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School of Theatre

Manchester School of Theatre
Photograph of students acting

BA (Hons)
Acting

3 years (full-time)

Based in the Manchester School of Theatre, BA (Hons) Acting is a nationally and internationally acclaimed course providing the necessary experience and skills to train as a professional actor working on stage and screen. Accredited by Drama UK (formerly the NCDT and the CDS), the course is much acclaimed for its award-winning students, many of whom go on to enjoy very successful careers with the major theatre, film and television companies. Former students include Julie Walters CBE, David Threlfall and Steve Coogan. Recent graduates have also found major success, with John Bradley-West staring in HBO television series, Game of Thrones and Elliot Knight as the lead role in Sky1’s drama Sinbad.  

Special Features

  • Recent students have won many prestigious awards including the Alan Bates Award, The Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award and the Laurence Olivier Bursary.
  • Accredited by Drama UK.
  • A nationally and internationally acclaimed course which has links with the region’s key employers including BBC, Granada, Royal Exchange Theatre, Contact Theatre and The Lowry.
  • Former students include Sir Anthony Sher, Julie Walters, David Threlfall, Richard Griffiths, Bernard Hill, Steve Coogan, John Thomson, Noreen Kershaw, Amanda Burton and Adam Kotz.

Course Content

The course aims to nurture instinctive ability in an environment that allows for the development of new skills whilst simultaneously enabling you to recognise particular strengths and abilities. You will have the opportunity to learn from a wide range of practitioners and inspiring teachers and the School benefits from strong links with many of the region’s key theatres. The School also benefits from its very own theatre which final year Acting students use for productions open to the public and are regularly attended by industry professionals.

Year 1

Workshops, classes, seminars and public performances are designed to synthesise component skills that include voice, movement, acting, textual analysis and research. The course aims to nurture instinctive ability in an environment that allows for the development of new skills whilst simultaneously enabling you to recognise particular strengths and abilities.

In Year 1 your study units will include movement and voice, ensemble work, acting technique and scene study.

Contextualising Practice 1

You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Readiness for the Play

This unit provides a creative and supportive environment in which you can experiment with, and test out, an integrated approach to rehearsal and performance practice within the context of an edited workshop presentation of a published play.

Readiness for the Scene

This unit builds on the work of the first term by developing the areas of voice, movement and acting in such a way as to nurture an integrated and embodied approach to the practical realization of a given scene.

Self and Ensemble

The work of this unit provides the foundations on which the training is established and involves an exploration of notions of self as a basis for practical exploration and creative investigation.

Year 2

Year 2 will include experimental and devised theatre, Shakespeare, acting for camera, stage combat and singing.

Black Box Workshop

This unit involves the rehearsal and presentation of a classical or contemporary theatre text. The aims are to reinforce established working methods and respond to individual and/or collective developmental needs.  Sensitive to the needs of both the individual actor and those of the group, this unit affords an opportunity for students to rehearse and perform a complete play. Texts will be chosen from the classical or contemporary repertoires and may be realist and/or experimental /avant-garde. 

Contextualising Practice 2

Delivery of critical, historical and professional issues to enhance your development within practice-based clusters. Delivery to clusters of cognate practice areas. Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas plus cluster-wide professional and employability issues, facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner.

Playing Shakespeare

This unit develops the acting work of previous terms and introduces the linguistic, dramatic, aesthetic and interpretative demands of Shakespeare's theatre. The emphasis is on the need to be able to identify and reveal the psychological and spiritual dynamics of character, relationship and dramatic situation through the primacy of heightened language and extreme character objectives. The work of this unit is closely allied to voice and movement sessions and classes and rehearsals may well involve combined input from members of staff working in each discipline.

The Contemporary Actor

Building on the work of Year 1, this unit explores the development of an actor's craft in the context of more contemporary and experimental forms in live and recorded performance contexts.  Through the practical and embodied investigation of live theatre texts and recorded TV/Film based scripts, this unit introduces students to the interpretative demands of a range of different kinds of contemporary and experimental modes of performance. The development of a secure rehearsal process at Year 1 moves towards an increasing focus on the rehearsal and performance contexts and the demands of the audience/spectator. All students will undertake a live scene-study project and the rehearsal and recording of a scene for TV along with a devising project.

