Acting (CDT), BA

Duration: 3 years full-time, October start

UCAS code: Institution C35, Course W410, option CDT

Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Acting

BA Acting (CDT) - "Man, Beast and Virtue".

This innovative and rigorous actor training emphasises the creation of new theatre and embraces a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary methodology. Students graduate with the skills to work in classical and contemporary theatre, film, radio and screen, as well as being accomplished makers of their own work.

About the course

Acting CDT celebrates the creative potential of collaborative processes, as well as the development of the individual actor.

The core actor training includes the psychophysical techniques of Jacques Lecoq, Michael Chekhov, Constantin Stanislavski and Kristin Linklater and emphasises an embodied and experiential approach. The course encourages actors to develop rehearsal techniques for script-based work as well as explore the most up-to-date forms of theatre and filmmaking and to have a full creative and political engagement with their work.

Students are entitled to full Equity status upon graduation.

Acting CDT is in creative partnership with Complicite.

Course Detail

Year 1

Acting and Devising Practice: through progressive work on acting, script analysis, voice, movement, devising, ensemble, singing, dance and improvisation, students begin to undo physical and vocal habits. They develop openness and sensitivity to space, image and impulse and cultivate psychophysical connectivity. Students apply these approaches to work on poetry, verbatim, observation and storytelling, as well as studio work on three plays by Brecht, Chekhov/Ibsen and Shakespeare.

Year 2

Transforming through Acting and Devising: through continued and extended work students move towards greater expressivity and transformation across a broad range of characters and genres. This is applied to a full-length devised performance, American Scenes, monologues and scenes for radio, a comedy of manners play and a classical tragedy. Uniquely, this course enables the full integration of design (sound, lighting, video, set) in the autumn term. The class-based training concludes with a three-week clown intensive and a series of professional preparation workshops.

Year 3

Refining creativity and actor processes: through producing public performances for paying audiences, agents, theatre directors and other prospective employers in the industry, students will develop their artistry and independence. Students will work on at least two plays and one devised theatre piece, undertaking radio and screen training including writing, shooting and editing a short film, as well as making voice and showreels. One of the third year performances and an industry showcase are usually performed off-site at a professional London theatre venue.

Download BA (Hons) Acting (CDT) Course Specification 2016-2017 (1.03 MB)

Professional Focus

From the outset, the Acting CDT course works closely with professional theatre companies and emergent or professionally active directors.

In recent years, students have had workshops and created performances with Complicite, Filter Theatre, Catherine Tate, Lucy Porter, Ridiculusmus, John Hegley, Inspector Sands/Stamping Ground Theatre, Declan Donnellan, Max Stafford-Clark, Robin Soans, Tanika Gupta, Douglas Rintoul/Transport Theatre, John Wright, Blind Summit, International Gombrowicz Festival – Poland, the TEAM – New York, out of Inc and Quiconque.

Devising companies are often invited to hold research and development workshops with students, who may then go on to work professionally on those shows.

Permanent members of staff are active working professionals. Course Leader Catherine Alexander is an Associate Director for Complicite (The Master And Margarita, Shun-kin and A Disappearing Number); Acting and Movement Tutor Sinéad Rushe is a Director of Theatre and Dance (Out Of Time, nominated for Olivier and Dance Critics’ Circle Awards); and Voice Teacher Daron Oram has coached voice and dialect for national touring productions, the West End and the Royal Shakespeare Company (including the multi Olivier Award winning, Matilda).

Recent Visiting Staff

Directors: Nancy Meckler (Shared Experience, RSC), Mel Churcher (Control, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory), Keir Burrows, Wilson Milam (Royal Court, Donmar, Tony Award Nominee), Douglas Rintoul (Transport Theatre, Hampstead Theatre), Yael Shavit (Young Vic/Jerwood Award winner), John Wright (Told by an Idiot), Dominic Rouse (concerned architect, Headlong), Gráinne Byrne (Scarlet Theatre), Simon McBurney (Complicite), Joyce Henderson (Complicite, National Theatre), Jemima James (Complicite, Theatre O), Lucinka Eisler (National Theatre, Theatre O).

Visiting Staff: Tanika Gupta (Royal Court, RSC, BBC), Ally Cologna, Max Mackintosh, Imogen Knight (Old Vic, Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells), Maeve Diamond, Stephen Kemble (RSC, Birmingham Rep), Vicki Manderson (National Theatre of Scotland), Lucy Cullingford (RSC), David Ashley, Robert Bowman (RSC, National Theatre, Living Pictures), Jonathan Tafler (Almeida, BBC).

Entry Requirements and Admissions

Minimum Entry Requirements

2 A Levels at C, 3 GCSEs at C, and selection by audition.

Normal offers may be higher and depend upon expected grades and audition performance. Exceptional applicants who do not meet this requirement, but demonstrate appropriate potential, may be accepted.


This is an intensive professional training course and must be followed in its entirety.

Applications for deferred places are not accepted for this course.

Candidates must be eligible to satisfy the general admissions requirements. Admission will be based on the reasonable expectation that you have the potential to complete and contribute positively to the programme and that you would benefit from honours study. There is no alternative to selection by audition.

Selection for audition will normally depend on you meeting, or being predicted to meet, minimum entry requirements, and on written references and demonstration of the following in the UCAS written statement:

  • engagement with theatre and acting at national/local level
  • evidence of a real commitment to acting and a long-standing interest in acting and theatre
  • knowledge of a range of theatrical forms and genres
  • experience gained in post-education contexts, such as the workplace, travel and voluntary settings.

In the absence of formal qualifications, an indication of academic potential will be sought in your UCAS statement.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.


Find out more about the audition process for our Acting, BA courses.

