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Acting

BA (Hons)
Acting
UCAS W411
3 years (full-time)

The BA Acting programme is a leading actor training based in the heart of Manchester.

Led by a team of specialist and highly experienced directors, teachers and practitioners, the BA (Hons) Acting course at Manchester School of Theatre has an outstanding reputation for training actors with the skills necessary for a successful career in film, television, radio and stage. 

We are looking for your imagination, empathy, curiosity, passion and wonder.

We are looking for expressive people who are energetic, dynamic and driven to tell stories.

We will nurture your ability, teach you your craft and encourage you on the path to creative excellence.

You will work from a wide range of practitioners and a wealth of inspiring teachers and professional practitioners. You will train in all aspects of the craft including Acting for Stage, Screen and Radio.

Based in the Manchester School of Theatre, we will soon be moving into new accommodation specially built for us on Oxford Road.  Our inspirational training venue will include:

  • A 180 seat fully equipped studio theatre, with dressing rooms and green room
  • Large movement and performance studios with sprung floors
  • 8 additional rehearsal studios
  • TV and radio studios
  • Tutorial rooms
  • Computer labs

The Acting course enjoys very strong links with many of the region's key employers including BBC, RNCM, the Hallé Orchestra, Royal Exchange Theatre, HOME, Bolton Octagon, Oldham Coliseum, Hull Truck Theatre and The Lowry. We also have creative partnerships with a number of national and international organisations including: New National Theatre, Tokyo, the ETFI, Carnegie Mellon University,  

This course is taught by tutors and visiting actors and directors with a wealth of experience and expertise. You can visit our recent staff and visiting staff lists here.

Former students have gone on to highly successful careers in film, television and theatre and graduates include Sir Anthony Sher, Julie Walters CBE, Yasmin Mwanza, David Threlfall, John Bradley, Richard Griffiths, Bernard Hill, Steve Coogan, John Thomson, Elliot Knight, Assad Zaman, John Bradley, Annie Wallace, Graeme Hawley, Zoe Henry, Sarah Amankwah, Noreen Kershaw, Amanda Burton and Adam Kotz.

Special Features

  • World class training in the heart of Manchester.
  • A brand-new inspirational training hub including state of the art theatre, studios and rehearsal rooms.
  • Recent students have won many prestigious awards including the Alan Bates Award, The Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award and the Laurence Olivier Bursary.
  • Selected students will get to participate in a number of events and collaborations including Sam Wannamaker Award, RSC Weekend and potentially projects with the Hallé, RNCM, MIF and other international partners.
  • A nationally and internationally acclaimed course which has links with the region’s key employers including BBC, MIF, Royal Exchange Theatre, HOME, RNCM, Hallé Orchestra and The Lowry.
  • Strong links with the Manchester Writing School.

Course Content

The first two years of this course are all about training. The third year is industry facing, preparing and readying our actors for the profession. The first year is entirely process driven with little emphasis on performing. The second year introduces elements of performance through workshops and culminates in a black box production readying the students for the third year. 

Year 1

In the first year of your training you will explore your voice, your body and your self. You will experience the Ensemble as a tangible, meaningful presence and you will begin the rudiments of the actor’s craft, working with key principles derived in part from the work of Konstantin Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen and Michael Chekhov. You will learn how to read a play and turn dried ink into character and action. You will learn the rudiments of working on camera and have several opportunities to experience truthful self and the transformation into a present character. You will start to apply what you have learned in a series of scene studies working with both contemporary and European Naturalism texts. By the end of your first year you will have experienced using self as the basis of character and have established a personal, structured process to apply to rehearsal. 

Contextualising Practice 1

30 credit unit. You are allocated to one of five pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits will address the historical, critical and cultural contexts of art and design practice.

The Actors Craft 1: Self and Ensemble

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

The Actors Craft 2: Creating A Role

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.

The Actors Craft 3: Playing The Scene

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 a text based scene study project.

Year 2

In the second year of your training, you will consolidate and develop what you have learned in the first year. You will work have considerably more experience in front of the camera as well as behind the mic. You will work with heightened stakes, intense feeling and poetic speech through your Shakespeare project and you will have further classes in Singing, Combat, Acting for Camera, Improvisation, Poetry as well as deeper and more sustained scene studies in which to develop your process and hone your craft.

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.

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.

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.

Year 3

Your final year is very much about preparing for and engaging with the profession. You will work with professional directors on at least one public performance per term. These productions are currently at HOME but from Autumn 2020 will be in our new building on All Saint’s Square. You will have workshops and talks from practitioners and professionals including successful directors of stage and screen, agents, producers, casting directors, artistic directors and many more. You will have the opportunity to audition for the various awards and bursaries, including the Sam Wannamaker Festival, the Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award (which we have won and come runner up in several times in recent years) the RSC weekend and many more. You will receive advice on auditions and self-tapes culminating in a series of mock auditions. You will also take part in the annual Showcase, which will be at our new theatre in Manchester and in a West End theatre in London.

Theatre Production 1

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 2

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.

Theatre Production 3

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.

Assessment Methods

Continuous assessment and public performances.

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

Study
  • Year 1 80% lectures, seminars or similar; 20% independent study
  • Year 2 80% lectures, seminars or similar; 20% independent study
  • Year 3 80% lectures, seminars or similar; 20% independent study
Assessment
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 100% coursework

You can find further details about the curriculum for the current academic year in the Programme Specification Document

Staff


Visiting Tutors

Some of our visiting teachers and practitioners this year

  • Geraldine Alexander
  • Mark Babych
  • Mick Barnfather
  • Lucy Campbell
  • Ian Chesworth
  • Kate Colgrave Pope
  • Kate Coogan
  • Matthew Dunster
  • Stefan Escreet
  • Seb Harcombe
  • Elianne Hawley
  • Graeme Hawley
  • Chris Honer
  • Chris Hunter
  • Oliver Kent
  • Jerry Knight-Smith
  • Renny Krupinsky
  • Cheryl Martin
  • Jonathan Martin
  • Mary Papadima
  • Maxine Peake
  • Madeleine Potter
  • Simon Stephens
  • Hannah Stevenson
  • Imogen Stubbs
  • Beru Tessema
  • David Threlfall
  • Pat Trueman
  • Ted Van Griethuysen
  • Roy Alexander Weise
  • Jason Wingard

Also see Directors of Final Year Productions

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.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will invite you for an Audition.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

112 at A2 or equivalent (which can include Foundation Diploma in Art & Design). A Level General Studies is not accepted.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with a minimum 112 UCAS Tariff Points

Additional Requirements

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

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. Further details

International Baccalaureate26 Points

International Students

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

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Tuition Fees 2020 Entry

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £16,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

See Money Matters for further information and advice.

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

Optional £600* All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing. Total optional cost: £600

Other Costs

£385*  Students will need rehearsal clothing in year one (practice skirts, shoes, trousers for men and white shirts): £75 In Year 3, students will need to purchase a sword estimated at £60 and professional photographs estimated at £250

* All amounts shown are estimates.