Acting for Screen, MA

Duration: One year, full-time, October start. Full-time, on-site attendance between July and October is not mandatory.

Award: Master of Arts in Acting for Screen (180 credits)

Acting for Screen MA at Central School of Speech & Drama

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.

About the course

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.

Course Detail

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.

Download MA Acting for Screen Course Specification 2016-2017 (616.23 KB)

Professional Focus

Recent Visiting Staff

Jeremy Zimmermann, Jane Deitch, Julia Crampsie, Jennifer Withers, Jane Epstein, Janis Pugh, Rebecca Gatward (Director, Casualty, EastEnders, Doctors), Smita Bhide (Best Feature, Raindance), Keir Burrows (Winner Best Short/Best Director at Reykjavik International Film Festival), Martin McKellan (Head of Voice, Shakespeare’s Globe), Paul Harris, James Kent, Amit Gupta, Alison Steadman, Lesley Sharp, Jeff Perry, Eamonn Walker, Laurence Boswell, Vicky Araico Casas, Mark Street, Jay Stewart, Miriam Kerbavcic, Janis Price, Rob Savage.

Beyond Central

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Actors, Film: Starred Up, Tribecca; Maleficent, Disney.

Television: Casualty, Doctors Eastenders, Dr Who, Luther, Call The Midwife, Top Boy, BBC; The Inbetweeners, E4; Nip/Tuck, FX; Black Sails, STARZ; HBO pilot scenes.

Theatre: Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, Soho Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Riverside Studios and the Lyric Theatre.

Others have established their own theatre and film companies and have shown their work at the Edinburgh Festival, London Film Festival, Brighton Fringe Festival, London Short Film Festival, Battersea Arts Centre, King’s Head Theatre and the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Entry Requirements and Admissions

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.

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.

English Language Requirements

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. Applicants are advised to gain this certification as early as possible.


If you are selected for an audition for a place on the Acting for Screen, MA course, we will require you to undertake the following:

  • Present a short monologue (maximum three minutes). The monologue must be from a recognised source (play, film, television drama)
  • participate in a voice and movement workshop of up to one hour
  • participate in a short interview in order to discuss your experience as an actor (including your perceived strengths and needs), your understanding of issues relating to acting and performance (including performance to camera) and your preparedness for the course.

The interview process will also give you an opportunity to find out more about the course and the School.

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.

Distance Auditions

We are not able to consider DVD or distance auditions for this course – all applicants must attend a live group audition.

International Students

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


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

Amanda Brennan, BA, MA

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader MA Acting for Screen


Notable Graduates Include:

Nigel Allen (2012) film credits include Misson Impossible - Rogue Nation and Golden Years. Television credits include Home Fires, Suspicions of Mr Whicher and Doctors. Theatre credits include Warhorse (The National Theatre).

David Avery (2008) played Freddie Hamid in BBC’s The Night Manager, and Tariq in Channel 5’s Borderline. His film credits include The Inbetweeners Movie and Starred Up.

Samantha Baines (2009) film credits include Mary in A Royal Night Out. Television credits include Mary in BBC's The Crown and Steph in Lee Nelson's Well Funny People.

Victoria Emslie (2012) television and film credits include The Theory of Everything, Downton Abbey and The Danish Girl. Victoria is currently taking part in the UK touring production of Lotty’s War.

James Farrar (2010) television credits include Liam Gilmore in Hollyoaks, Dean Fallon inSilent Witness and Brendan in Eastenders.

Hamza Jeetooa (2010) television credits include Usmal Kamal in BBC’s Capital, Raj in The Thick of It and Alan in Being Human. Hamza also works as a Producer and Director and is the co-founder of Untethered Films.

Valmike Rampersad (2007) film credits include Art Malik in Hotel, which was a semi-finalist at the Academy Awards and winner of Best Drama at the L.A International Festival, Right Hand Drive and Open Secrets which won Best Film at The Buffalo-San Film Festival. Television credits include Ajay in Cloud 9.

Ben Tavassoli (2014) co-stars in the BBC’s New Blood, a British television drama series created by Anthony Horowitz. Other television credits include Alpha in Channel 4’s No Offence, and Zak Latif in ITV’s Silent Witness.

Current Students

Related Courses


Valmike Rampersad
Valmike Rampersad

Graduated 2007, recently played the lead role of Ajay Shah in British television drama Cloud 9. Film credits include HotelOpen Secrets and The Exquisite Continent.

I chose to study at Central because of its international reputation as one of the best drama schools. The experience I gained was invaluable to the work that I am doing now. There were elements of the course that incorporated crewing the short films that we made ourselves. This gave me insight into what really goes on behind the scenes and my role as an actor to help facilitate the process.

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