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School of Theatre

Manchester School of Theatre
Photograph of students acting

BA (Hons)
Acting

3 years (full-time)

Part of Manchester School of Theatre, the BA (Hons) Acting course provides the necessary experience and skills to train as a professional actor. Accredited by Drama UK, the course is recognised for its award-winning students, many of whom go onto very successful careers with the major theatre, film and television companies. Students have the opportunity to learn from professionals and the School has strong links with many ofthe regions key theatres, including The Royal Exchange Theatre, The Library Theatre, The Contact Theatre, Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Bolton Octagon Theatre.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Acting for Camera

This unit extends and develops the technical and imaginative skills needed to work in the mediums of TV and Film.  During this unit students will prepare, rehearse and record a two handed scene that will enable the acquisition and deployment of independent strategies for understanding and developing characters; you will also adopt the same approach to the dynamics of character relationships and to effectively inhabiting dramatic situations.  Students will work flexibly and responsively in accordance with directorial input under professional studio/location conditions. Students will learn how to adapt performance between different shots and to adjust the physical and vocal scale of performance in accordance with specific technical and interpretative demands.

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 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.

Contextualising Practice 3

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

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).

Specific GCSE Requirements

Five GCSE's at Grades A-C to include GCSE Grade C (or acceptable alternative) in English Language

Non Tariffed Qualifications

A relevant Level 3 Access to HE Diploma will be considered for entry to this course.

International Baccalaureate28 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6 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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