Foundation in Acting

Cert HE Acting

Course Guide


The CertHE: Acting Foundation is a 1-year full-time training programme designed to give you an insight into life at drama school, and to prepare you for vocational training at Honours level.

Acceptance onto the CertHE:  Acting Foundation does not guarantee entry to the BA (Hons) Acting programme.

The Foundation year is normally 30 weeks, divided into three terms of approximately 13 weeks, 11 weeks and 6 weeks respectively.  On average there are a minimum of 30 hours of timetabled teaching per week.  Since a core aim of the course is to prepare students for entry to 3 Year Honours programmes, most of which complete their audition cycle in the Spring of each year, teaching is top-loaded into terms 1 and 2 to maximise teaching time before the majority of students’ auditions take place.


Technique Classes

Technique Classes are designed to develop a foundation in the technical and practical skills of acting, movement and voice. These classes will require a certain amount of repetition as you practice control and gain an understanding of how your body works. You will often work as individuals within a group all performing the same task. Although the tutor will give you personal attention and correction, it is your own commitment to the exercises that will pay the biggest dividends.

The tutor will be looking for concentrated effort; commitment to the work; growth in your understanding of the techniques and the development of control.

Foundation technique classes include:

  • Movement
  • Voice
  • Audition technique
  • Dance
  • Singing
  • Fitness training

Workshop Classes

Workshops offer a way for students to express their own ideas, skills and creativity within a group.  The tutor will have an area of work they wish to explore and they may start the session with games and/or exercises that will prepare the group to focus on that particular area of work. Different tutors will have different methods of working.

You may be asked to work in smallish groups to explore and create as a group with guidance from the tutor, or you may work one to one with the tutor, exploring ways to approach a variety of material and there will be guidance from the tutor only when it is necessary.  In acting classes you will explore various techniques for studying the text, building a character and shaping a scene that will help you become inventive and creative actors, and you will workshop exercises to develop your imagination, concentration and observation.

Groups and/or individuals will usually be asked to show the results of their work during or at the end of the session.  It is important to note that the exploration of ideas and skills is the prime objective of workshops. They are designed to help you grow as creative performers and to understand that both success and failure are part of the creative process.

Tutors will be looking for openness to new techniques and a positive exploration of them; imagination; risk taking; hard work, energy and commitment, and generosity of spirit towards the other students.

Workshop classes include:

  • Acting
  • Improvisation
  • Approach to text
  • Devising
  • Acting for Camera
  • Audition Workshops

Seminars and Tutorials

Seminars are designed to be inter-active.  The speaker may give a short presentation and then introduce a topic or a number of topics. The students may then be asked to discuss these topics in small groups and be asked to share a summary of their discussion with the rest of the groups towards the end of the session.

e.g. careers talks

Weekly group tutorials with the Course Leader provide an opportunity for support, advice and information.  In one-to-one tutorials with module tutors or the Course Leader, students can discuss their progress, receive individual coaching or seek pastoral support.  Group tutorials with the Head of Year take place weekly throughout the course and provide a forum for discussion of any aspect of the course.

Seminars and Tutorials include:

  • Fitness, Health and Safety
  • Nutrition and Injury Prevention
  • Company Meetings
  • Individual Tutorials
  • Inclusivity and Diversity workshops
  • Careers Advice

Reflective writing

You will be encouraged to write journals for all your classes.  Journal writing gives you the opportunity to reflect, to think through challenges and record breakthroughs.  These journals are primarily for you, but tutors will regularly ask to see them to ensure you have recorded and understood the feedback you have been given.   


Rehearsal and Performance 

There are three key assessment points for rehearsal and performance in the CertHE Foundation in Acting.

  • At the end of term 1, you will rehearse and perform in a mock audition for a panel of in-house tutors
  • At the end of term 2, you will rehearse and perform a contemporary duologue for an audience of students and staff
  • At the end of term 2, you will devise a piece of theatre, rehearse it and perform it for an audience of staff and invited guests
  • At the end of term 3, you will rehearse and perform in a play at an external venue for an audience of students, staff, friends and family, and members of the public

For each performance you will be marked by a panel of at least three in-house tutors.  Your rehearsal process will be marked by the director of each project.


Towards the end of the course your tutors in Acting, Voice and Movement will mark your classwork.  This grade incorporates effort and attendance as well as the level of attainment reached. Assessment is made with reference to the unit-specific learning outcomes described in the relevant module and the following general criteria based on the standards required for acceptance onto conservatoire training programmes:

  • commitment, preparedness for work; self-directed study
  • concentration; application; personal motivation
  • receptiveness to the process
  • ability to accept, and act on, notes and corrections
  • ability to work within group (listening; sensitivity; responsiveness generosity; co-operation).
  • progression: growth and development of skills and knowledge
  • development of flexibility and spontaneity;
  • capacity to experiment and take risks
  • development of awareness of the working process
  • quality of reflective/critical understanding and expression

Written Assignments

You will prepare a Portfolio containing notes on your lectures and seminars, mock auditions and audition technique classes, and detailed research and reflection on the direction you wish to take upon successful completion of the course.  The Portfolio is marked pass/fail, but it is a requirement of the course that this element be passed.  The module specifications outline the other journals you are required to keep during your progress through the course.  Your tutors will carry out ‘spot checks’ of these journals at regular intervals, but the journals are not marked.


In Acting Skills you will begin to develop a personal approach to acting through exploration of a variety of techniques.  Through weekly classes in improvisation and approaches to text, you will create believable characters from observation of yourself and the people around you, learn to work productively as an ensemble member, understand the initial practical approaches to exploring text, and develop your basic understanding of stage craft.

In Acting Projects you will apply your developing techniques and approaches to a variety of texts.  You will learn to collaborate, contributing your own ideas and developing the work of others in the creation of a piece of devised theatre.  The course culminates in the rehearsal of a play, performed to an audience of friends, family and invited guests.

The Audition Preparation and Pathways module prepares you for auditions for 3-Year actor training and enables you to explore alternative progression pathways, for example to traditional universities.

Under the guidance of a tutor, you will select and rehearse suitable audition material, which you will present in mock auditions to panels of in-house tutors.

Audition Workshops prepare you for the group work that may be required at recall auditions, and enables you to practice your presentation skills and develop confidence in interviews.

Core Skills provides you with a foundation in core vocal and physical skills.  In voice classes you will explore the use of the body and breath in vocal production, and will build a basic foundation for the vocal process you will need to develop to support your acting and communication skills.  In movement classes you will begin to develop an understanding of your own and others’ physical habits and will gain a foundation in basic actor’s movement.  Health and safety is a feature of all the disciplines within the movement module, and you will learn how to avoid injury, and become aware how to maintain your own and others’ health and safety.  Core skills work is underpinned by weekly Fitness training classes, designed to help you acquire strength and fitness.

In Additional Skills you will explore a range of additional skills to help you prepare for auditions and further training.  To gain confidence in singing and enable you to prepare for auditions which require you to sing, you will take part in weekly singing lessons. Weekly dance lessons help you to develop core stability and physical confidence.


Module FACT1:

Acting skills

Credit value:


Module FACT2: 

Acting projects

Credit value:


Core units


Module FACT3
Audition Preparation and Pathways
Credit value: 25

Module FACT4
Core Skills
Credit value: 25
Core units Voice
Module FACT 5 Additional Skills
Credit value 10
Unit Singing

The class of the award of the CertHE will normally be:


Minimum Overall Aggregate Mark

with Distinction


with Merit