Year 3

Year 3 is performance-based and you will work with both staff and guest directors from across Europe in preparation for a series of fully realised public performances in the School’s own Capitol Theatre. Students are also trained to act for radio and take part in the annual Showcase event and festivals at London’s Globe Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

Contextualising Practice 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a student's individual practice interests.

Theatre Production One

This unit introduces students to the demands of public performance and to the need to develop their work in a context that requires high levels of discipline, interpretative skill and professionalism.  Plays are selected and students cast in the autumn season of plays at the end of the term. Students are required to undertake research and analysis as part of the preparation for rehearsals. Performance materials are selected from a wide range of genres and theatrical traditions and the choice of texts is informed by the developmental needs and strengths of the cohort as a whole. Rehearsals operate in exactly the same manner as they would in the profession and each play rehearses on a full-time basis for between 4 and 5 weeks. Students work alongside a team that includes a production manager, wardrobe supervisor, stage manager, professional designers and other technical staff. Each production is fully realised and staged and is performed in the Capitol Theatre before a paying audience and invited guests from the profession.

Theatre Production Three

This unit affords you a final opportunity to encounter the demands of public performance and to further develop your work in a context that requires high levels of technical discipline, interpretative skill and professionalism. Plays are selected and students cast in the summer season of plays at the end of the previous term. You are required to undertake research and analysis as part of the preparation for rehearsals. Performance materials are selected from a wide range of genres and theatrical traditions and the choice of texts is informed by the developmental needs/strengths of the cohort as a whole and build on the work and discoveries made during the course of Theatre Production One. Rehearsals operate in exactly the same manner as they would in the profession and each play rehearses on a full-time basis for 4 weeks. Students work alongside a team that includes a production manager, wardrobe supervisor, stage manager, professional designers and other technical staff. Each production is fully realised and staged and is performed in the Capitol Theatre before a paying audience and invited guests from the profession. This is the companion unit to Theatre Productions One and Two.

Theatre Production Two

This unit affords students a further opportunity to encounter the demands of public performance and to further develop their work in a context that requires high levels of discipline, interpretative skill and professionalism.  Plays are selected and students are cast in the spring season of plays at the end of the previous term. Students are required to undertake research and analysis as part of the preparation for rehearsals. Performance materials are selected from a wide range of genres and theatrical traditions and the choice of texts is informed by the developmental needs/strengths of the cohort as a whole.  Rehearsals operate in exactly the same manner as they would in the profession and each play rehearses on a full-time basis for between 4 and 5 weeks. Students work alongside a team that includes a production manager, wardrobe supervisor, stage manager, professional designers and other technical staff. Each production is fully realised and is performed in the Capitol Theatre before a paying audience and invited guests from the profession. This is the companion unit to Theatre Production One.

Assessment

Continuous assessment and public performances.

You can find further details about the curriculum in the Programme Specification Document

Graduates

Graduates of the School pursue careers as professional actors working in theatre, film, TV and radio. Many former students also establish careers as professional directors, writers, filmmakers, agents and teachers.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

280 at A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National Extended Diploma DMM at Level 3 or Advanced Diploma).If applying using Foundation Diploma in Art and Design a minimum of a Merit is required depending on other Level 3 qualifications.

Specific GCSE Requirements

 GCSE Grade C or above (or acceptable alternative) in English Language

Non Tariffed Qualifications

A relevant Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 30 Level 3 credits at Merit or above will be considered

Additional Requirements

Audition required. The course is highly competitive and you may be called back to a second or even third audition. There is a charge for the first audition.

Please note the University does not accept deferred applications or advanced entry applications for this course

International Baccalaureate28 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 is required.

Check our MMU International site for further information if you are applying with non-UK qualifications.

Fees

UK and EU full-time students: £9,000

Non-EU full-time international students: £11,000

See Money Matters for further information and advice.

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will invite you for an Audition.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

UCAS Code W411

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