Acting (Musical Theatre), BA

Duration: 3 years full-time, October start

UCAS code: Institution code: C35, Course code: W410, option AMT

Award: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Acting

BA Acting (Musical Theatre) - "West Side Story".

The Acting Musical Theatre course offers intensive training in the core musical theatre disciplines of acting, singing and dancing, with the emphasis firmly on acting.

About the course

Students graduate with the skills to work in classical and contemporary theatre, musicals, feature film, television and radio. The course has outstanding links with many aspects of the performing arts industry and this is reflected in the wide range and high percentage of graduate employment.

Students are entitled to full Equity status upon graduation.

Course Detail

Year 1

Classes and workshops in acting fundamentals, spoken/sung voice (including 1:1 weekly singing lessons), acting through song, actor movement, ballet, jazz, contemporary dance, clowning, text analysis (classical and modern), musical theatre repertoire, ensemble singing/aural training. Students undertake performance projects that include Chekhov/Dostoyevsky/Pinter scenes and Shakespeare comedy.

Year 2

Continuing practical training in all disciplines. Performance projects include Greek theatre (incorporating modern text), Brecht, contemporary American theatre, contemporary British scene study, comedy of manners, Shakespeare tragedy and a Sondheim musical. Students perform in the public production book musical alongside final year students.

Year 3

Focus is on professional development with public performances (plays, musicals, actor/musician shows), a West End industry showcase, acting for camera (including a professional showreel), radio training/microphone and audition technique workshops. Students perform in a wide variety of theatrical repertoires.

Previous productions include: Plays: The Man Of Mode (Etherege), Too Clever By Half (Ostrovsky); Black Snow (Bulgakov). Musicals: West Side Story, City Of Angels, Cabaret, Grease. New commissions: Keeping The Faith (Northern Soul); THE WISH!, Sleeping Cutie – A Rock and Roll Fairy Tale (actor/musician pantomime).

Download BA (Hons) Acting (Musical Theatre) Course Specification, 2016-2017 (1.08 MB)

Professional Focus

The majority of teaching is delivered by visiting lecturers. All students on the course engage with industry professionals on a weekly basis.

Permanent members of staff: are Wendy Gadian (Course Leader and Director of Music) and Vesna Stanojevic (Senior Lecturer in Acting).

Regular professionals teaching on the course are: Carol Harvey, Andrei Biziorek (Acting), Lynne Thomas (Dance), Verona Chard, Sarah Leonard (Sung Voice), Zachary Flis (Associate Musical Director supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation) and Annie Morrison (Spoken Voice).

Recent collaborations include: Complicite (producer’s showcase of The Wall), workshops with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Maria Friedman and Sonia Friedman; Derby LIVE (co-producers for the tour of the autumn term public production); Royal College of Music (Opera School) and the London Handel Festival; Royal Northern College of Music (School of Composition); Hampstead Theatre (Daring Pairings New Writing Festival); Richard Stilgoe and the Orpheus Centre (at the Linbury Studio); Moscow Art Theatre School; the MAD Trust (A West End Christmas 2013 and 2014).

Recent Visiting Staff

Directors: Philip Franks, Anna Ledwich, Ed Hughes, Maria Friedman, Robert Shaw Cameron, Martin Parr, Kelly Hunter, Sherrill Gow, Jenny Quayle.

Musical Directors: Philip Bateman, Catherine Jayes, Michael Haslam, Nicholas Le Breuilly, Benjamin Holder.

Dance: Ellen Jakubiel.

Actor Movement: Mark Bell (Clowning, Commedia dell’arte), Erika Cuk (Decrouix).

Spoken Voice: Sarah Holden-Boyd, Jessica Chambers, Jessica Higgs.

Acting for Camera: David Hounslow, Emma Cunniffe.

Radio: Jonathan Tafler, Tamsin Collison.

Professional Preparation: Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Trevor Jackson, David Grindrod, Anji Carroll, Laura Stanczyk (New York), Michelle Braidman, Clive Rowe.

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.

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

Jack Loxton (2013) played the lead roles in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and War Horse.

Audrey Brisson (2009) starred in The Elephantom at the National Theatre during 2013-2014.

Recent Graduate Employment

Theatre: Royal Shakespeare Company 2015 Season; War Horse, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Chariots Of Fire, Home. Othello, The Elephantom, National Theatre; Wolf Hall and 2014 Season, Royal Shakespeare Company; Viva Forever!, Piccadilly Theatre; The Judas Kiss, Duke of York’s Theatre; Great Expectations, Vaudeville Theatre; Goodnight Mister Tom, Phoenix; The Recruiting Officer, The Physicists, Donmar Warehouse; The Wild Bride, Midnight’s Pumpkin, Beggar’s Opera, Kneehigh; A New World, Shakespeare’s Globe; Equus, To Kill A Mocking Bird, UK tours; The Little Prince, Lyric Belfast; Hurts Given And Received, The Wrestling School, Riverside Studios; The Railway Children, Waterloo Station; The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, Kensington Gardens.

Regional: Jesus Christ Superstar, Arena tour; Hairspray, UK tour; The History Boys, The Mercury Theatre, Colchester; Jack And The Beanstalk, Liverpool Playhouse; Barnum, Cameron Mackintosh, Chichester Festival Theatre.

Christmas shows 2014: leading roles at Lyric Hammersmith, Everyman Theatre Liverpool, Corn Exchange Newbury, Theatre in The Quarter Chester, Park Theatre.

Television: Game Of Thrones, The Red Tent, HBO; Killjoys, Canadian TV; Banana, E4; Call The Midwife, Great Expectations, Money, Murdered By My Boyfriend, BBC; 600 Days, Mr Selfridge, EastEnders, regular character/leading role; The Syndicate, Black Mirror, Holby City, Doctors, guest characters; Horrible Histories, CBBC; Whitechapel, ITV; Shameless, Channel 4; Misfits, The Inbetweeners, E4.

Film: Pride, Tulip Fever, Mr Turner, Les Misérables, W.E., Hereafter, X-Men: First Class, Age Of Heroes.

Musicals (London): City Of Angels, Donmar Warehouse; Mamma Mia, Stephen Ward, Sweeney Todd, Aldwych; Merrily We Roll Along, Harold Pinter Theatre; Jersey Boys, Piccadilly Theatre; Les Misérables, Queen’s Theatre; Oliver!, Drury Lane; Soho Cinders, Soho Theatre.

Musicals (UK tours): The Two Worlds of Charlie F, Dead Dog In A Suitcase (And Other Love Songs), Kneehigh; Sister Act, Avenue Q, Les Misérables 25th Anniversary European Tour, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dreamboats And Petticoats, Spring Awakening, English Theatre Frankfurt; Brassed Off, The Touring Consortium Company.

Radio: Single But Living Together, Great Expectations, BBC Radio 4.


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

Geoffrey Colman, BA, MA, FRSA

Head of Acting, Programme Leader BA (Hons) Acting

Wendy Gadian, BA, PPRNCM

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader Acting – Musical Theatre

Vesna Stanojevic, BA

Senior Lecturer, Acting

Current Students

Related Courses


Kadiff Kirwan

Graduated 2011, recently appeared in City Of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse and in the BBC3 comedy Crims.

This is classical acting training with an edge. There isn’t a course like this out there at any other drama school. It gave me all the tools I needed to get a great start as a professional actor in this ridiculously hard profession. I won’t lie by saying that it was easy – nothing worthwhile is. Since graduating I have been fortunate enough to have been in productions of plays, musicals and on TV, at the National Theatre, the Donmar and on various UK and world tours. This is the course that had a hand in making it happen and for that I am eternally grateful.

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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