View the audition speech list, or request a copy by calling +44 (0)20 7722 8183.

International Auditions

Each year Central hosts a number of auditions outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international auditions are designed to replicate the London-based audition experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming audition locations and dates.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.


Notable Graduates

Alisha Bailey (2009) appeared in the National Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company’s production of Moon On A Rainbow Shawl.

Fisayo Akinade (2011) played the lead in the UK tour of Refugee Boy and has gone on to star in Banana and Cucumber by Russell T Davies for Channel 4 and E4.

Michael Brett (2008) appeared in War Horse and was also Puppeteer and Movement Artist on the Academy Award-winning Gravity.

Peter Bray (2009) has worked at the RSC, Shakespeare's Globe and the National Theatre.

Michael Fox (2013) appeared in the BBC’s Noah playing Shem to David Threlfall's Noah. 

Alice Hewkin (2014) appeared in Game Of Thrones during her third year of training, along with a guest lead in Stella by Ruth Jones.

Recent Graduate Employment

Theatre: Lionboy, Complicite; Billy The Girl, Soho Theatre; Ghost Stories, Arts Theatre, West End; Moon On A Rainbow Shawl, Emil And The Detectives, The Elephantom, The Amen Corner, Liolà, National Theatre; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bristol Old Vic; Beautiful Burnout, Frantic Assembly; The Heart Of Robin Hood, The Roaring Girl, The White Devil, Royal Shakespeare Company; The Alchemist, Liverpool Everyman; Let The Right One In, National Theatre of Scotland; The Silence Of The Sea, Making Noise Quietly, Donmar Warehouse; The Mystae, A Human Being Died That Night, Tiger Country, Say It With Flowers, Blue Sky, Hampstead Theatre; Money The Game Show, Waiting For Godot, Refugee Boy, West Yorkshire Playhouse; The School For Scandal, Barbican; Truth And Reconciliation, Royal Court Theatre; Powder Monkey, Manchester Royal Exchange; War Horse, West End and Broadway; Romeo And Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s Globe; The Duchess Of Malfi, The Old Vic; Fear Of Music, Out of Joint.

Television: Stella, Sky 1; Downton Abbey, Foyle’s War, A Touch Of Frost, ITV; Banana, Youngers E4; One Child, EastEnders, Noah, Peaky Blinders, Wallander, The Village, Inspector George Gently, Casualty, Holby City, Doctor Who, Robin Hood, Our Girl, Doctors, Call The Midwife, New Tricks, BBC; Cucumber, Hollyoaks, Fresh Meat, Drifters, Blackout, Channel 4; Law And Order, Hallmark; Game Of Thrones, HBO.

Film: Gravity, Sherlock Holmes, Warner Bros.; New Worlds, Company Pictures; Good People, Millennium Films; World War Z, Paramount Pictures; The Rochdale Pioneers, The Look Of Love, Film 4; This Is Not Happening, Picnic Films; John Carter, Disney/Pixar.


View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to see their CV.

Catherine Alexander, BA

Reader in Theatre Making, Course Leader Acting – Collaborative and Devised Theatre (BA)

Geoffrey Colman, BA, MA, FRSA

Head of Acting, Programme Leader BA (Hons) Acting

Daron Oram, BA, MA, SFHEA

Senior Lecturer, Voice

Sinéad Rushe, BA, PgDip, DEA

Senior Lecturer, Acting and Movement

Current Students

Related Courses


Fisayo Akinade

Graduated 2011, recently appeared in Cucumber for Channel 4.

The Acting CDT course has been invaluable to me. Its greatest strength is that through detailed and varied training it nurtures real versatility in an actor: an ability to adapt to almost any situation. This has been hugely beneficial to me when moving between working on the stage and screen. The techniques you learn on the course are universal and can easily be applied to any medium. For example, the work we did on Jacques Lecoq and Michael Chekhov made screen work feel instantly familiar. Acting CDT gives you a rounded training and it challenges the limits of your imagination - making you think more freely and creatively.

About Central's Acting, BA courses

by Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting
Geoff Colman

Historically, Central actors have always adopted a pragmatic approach to their training, drawing upon multiple performance theories rather than subscribing to a particular doctrine or method. The three specialisms reflect this eclecticism and celebrate the many and varied techniques available to the actor trainer.

Students are required to attend auditions held in London and internationally. At audition participants may opt to be considered for one, two or all three courses. If successful, an offer may be made for one or more of the courses, but it will not be possible to transfer between courses once accepted.

During their study students will be taught a wide range of acting processes by resident and visiting professional staff. Each of the three specialist courses of the BA (Hons) Acting will help them learn how to become self-determining creative actors eminently capable of working in theatre, television, film and radio and will constantly challenge their understanding of acting. Intensive conservatoire training also requires utter dedication and will demand courage, intelligence, wit and generosity.

The three courses exist within a thriving university/conservatoire environment – home to a dynamic range of related performance disciplines at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The training will be contextualised alongside relevant professional advice and is structured in such a way as to gradually equip students with a thorough understanding of the industry. Professional preparation, including meetings with agents, casting directors, producers and directors, as well as mock auditions/castings and a West End showcase, has meant that, in recent years, most students of the BA (Hons) Acting – across all three courses – have secured agent representation by the time they have completed the course.

Performances by BA (Hons) Acting alumni have long been recognised by major awards such as the BAFTAs, Oscars, Golden Globes, Olivier Awards, Tony Awards, London Evening Standard Theatre Awards and The Sunday Times/National Theatre Ian Charleson Awards.

Most recently alumni have been awarded a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie, MTV Movie Award for Best Hero, British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor, Empire Award for Best Actor, Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Performance, San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Performance, Ariel Award for Best Actor and Emerging Talent Award at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

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