BA (Hons) Acting

BA (Hons) / Level 6 Diploma

Course Guide

In the National Student Survey 2019, students ranked ArtsEd in the top five drama schools for overall student satisfaction for the third year running.

100% of ArtsEd Acting students were satisfied with their training.

In 2019, every ArtsEd Acting graduate secured an agent prior to graduation and two thirds secured their first professional job within six months of leaving.

These results testify to the quality of ArtsEd’s contemporary and inclusive actor training. Our tutors are committed to supporting each student to develop a broad range of skills, preparing you for an intensively competitive industry.

We take pride in creating a nurturing environment, with student wellbeing at the heart of everything that we do. Timetabled tutorials, one-to-one sessions and an open door policy provides essential support to students. Whilst our well-being team provides practical assistance and advice that maximises the support available for students with additional needs that impact on their learning e.g. dyslexia, mental health conditions and physical disability.

In addition, our full time Equality, Inclusivity and Diversity Coordinator and our partnership with Diversity School initiative confirms our commitment to valuing all student regardless of colour, class, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

ArtsEd is a thriving, creative community that is passionately dedicated to investing in the individual.

First Year – SELF

In your first year we create an environment in which you will feel able to take creative risks at the same time as developing the technical vocal and physical skills that you will need to express and enhance your artistic vision. Skills classes and workshops will focus on exploring and exercising your individual imagination and creativity through structured play.

Throughout the year you will explore various acting approaches such as Michael Chekhov, Uta Hagen, Freddie Hendricks, Suzuki, Mike Alfreds, and Stanislavski, as well as the improvisation methods of Lecoq, Viewpoints and Mike Leigh. We will inspire and motivate your learning to be practical, active and reflective. A process deepened by applying what you have learnt within explorative performance projects.

In addition, you will develop performance and craft skills to enable you to train confidently and effectively in film and television, working to create authentic characterisations who communicate directly with an audience.

Throughout the year there will be an emphasis on the individual creative potential of each student actor and the development of their capacity for self-expression. This will be carried through all learning opportunities including self and independent study, collaborative classes, rehearsals and project settings. You will be supported to:-

  • Explore and open up your imagination through the body and voice e.g. animal studies & folk/gospel singing skills classes
  • Practice acting approaches and methodologies that promote professional discipline and self-discovery
  • Cultivate techniques and skills that will support the comprehension and development of an expressive, communicative and physically-embodied acting process
  • Acquire confidence and competence in intimacy training, armed and unarmed combat for stage and screen

Acting for TV & Film modules will include apprenticeship style crewing opportunities in various technical roles. This practical experience of crewing a location film set will give you an understanding of

  • the basic technical aspects and differing technical demands of TV and Screen.
  • the discipline and importance of on location filming organisation and etiquette.

Year 1 – HE Level 4 Module Overview

Module BA1 Year 1 Projects
Credit value 15
Core components World Stories
Contemporary Physical Theatre
Chekhov
Module BA2 Year 1 Acting
Credit value 30
Core components Acting
Acting for TV & Film
Improvisation
Module BA3 Year 1 Voice
Credit value 30
Core components Voice
Singing
Complementary components General British Sound and Sound Recognition
Recorded Voice (Radio)
Module BA4 Year 1 Movement
Credit value 15
Core components Movement
Intimacy Training
Stage Combat
Rhythm (Dance for Actors)
Module BA5 Contextual Studies
Credit value 10
Core components Contextual Studies
Year 1 Project Journal

In-house performance projects:

Autumn Term

World Stories

This story-telling devising project will facilitate the inclusivity and openness required to build an authentic ensemble. Students will choose fables, myths and fairy tales, guided by their own cultural references or heritage background, which you will then weave together in a creative collaboration. This project will introduce shared meanings and vocabulary and stimulate the exchange of diverse cultural influences and references. The project culminates with students working in small groups to create a cross cultural, 40-minute piece of creative, modern world storytelling.

Spring Term

Contemporary Physical Theatre

The aim of this module is to explore and develop the practice of the acting, movement and vocal skills techniques to which students have been introduced in their first term. Working on a contemporary play, chosen to stimulate a response to the themes and motifs of the narrative (which narrative?), the focus will be on telling the story through an embodied physical theatre approach.

Summer Term

Chekhov Play

During this performance project, students will thoroughly explore the text and subtext of Chekhov applying, in a rehearsal process, the techniques learned in skills classes.

