rehearsal Methods for Realism 
Unit 4: Analysis 1: Archetypes and Storytelling 

In Stage 1, you will be introduced to the principles that underpin the whole of your training. You will begin to undertake the systematic study of the essential skills of an actor. This will occur through a series of practical classes in acting, voice and movement, together with an introduction to the theory of character analysis, also known as movement psychology. From the beginning of the course, you will be encouraged to think of the actor as part of the society in which you live and function. You will be expected to read widely, to visit exhibitions, theatre, film and other performances and to engage with current events.  

Unit 3 consists of three rehearsal exercises, which are practical investigations of a play text. These are designed to develop the actor's ability to apply a methodological approach. Unit 4 will provide a contextual framework for the study of theatre and acting as an art form. You will acquire a solid, practical grounding through the research, construction, participation in and observation of project work. You will also have seminars, workshops, tutorials and discussions. 

Stage 2

Unit 5: Expansion, Consolidation and Work on the Role 
Unit 6: Character Analysis and Composition  
Unit 7: Rehearsal Methods for the Classical Actor 
Unit 8: Analysis 2: Renaissance, Realism, Internationalism 

In Stage 2 you will continue to participate in practical classes in acting, voice, speech and text, movement, ballet, music and singing. You will now develop your ability to be at ease in front of the camera and to understand technical functions in the television studio. You will also be introduced to the opportunities and demands of voice-recording. There is an increased emphasis on the demands of the classical stage and the expressive use of heightened dramatic text both in verse and prose. You will look at the identification of form and the acting choices it leads you to make.

Stage 3

Unit 9: The Skilful Actor 
Unit 10: The Professional Actor 

In the final stage of the course, you will demonstrate ownership of your acting process. You will continue to refine your technical skills through a mixture of online and studio productions and projects. Additional, text-specific skills will be developed for performances during the year. Your ability to integrate skills into fully achieved, assured performances, both on stage and in front of the camera and your confident presentation of yourself to the profession are at the centre of this part of the course. There will be mock audition workshops for television and theatre. You will also collaborate with MA Directing students on their projects.  

Mode of study

BA Acting runs for 99 weeks in full-time mode. It is divided into three stages over three academic years. Each stage lasts 33 weeks.   

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 360 credits, with 120 credits at each stage (level).  

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA Hons degree).  

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the stages for a BA are: Stage 1 (Level 4), Stage 2 (Level 5) and Stage 3 (Level 6). In order to progress to the next stage, all units of the preceding stage must normally be passed: 120 credits must be achieved in each stage. The classification of the award will be derived from the marks of units in Stages 2 and 3 or only Stage 3, using a dual algorithm.  

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4 (or 120 credits), or a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) following the successful completion of Level 5 (or 240 credits).  

Learning and teaching methods

During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include:

  • Staff-led skills training
  • Independent planned improvisations or text-based projects 
  • Staff directed rehearsal exercises 
  • Student-led work on classical or contemporary texts and/or film scripts 
  • Research conducted as embodied learning 
  • Blended learning: a combination of on-site and online delivery
  • Individual, pair and group work carried out autonomously in preparation for classes or assessments 
  • Seminars 
  • Workshops 
  • Lectures and visiting professionals 
  • Tutorials

Assessment methods

  • Coursework  
  • Continuous assessment  
  • Practical skills assessment  
  • Written assessment  
  • Self-assessment 


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:

  • Two A Levels at grade C or above
  • Pass in Foundation Diploma in Performance (Level 3 or 4) and one A Level at grade C or above
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • 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.

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.

English language requirements

IELTS score of 7.5 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:

  • 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 and its particular approach to training
  • Ability to select and understand appropriate material.

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.

Making your application

Due to a full review of actor training at Central Saint Martins, recruitment has been suspended to BA Acting and its associated course, MA Directing.  This will allow time to develop plans for acting and directing at all levels (Foundation, UG and PG) within our Performance programme. All other courses will continue to recruit including MA Acting,  MA Screen: Acting and MA Screen: Directing.

Current students are not affected by the suspension.

Due to a full review of actor training at Central Saint Martins, recruitment has been suspended to BA Acting and its associated course, MA Directing.  This will allow time to develop plans for acting and directing at all levels (Foundation, UG and PG) within our Performance programme. All other courses will continue to recruit including MA Acting,  MA Screen: Acting and MA Screen: Directing.

Current students are not affected by the suspension.

After you apply

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals . However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students.

International fee

£22,920 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK are currently charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

BA Acting students regularly secure prestigious employment in the industry in third year or soon after graduation. Recent work includes:

  • Naomi Tankel, Group 55 (Graduated 2019) – Skylines, XYZ Films (Feature Film)
  • Olivier Huband, Group 55 (Graduated 2019) – An Enemy of the People, Playground Theatre
  • Tessa Bonham Jones, Group 54 (Graduated 2018) – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridge Theatre
  • Nick Nunn, Group 54 (Graduated 2018) – Clique 2, Balloon Entertainment/BBC Studios
  • Hannah van der Westhuysen, Group 54 (Graduated 2018) – Lamborghini, AMBI Distribution (feature film)
  • Harry Lawtey, Group 54 (Graduated 2018) – The Country Wife, Chichester Festival Theatre; The Letter for the King,  Film Waves/Netflix
  • Scarlett Saunders, Group 54 (Graduated 2018) – Casualty, BBC; Doctors, BBC
  • Freddie Wise, Group 53 (Graduated 2017) – Poldark, BBC
  • Tom Mahy, Group 53 (Graduated 2017) – Vincent River, Trafalgar Studios
  • Jess Webber, Group 53 (Graduated 2017) – Dracula, Theatre Tour
  • Luke Hornsby, Group 53 (Graduated 2017) – Informer, BBC
  • Max Keeble, Group 53 (Graduated 2017) – Faithful Ruslan, Belgrade Theatre

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.