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 The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama

About the course

The MA Acting for Screen masters degree course at Central is a professional training that focuses on acting in film, television and screen-related media. Primarily for those with previous training or professional experience, it explores the expressive potential of performance and the relationship between performers and camera. The course will build on your existing skills and focus on the specific needs of the year group.

  • Draw on the expertise of Central’s permanent staff team and specialist professionals from the industry
  • The course aims to encourage your development as a creative artist with the flexibility to work across all performance mediums, specialising in screen performance
  • The emphasis of the training is on producing actors who, on leaving, have a high skill level, with the necessary technique to apply to a screen context.

Specialist, rigorous training

Throughout the first two terms, you will follow rigorous training in acting, which will concentrate on the core skills of voice, body, acting and creative interpretation. The principles of study derive from psychophysical methods, particularly the techniques of Michael Chekhov and Stanislavski.

The range of classes across the first two terms will include screen technique; this will essentially examine the distinction between screen and live performance. It will also cover 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.

Acting classes will interrogate the body and provide you with a toolbox of exercises. 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 and will work with a variety of texts including poetry, verbatim, classical and contemporary material. 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.

Course Detail

In Terms One and Two, screen study interrogates the work of various filmmakers from the perspective of the actor. This may include the work of Pedro Almodóvar, Luc Besson, David Lynch, Jean-Luc Godard, Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion, Lynne Ramsay and Michael Haneke.

In Terms One, Two and Three, Performance Projects are designed to put classwork into practice, enabling you to develop and hone your 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, and received awards at, national and international film festivals.

During Terms Three and Four, you will complete your work with the 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 Short Film Festival, Aesthetica and Norwich Film Festival.

Assessment

Modes of assessment include practical assignments, reflective writing, presentations, and written and practicebased 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)

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.

Auditions

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.

Recent Visiting Professionals

Recent visiting professionals on the MA Acting for Screen course include:

  • Jeremy Zimmermann
  • Jane Deitch
  • 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
  • Riz Ahmed
  • Mark Street
  • Miriam Kerbavcic
  • Janis Price
  • Rob Savage.

What our students said

VICTORIA EMSLIE
Victoria Emslie graduated from the MA Acting for Screen course in 2012

Graduated 2012, television and film credits include The Christmas Candle, The Theory Of Everything, Downton Abbey, The Danish Girl, Lotty’s War and Run It Off.

Acting for Screen opened so many doors for me (both inside and out) and it is hard to put into words exactly how beneficial this course actually is. Personally, it marked the beginning of a better understanding of myself and of my craft, both of which will continue indefinitely. All the tools learnt and the hours of practice have led to a point where now, years after graduating, I can still breathe a sigh of relief and smile to myself, thinking this is what my training has given me: confidence, grounding and the tools for executing the carefully considered details that bring a performance to life.

You are limited only by your imagination; not by what others think of you.

BEN TAVASSOLI
Ben Tavassoli graduated from the MA Acting for Screen course in 2014

Graduated 2014, television and film credits include Tomorrow, New Blood, Silent Witness, No Offence and Tyrant.

l’ll always look back at the moment I was accepted on to Central’s MA Acting for Screen as the turning point in my career. I was given an opportunity to learn everything I needed to know about the craft, receive invaluable training and most importantly showcase my work to core industry professionals. I was picked up by an agent straight off the back of my end of year showcase and within two months found myself filming in a new Channel 4 drama from the makers of Shameless. Two years on and I have had roles in a feature film produced by Martin Scorsese and four television shows, including the lead in a BBC drama by Anthony Horowitz.

Notable Graduates

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.

Recent Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways include actors in:

Film 

The Theory Of Everything, Starred Up, Maleficent, Disney.

Television

  • True Blood, HBO;
  • Silent Witness, Casualty, Doctors, EastEnders, Doctor Who, Luther, Call The Midwife, BBC;
  • Top Boy, Channel 4;
  • Downton Abbey, ITV;
  • The Inbetweeners, E4;
  • Nip/Tuck, FX;
  • Black Sails, Starz.

Theatre

  • The Internet Is A Serious Business, Royal Court Theatre;
  • The Judas Kiss, Hampstead Theatre.

Founder members of theatre and film companies 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, Sundance Film Festival and the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Staff on the Course

View profiles of the academic staff who teach on this course. Click on each staff member to find out more about them.

Amanda Brennan, BA, MA

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader MA Acting for Screen

Our Current Students

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