Taught course

Acting for Screen

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London · Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Entry requirements

You should normally have a first degree in the broad field of performance and drama studies, although applications from students of other disciplines may be considered if they have sufficient experience of performance. Your application may also be considered if you have appropriate professional experience, or can otherwise demonstrate your potential to undertake this form of postgraduate study successfully. An offer will normally only be made after audition and interview. Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to gain an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications.

Months of entry


Course content

MA Acting for Screen focuses on acting in film, television and other screen-related media. Students will explore the expressive potential of performance and enhance their understanding of the relationship between performers and the camera. This course is primarily for those who have had some previous training or professional experience.

Students will build on their existing skills and focus on specific needs. Drawing on the expertise of Central’s staff and professionals from the industry, this course aims to develop highly-skilled actors with the ability to work across all performance mediums, specialising in screen.

Acting and movement classes will interrogate the body, and there is a specific focus on relaxing and working with ease, developing the imagination, unpicking personal habits and creating believable performances. Voice and dialect classes will encourage an understanding of the voice as an instrument. Students will work with a variety of texts, including classical and contemporary material.

Term One - Screen Study. Students will interrogate the work of various filmmakers from the perspective of the actor. This may include Pedro Almodóvar, Luc Besson, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Jean Luc Godard, Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion and Michael Haneke.

Terms One and Two – Acting Training. This will concentrate on building the core skills: voice, body, acting and creative interpretation. Classes will include screen technique, examining the distinction between screen and live performance, as well as visual storytelling, working in and adapting to, shot size, cheating, hitting the mark, shooting contemporary scenes from television and film, and the preparation of different styles of work, including soap, drama and comedy. In the area of movement, there is exposure to various styles, which may include jazz and historical dance, yoga, and chi kung. Other classes include sight-reading, textual analysis, casting, and mock auditions led by casting directors, actors and directors. Professional preparation will involve guidance on selecting photographs, writing CVs, self-marketing and online promotion. The principles of the study derive from psychophysical methods, particularly the techniques of Michael Chekhov and Stanislavski.

Terms One, Two and Three - Performance Projects. These are designed to put classwork into practice, enabling students to develop and hone their acting skills on screen and learn the fundamentals of filmmaking. Projects may include a silent short film which will examine visual storyboarding, using a camera, learning about different roles on set, and editing. In the summer term there is a Short Drama Project which is commissioned for Central and written by professional writers/filmmakers, and is shot on location by a professional crew. These films are screened in London’s West End as a showcase in June. Previous films have been entered for national and international film festivals.

Terms Three and Four – Sustained Independent Project. There are three options offered in this unit: a research portfolio, a dissertation, or producing and performing in a short film. The work must be original and partnerships with graduates from film schools are encouraged. In previous years, films have been accepted at festivals, including London Shorts and Norwich Film Festival.


Modes of assessment include practical assignments, reflective writing, presentations, written and practice-based research.

For the independent project there is an option to make a film, write a dissertation or compile a portfolio, which would include a case study of a filmmaker and an extended research enquiry.

Information for international students

Central holds international auditions/interviews in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Santiago, Bangkok and Singapore. Please see Central’s website for details. To book an audition please email admissions@cssd.ac.uk. If you are unable to attend an audition in person, you may be offered the opportunity of a distance audition.

Fees and funding

AHRC, Career Development Loans, Graduate Loans, or Professional Studies Loans.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Admissions and Student Recruitment Office