The course is primarily for those who have had previous training or professional experience in theatre, film or television. It will build on the existing skills of students and focus on the specific needs of the year group, although there is an emphasis on performance for screen. Drawing on the expertise of Central’s permanent staff team and specialist professionals from the industry, the programme aims to encourage the development of creative artists with the flexibility to work across performance mediums.
Across the first two terms, students will follow a rigorous training in acting, which will concentrate on core skills: voice, body and creative interpretation. The principles of the study derive from psycho-physical methods, particularly the techniques of Chekhov and Stanislavski. The emphasis of the training is on producing actors who have a high level of creative skills and have developed flexible and adaptable bodies and voices, with the necessary technique to apply to a screen context.
The range of classes across these terms will include screen technique, which will examine the distinction between screen and live performance, visual storytelling and the implication of this for the actor, working in and adapting to shot size, cheating, hitting the mark, shooting of contemporary scenes from television and film, and the preparation of different styles of work, including soap, drama and comedy.
Acting classes will interrogate the body and provide students with a toolbox of exercises for work on screen. There is a specific focus on relaxing the body and working with ease, developing the imagination, unpicking habits, creating character, and the investigation of the inner life. Voice and dialect classes will encourage an understanding of the voice as an instrument and will work with a variety of text including poetry, verbatim, classical and contemporary material.
In the area of movement, there is exposure to forms, which may include jazz and historical forms of dance, physical acting approaches including Suzuki, Lecoq, 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.
Screen study in Term One interrogates the work of various film makers from the perspective of the actor. This may include Pedro Almodóvar, Luc Besson, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Jean Luc Goddard, Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion and Michael Haneke.
Performance projects in Terms One, Two and Three are designed to put classwork into practice, enabling students to develop and hone their acting skills on screen and learn the basic fundamentals of film-making. Projects may include a silent short film which will examine visual storytelling, story boarding, using a camera, learning about different roles on set, and editing. For example, the Mike Leigh Project explores a specific approach to making films through devising and improvisation, with scenes written by students and shot on location. The Fifteen Minute Short Drama Project is commissioned for the students and written by professional writers and film makers, and is shot on location by a professional crew and shown in a screening room in London’s West End as a showcase in June. Original narratives are selected to profile the talents of the actors. Previous films have been entered for national and international film festivals.
The Sustained Independent Project is scheduled in Terms Three and Four, where students either write a research portfolio or produce and perform in a short film. The work must be original and partnerships with graduates from film schools are encouraged for this project. In previous years, films have been accepted at festivals, including London Shorts and Norwich Short Film Festival.