You will be taught how to analyse and annotate a text, work to embody the text and how to realise character physicality in order to develop a fully rounded characterisation. In addition, you will be guided to reflect upon the value of systematic rehearsal techniques and the ways in which they can inform the development of your own individual acting processes.

Rehearsals will take place throughout the Summer term, culminating in the presentation of a piece of text-based theatre.

Second Year – Self and Others. Mastering your craft through the rehearsal process.

The second-year is structured to enable you to participate with a direct, dynamic awareness of the rehearsal process, enabling you to freely engage with the flow and endless recurrence of stage behaviour.

The focused nature of this training, that relates and combines in the moment experience with skills and techniques learnt in the first year, inspires a deep seated connection to the work and encourages the continual nurture of your emerging individual acting process.

The second year includes a thorough exploration of verse and contemporary theatre using text analysis and active analysis. You will continue to develop the technical and artistic skills necessary for acting for stage, film, and TV and you will continue to explore a variety of acting techniques.

Classes in Audition Technique for Stage, TV and Film, Accents and the Recorded Voice are also given along with weekly Self-Taping and Professional Practice masterclasses, essential elements of your progression as a student actor.

Throughout the year you will participate in Performance Projects, some of which will be led by external professional directors. All the projects will give you the opportunity to work on the practical application of your training in a variety of styles and genres. Throughout the project work you will:-

  • Discover how to apply your learning in a collaborative and intensive rehearsal process, in particular exploring your responses to professional focus and direction.
  • Strengthen your physical engagement, vocal range and emotional expressivity to meet the demands of classical and contemporary performance styles.
  • Encounter a wide range of complex texts, discovering a heightened use of physicality, voice and speech including accents and dialects.
  • Investigate and explore the acting approaches and transferable skills that area particularly relevant to the development of TV and Screen acting technique.
  • Develop techniques for the successful transfer of vocal skills to recorded voice and radio work.
  • Experience the process of creating exciting new stage work with contemporary writers.
  • Realise individual casting types and begin the awareness of how the actor finds work by acquiring skills in audition techniques in Stage, Film, TV and Commercials.
  • Understand the demands of and gain expertise in ‘Self-Taping’ through practical application; – practise, discovery, practise.
  • Participate in Professional Practice, a structured set of masterclasses and workshops in which students are guided on how to apply their training within industry settings. Workshops will address topics such as Self-Care, Mental Health, Agents, Tax for Actors, Marketing & how to become your own theatre-making artists.

Year 2 – HE Level 5 Module Overview

Module BA6 Year 2 Projects
Credit value 50
Core components Acting for TV & Film – Location Filming
Contemporary Theatre
Iconic American Theatre
Comedy of Manners
Shakespeare
Module BA7 Year 2 Acting
Credit value 30
Core components Acting – M. Chekhov, Hagen, Alfreds Technique
Acting – Meisner Technique
Module co-requisites Acting
Shakespeare’s Text
Module BA8 Year 2 Voice
Credit value 30
Core components Voice Singing
Module co-requisites Recorded Voice (Radio)
Accents
Module BA9 Year 2 Movement
Credit value 15
Core components Movement – Laban, Butoh Technique
Stage Combat
Module co-requisites Dance
Module BA10 Professional Practice
Credit value 15
Core components Professional Practice Seminars and Workshops
Interview Technique/Role play
Year 2 Project Journal

Performance Projects:

Autumn Term

Screen Acting One
This covers all aspects of screen craft – from understanding vocal levels of intensity, mastering continuity and shooting out of sequence, to acting preparation, character choices and revealing thoughts on screen. This module will enable students to work confidently and effectively in front of a TV or film camera.

Contemporary Theatre
Students will be cast in a contemporary piece in which they will be motivated and guided to make bold choices, commit to utilising the skills and techniques learnt and continue to explore their acting process. The plays will be directed by visiting professional directors.

Spring Term

Iconic American
Students will be cast in an Iconic American play from the 20th and 21st century cannon, a range that allows a broader choice that will be informed by the year group. Potential playwrights include Arthur Miller, Lynn Nottage, August Wilson, Tennessee Williams, Sophie Treadwell and Clifford Odets. The rehearsal process will sit alongside American accent development in Voice classes and rhythm dance in Movement classes.

The plays will be directed by visiting professional directors.

