Taught course

Acting - Contemporary

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally have either undertaken conservatoire training, have professional acting experience, or have a degree in the broad field of performance and drama studies. Students from other disciplines may be considered if you have sufficient experience of theatre. An offer will normally only be made after audition and interview, and you may also be required to take part in a short practical workshop and/or submit a short piece of written work.

Months of entry


Course content

Designed primarily for students with previous experience and/or training, the MA Acting - Contemporary masters programme at Central is a creatively, physically and intellectually demanding, advanced level, conservatoire acting programme specialising in Contemporary plays.

  • Perform in two fully-realised public productions and an industry showcase
  • Hone the individual technical craft of the actor, and release your collaborative and imaginative creativity within a small ensemble company (typically 14-16 students)
  • Take part in practical group classes in acting, movement and voice, undertaking separate period dance and stage combat training
  • Follow the basic structure of ‘intensives’ and ‘studios’ with classes examining particular theatrical forms combined with physical and vocal training, and individual research.

The Contemporary course addresses the actor’s relationship with the writer, from Early Modern times to the present day through the exploration of:

  • Shakespeare and his legacy
  • Chekhov, Stanislavski and the birth of naturalism
  • The actor and 20th century playwriting
  • New writing and the development of new work.

The course combines teaching in practical voice, movement and acting techniques with an exploration of some of the key playwrights who have helped forge the canon of Western theatre, from the Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists to Chekhov, and from Beckett to Kane and beyond.

Uniquely it explores the relationship between the two artists at the core of much Western theatre: the actor and the writer. Plays are frequently developed in collaboration between actors and writers, sometimes directly and sometimes mediated by a director. You are encouraged to explore your role as a creative artist in relation to writers and the written word.

Throughout the course, you will have the chance to work with, and alongside, writers on plays in development, both the next generation of playwrights on the MA/MFA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media course, and established playwrights with a track record of produced plays.

Information for international students

Central holds international auditions/interviews. Please see Central’s website for details. To book a place please email admissions@cssd.ac.uk. If you are unable to attend in person, the course admissions tutor may offer you the opportunity of a distance audition/interview.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to prove their English language proficiency by gaining an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications

More information for international students can be found on Central’s website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

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