Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Acting - Classical MA
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Key Course Facts

Course Description

MA Acting Classical at Central is a creatively, physically and intellectually demanding, advanced-level conservatoire acting programme. It is designed primarily for students with previous training or performance experience who wish to focus intensively on plays from the European classical repertoire.

Perform in two professionally supported public productions and an industry showcase Hone the individual technical craft of the actor, and release your collaborative and imaginative creativity within a small and diverse ensemble company (typically 14-16 students) Learn through practical group classes in acting, movement, voice and stage combat; seminars on theatre history, dramatic theory and research skills; and individual tutorials and feedback panels. The Classical training follows the development of the theatrical art from its earliest ritual and political roots to the birth of psychological naturalism:

  • Greek Tragedy, Chorus and the Mask

  • Clowning and Commedia dell’arte

  • Shakespeare and early modern English drama

  • Stanislavsky, the Method, Realism and Expressionism.

The structure of the course draws on the hugely influential theories of the great French acting teacher Michel Saint-Denis, training the expressive body, voice and imagination. Methodologies are drawn from a range of European and other theatrical thinkers: from Stanislavsky and his inheritors Vakhtangov, Demidov, Adler, Hagen, Meisner and Strasberg; from the physical theatre, improvisation and mask work of Lecoq and Johnstone; from the psycho-physical expressionism of Laban and Meyerhold; from the post-Brechtian and post-Grotowskian experimental traditions; and from radical contemporary dramaturgical practices. Working with some of the greatest dramatic texts ever written, you are asked to consider what they mean now, and how their 21st century reinterpretation and re-imagining still holds a ‘mirror up to nature’.

You are encouraged to understand the demands of both art and craft as participants in the European theatrical tradition; and to envision the recreation and reimagining of that tradition for the future. The course rests on three structural pillars, three key moments of dramatic innovation and social transition, encountered in chronological order: Greek theatre, early modern English theatre, and 19th/20th century Russian and European theatre.

Formative assessment is through a mixture of practical tasks, including showings of prepared scenes and structured improvisations, filmed performance, and theatre performance; in addition, continuous assessment is reflective of your effort, attitude and improvement in class. You will also undertake a Sustained Independent Project (SIP), which may include elements of solo performance and critical writing.

Entry Requirements / Admissions

AHRC; Career Development loans; Graduate loans; or Professional Studies Loans.

Get advice on which foundation courses are best for you to still study Acting - Classical, MA, if you do not meet the minimum requirements in terms of UCAS score, A levels, or English language 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.


Average student cost of living in London

Rent £518
Water, gas electricity, internet (at home) £50
Supermarket shopping £81
Clothing £35
Eating out £33
Alcohol £27
Takeaways / food deliveries £30
Going out / entertainment (excl.alcohol, food) £24
Holidays and weekend trips £78
Transport within city £17
Self-care / sports £20
Stationary / books £13
Mobile phone / internet £13
Cable TV / streaming £7
Insurance £51
Other £95
Average student cost of living £1092

London costs approx 34% more than average, mainly due to rent being 67% higher than average of other cities. For students staying in student halls, costs of water, gas, electricity, wifi are generally included in the rental. Students in smaller cities where accommodation is in walking/biking distance transport costs tend to be significantly smaller.

About Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a member of Conservatoires UK, located in the Swiss Cottage area in the city of London. Prospective students can expect to find professional drama and music facilities, as well as faculty members with extensive experience working in their respective fields. The city of London is known for being expensive to live in, but also for the opportunities that it provides socially and academically.

Student composition of Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Students by level of study Academic year 2020/21 - Full-time equivalent student enrollments published by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) on 10 February 2022
  • A Day in the Life: MA Music Theatre | Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Where is this programme taught

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
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