Summer Term

Comedy of Manners (Stage & Screen)
This term will be an intensive rehearsal period exploring aspects of comedy of manners: rhythm, timing, language and play, whilst examining how we can relate the themes and topics to the world today. Using classical text, such as Restoration plays, students will be introduced to breaking the 4th wall, direct address to the audience and encouraged to explore exaggerated stereotypes or archetypes in order to explore bold characterisation choices. This project will also be used to practice how we transfer fundamental comedic skills to screen comedy.

Shakespeare
A comprehensive and detailed rehearsal of one of Shakespeare’s plays and the influence that his plays continue to have on theatre today. This project will motivate each student to discover how their heritage and background can be practically employed as valuable tools in exploring the language, rhythm, themes and motifs that bring Shakespeare’s characters to life. This approach stimulates an embodied response to the work, with the aim of gaining a thorough understanding of the complexities of Shakespeare.

The plays will be directed by visiting professional directors.

Third Year – Yourself and Beyond: Professional Business Preparation

By the third year, you will be prepared and eager to present the skills you have learned, both on stage and in front of the camera.

Alongside film screenings, you will perform to the public through a series of theatre productions, directed by visiting professional directors, in our Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre. Recent directors have included Lynette Linton, Deborah Bruce, Rikki Beadle Blair, Jennifer Tan Tom Wright and Ameera Conrad. Your showcase will be performed in a central London theatre. Audiences include agents, casting directors and other industry figures as well as the general public.

During this period it is essential to keep your training active, and so voice and movement coaching will continue and one-to-one sessions will be timetabled as appropriate. Regular lectures, practical workshops and masterclasses from industry professionals will ensure your knowledge and understanding of all elements of the business grows. One-to-one mock interviews for both stage and screen, designed to develop your marketing and self-promotion skills, are an invaluable element. Both Hannah Miller, Head of Casting at the RSC and Gemma Hancock, Head of Casting at the BBC, have recently worked with us on this module.

During your final year you will:

  • Perform in autumn productions, applying your skills in acting, voice and movement and continuing the realisation of your individual acting process.
  • Perform in an industry-targeted showcase and a two minute showreel that highlights and promotes your casting type.
  • Consolidate your skills in screen acting in the production of a screen performance, shot on location under professional conditions.
  • Acquire invaluable knowledge of film set etiquette by undertaking crewing tasks on location during the filming of original screen plays.
  • Consolidate an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the industry, meeting and speaking with industry professionals including agents, casting directors, working actors, writers and theatre makers.
  • Have the opportunity to participate in competitions and other professional opportunities, including the Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award (radio), the Sam Wanamaker Festival (The Globe) and The Spotlight Prize (Industry).

We will also support you in the rigorous transition from individual development to career-focused development, with the aim of thoroughly preparing you for your first job. This will include providing advice and guidance on promotional photography and CV presentation as well as the creation of a post-graduation action plan. Training in how to create effective showreels and voicereels will further support the development of your self-marketing skills.

Year 3 – HE Level 6 Module Overview

Module BA11 Public Productions and Films
Credit value 100
Core components Film Production 1 – Showreels
Theatre Production 1
Showcase
Film Production 2 – Original Screenplays
Theatre Production 2 – New Writing
Module BA12 Professional Employment Skills
Credit value 20
Core components Seminars and mock auditions
Production Journal
Professional Practice Portfolio

PLAYS:

In the Autumn term each student is cast and performs in one of four plays in our autumn season.

In the spring term students are cast and perform in one of two plays, specially commissioned for our third year students. Previous writers have included Roy Williams, Deborah Bruce, Lucy Sheen, Vivienne Franzmann, John Haidar and D K Fashola.

All plays are directed by professional freelance directors, who audition and cast the students. They are performed in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre and are open to the general public as well as invited industry professionals.

FILMS:

You will have two opportunities to showcase your screen acting skills:

Showreels
Each student is cast in scenes from existing scripts and given roles which showcase their casting. The two-minute scenes are filmed on location under industry conditions, directed by a professional director. These are then edited to a professional standard and sent to agents and casting directors.

New Writing Short Films
Each student is cast in an original short film (chosen from submissions to an open call) which is shot on location, directed by a guest industry director. These films are screened at an industry showing and become part of the student’s body of showreel material.

Click here for the Screenwork page.

SHOWCASE:

All students perform in a showcase of short scenes. This is presented at a Central London theatre for agents, directors, casting directors and all industry professionals.

PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS PREPARATION:

Students are given a thorough, all round professional training in how to succeed in this competitive industry. You will have regular lectures from industry professionals to gain knowledge and understanding of all the business and behind-the-scenes aspects of the profession. You will also receive extensive training in.

  • Audition technique
  • Sessions on how to present yourself to agents, casting directors, directors and the media
  • Advice on promotional photographs and how to present your CV

All designed to prepare you thoroughly you for a career in a demanding industry.

Teaching and Learning

Course Structure and Delivery

Each year is taught in three terms:

  • Autumn: September – December
  • Spring: January – March
  • Summer: April – July

Teaching

You will be taught through a combination of workshops, acting classes, technique classes, rehearsals, lectures, seminars, screenings and tutorials. Most sessions will take place in groups of 10-15 students and some tutorials are offered on a one-to-one basis.

Independent Learning

When not attending timetabled classes you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study:

  • Reading plays & books
  • Learning lines
  • Watching performances
  • Working on individual and group projects
  • Undertake research in ArtsEd specialist library, City University of London Library and Digital Theatre Plus. Students can also join the lending library at the Barbican Centre, EC2.

Workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, some independent study and performance/assessments.

The following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course:

Year 1
Teaching, learning and assessment: 910 hrs
Independent learning: 290 hrs
Year 2
Teaching, learning and assessment: 998 hrs
Independent learning: 202 hrs
Year 3
Teaching, learning and assessment: 924 hrs
Independent learning: 276 hrs

Academic Support

Staff will provide academic support in the following areas:

  • Study skills
  • Learning strategies
  • Academic writing
  • Research skills

Our Disability Officer is also available to help students with learning difficulties, organisation skills and mental health. Additionally, students may contact our Health & Wellbeing Officer, and Equality, Inclusivity & Diversity Officer when required.

Teaching Staff

You will be taught by a highly professional teaching team with industry experience. You can learn more about them on our staff profiles.

Assessment and Feedback

Feedback is given continually throughout your training. You will have opportunities to test your understanding informally before you complete the formal assessments/performances that count towards your final mark.

Assessment

Year 1

  • 100% assessed on rehearsal process. You are required to achieve a grade of 40% or above for your rehearsal process in each project, as well as your classwork and project journal. To pass Year 1 and progress to Year 2, you must have acquired 120 credits and passed each module.

Year 2

  • 50% assessed on rehearsal process
  • 50% assessed on performance.
    You are required to achieve a grade of 40% or above for your rehearsal process in each project, as well as your classwork and project journal.
    To pass Year 2 and progress to Year 3, you must have acquired 120 credits and passed each module.

Year 3

  • 100% assessed on performance.
    You are required to achieve a grade of 40% or above in each component and to pass the Production Journal and Professional Practice Portfolio. Professional Employment Skills are marked pass/fail. You must pass all three components. To pass Year 3 and qualify for the award of BA (Hons) Acting, a student must have acquired 120 credits and passed each module.If you secure professional work in the final half of 3rd year you may, subject to approval, be assessed on this in place of one of the public productions and still receive a Degree.

Each year you will be required to submit one piece of written work in the form of a Project Journal. In Year 3 you will also complete a Professional Practice Portfolio. Written assignments are assessed as pass/fail – you are required to pass them, but no marks are awarded, and the written work carries no weighting in your final degree mark.

In Year 3, the plays take place in the evenings, and usually run from Tuesday to Saturday evenings with a matinee performance on Thursday afternoons.

In Year 1 you will be expected to be a front-of-house usher for some of these performances.

All modules are compulsory. The minimum pass mark for each component or module of the course is 40%.

In order to qualify for the award of BA (Hons) Acting, you must satisfy the pass requirements for all modules within the programme and achieve 370 credits overall.

The overall aggregate degree marks for the Honours degree will be calculated as follows:

  • Average of the four percentage marks achieved for the Year 3 Performance module: 80%
  • Final mark for Year 2: 20%

The class of the award of an Honours degree shall normally be:

BA (Hons) Acting Minimum Overall Aggregate Mark
Class I 70%
Class II upper division 60%
Class II lower division 50%
Class III 40%

An award of Ordinary Degree is not available for this programme.

Feedback

You will receive regular feedback on all classes and projects, either verbally or in writing. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. After assessed projects and final performances we aim to provide written feedback within three weeks.