Foundation in Acting

Cert HE Acting


Our full-time Foundation Acting course offers a student-centered approach to learning with a strong focus on the individual and their formative journey into training and beyond.

Led by Sam Gibbs, a Theatre Maker and Actor Trainer, the course, based in specialist studios at the Lyric Hammersmith, provides rigorous training that prepares students for the next step in their professional career.

Regular sessions with industry professionals ensure that the intensive actor training is blended with invaluable insights into the demands and opportunities in the performing arts sector. Recent visiting tutors have included Mike Bartlett (Earthquakes in London, King Charles III), Noma Dumezweni (Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live, The Undoing, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child), Sean Kempton (Cirque du Soleil), Matthew Xia (Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company) and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Emelia, The Wasp).

The variety of the material used in classes and projects initiates discussions on relevant topics in today’s world, that promote students’ personal development and understanding. Tutors cultivate a safe, but challenging, environment to encourage students to experiment, explore and embrace their training journey, its failures, and successes. Students are supported in choosing, and discovering, a path that is right for them at the conclusion of the course.

“An incredibly helpful and insightful course that has allowed me to develop and grow not only as an actor, but as a person too. I’ve learnt more than I could’ve imagined, and I am leaving the course feeling more than ready for my next step in life.”

Full Time Foundation Acting Student (2022-23)

The Foundation course is based in specialist studios at the Lyric Hammersmith, just a 3 minute walk from Hammersmith Underground Station and a short bus ride from ArtsEd’s main building at 14 Bath Road. Foundation students have full access to the resources in the main building, these include the library, canteen, and studio and rehearsal spaces. The latter are free to book outside of timetabled hours. Foundation students also enjoy membership of Young Lyric with benefits that include access to masterclasses and subsidized tickets to main house shows.

This programme is validated by City, University of London and you will receive a City, University of London award on successful completion.

Applications for September 2024 open 16th October 2023. Applications close 1st April 2024. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news on our degrees and diplomas.

Duration 3 terms - 30 weeks (full-time)
Academic year September 2024 - May 2025
Application deadline 1st April 2024
Course Leader: Sam Gibbs
At a glance
  • A minimum of 35 contact hours a week
  • Teaching delivered over 3 terms (30 weeks)
Term 1
  • Audition Technique
  • Monologue Studies
  • Finding your Voice
  • Approaches to Devising
  • Textual Analysis
  • Acting Skills
Term 2
  • Performance and the Audition
  • Ensemble Acting
  • Improvisation
  • Actor and the Text
  • Collaborative Theatre Making
  • Application of Voice
Term 3
  • Final Show
  • Professional Practice


Audition Fee Round 1 FREE, Recall £25 Audition fee waivers are available
Course Fee 2024-25 £10,123 p.a.
Acceptance Deposit £350 UK / EU Students
£2,000 Overseas Students

The deposit will be held by the School and will be refunded on completion of the course, without interest, less any outstanding sums owed by the student to ArtsEd.

This course is validated by City, University of London and qualifies for student loans towards tuition fees and maintenance, subject to the normal Student finance eligibility requirements that you can find here.

Once you have completed your Foundation course, the student loan company will make the following calculation about your eligibility for funding for subsequent courses e.g. 3-year training programmes such as those offered by HE providers in the Federation of Drama Schools and the Alliance of Musical Theatre Conservatoires:

  • Duration in years of your new course
  • plus one year
  • minus the number of years on any previous HE course

For example, if you were offered a 3-Year BA programme at ArtsEd or another provider, your calculation would look like this:-

3 + 1 – 1 = 3

This means that you would be entitled to funding for the full three years of your BA programme, once you had completed your Foundation year.

If for some reason you were not able to complete your CertHE or any subsequent programme, each year of student finance that you had already received would be deducted from any future application.

How to apply

Am I Eligible?  If you are over 18 with a good general standard of education you may apply for the Acting Foundation Course. Entry is by audition. You can find out everything you need to know about auditions here (including advice on making your self tape)

Accreditation: ArtsEd is a member of the Federation of Drama Schools, set up in June 2017 to provide information for prospective students about conservatoire drama training.

UCAS code: ArtsEd does not subscribe to UCAS.  All applications should be made online through our website.

What next? Apply before 1st April 2024 for September 2024 entry, applications are through our website. Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news on our degrees and diplomas.

What else? If you need to work whilst you study, then why not take a look at our Part-Time Foundation Acting Course as an alternative training option. With evening sessions spread over two terms, this course might be a good fit.

Course Guide

Click here to view the full Course Guide for Foundation in Acting

Alumni Stories

“This course has enabled me to be much more independent as both an actor and a creative. Throughout my time at ArtsEd I have been encouraged to take initiative, whether that be bringing my ideas and opinions to the table as an actor or creating my own work entirely. The course has enabled me to discover the power of my own voice and ability and given me both the confidence and reassurance that I will be successful in whatever I pursue with heart and dedication. Things seem a lot more possible now thanks to my year at ArtsEd.”

Foundation Acting Student

“Everyone on the course and all the teachers simply want the best for everyone. The constructive criticism is so clear and encouraging and I always feel like I am improving with each lesson.”

Foundation Acting Student

“I feel like the course was tailored well to help each student with their specific journey to improve in the way they wanted and become self-aware of their improvement.”

Foundation Acting Student


Royal Central School of Speech and Drama



Royal Welsh College Of Music and Drama


St Mary's University

Guildford School of Acting

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Rose Bruford

E15 Acting School

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Birmingham School of Acting

Italia Conti

Oxford School of Drama

Institute of the Arts Barcelona

Drama Centre

King's College London

Northern School of Arts

Kingston University London

Drama Studio London

Orange Tree Theatre

University of Bristol

Lancaster University


Will the ArtsEd Foundation course give me an automatic place on the ArtsEd BA course?

No, you will still have to go through the regular audition process for the BA course – a place is not guaranteed. However, the ArtsEd Full Time Foundation course will teach you the skills that the tutors on the BA course are seeking, so it is excellent preparation for the audition.

How well does the ArtsEd Foundation course prepare students for getting onto BA courses?

Students will be guided and supported through the process. Some decide on taking traditional university routes, some students head straight into the industry, and some decide to go to Drama School, It’s a personal journey that the tutors will help the students in whatever pathway they choose to take.

You can find more general FAQs here.