Actor Training and Coaching, MA/MFA

Duration: MA, one year, full-time; two years, part-time. October start. MFA, two years, full-time, October start. On-site attendance between July and October is not mandatory.

Award: Master of Arts in Actor Training and Coaching (180 credits); Master of Fine Arts in Actor Training and Coaching (240 credits)

MA/MFA Actor Training and Coaching

The Actor Training and Coaching courses develop knowledge of the practice of acting through the exploration of training methodologies. Students work with specialists to explore various specific approaches and study pedagogical tools for embodied learning - encouraging their own unique pedagogic/artistic work with performers.

About the course

This course does not train actors, but develops a practical understanding of what it is to act, enabling graduates to work as actor trainers and coaches, drama and theatre practitioners, and directors of actors. Students are introduced to the principles and practices behind the training, education and support of actors and performers developing their practice.

Teaching methods include tutorials, group seminars and workshops. Practical sessions are designed to enhance understanding of acting processes and skills in pedagogy, together with associated study of contemporary issues of performance including theatre, film and television.

Course Detail

In the first year, students of the MA and MFA combine for terms one to three of their course. The MFA extends into a second year that involves workplace attachments, mentorships and practice, in close liaison with members of related industries.

MA and MFA students may expect to encounter work associated with Stanislavski, Chekhov, Meyerhold, Bogart, Lecoq, Grotowski and Meisner, as well as methodologies appropriate for acting for screen. They will develop aptitude in the fundamentals of embodied learning and pedagogy and practice-based research, relating these to a range of artistic contexts.

Students will develop advanced interpersonal, facilitation, coaching and pedagogy skills. These include:

  • How to research, plan and deliver courses
  • Knowledge of a wide range of acting methodologies and practices, as well as some movement and voice, education and support of actors
  • Research skills, both as an individual and through group research
  • Presentation skills
  • An ability to plan, conduct and critically reflect on the student’s own practice as an actor trainer/practitioner.

In the MA and the MFA first year there is the opportunity to undertake a teaching/assistant directing/coaching placement, as well as placements to engage with different acting and production contexts with the duration ranging from eight hours to three months. Placements are a vital part of the course and will enable students to develop experience and hone skills as a pedagogic/practitioner.

The MFA second year widens opportunities to practice knowledge within a professional context. Students are expected to undertake one or two work place attachments, as well as tutorials and occasional seminars throughout the year as part of an ongoing process of pedagogical reflection and engagement leading to the submission of the final assessment.


Assessment during the first three terms (both MA and MFA courses) is through written work, presentation and teaching practice.

In the fourth term MA students will work towards a final dissertation or portfolio.

In the MFA second year assessment is by means of an extended dissertation or portfolio (inclusive of case studies, reflective documentation and plans of work) manifesting responses to attachment/s and practice.

Download MA/MFA Actor Training and Coaching Course Specification 2016-2017 (1009.28 KB)

Professional Focus

Students have benefitted from working both on other courses (undergraduate and postgraduate) at Central and in outside institutions.

Institutions who have hosted students on placement include the Central Film School, London Film Academy, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Arts Education, East 15 Acting School, Guildford School of Acting, Drama Centre London, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, Rose Bruford College, Kingston University, Royal Holloway University of London, Bangkok University, London Metropolitan University, Hampstead Theatre, Tricycle Theatre, Clean Break Theatre Company, Theatre Venture, Yellow Earth Theatre Company, Roundhouse, Actors Centre and London Bubble Theatre Company.

Recent Visiting Staff

Phillip Zarrilli, Alison Hodge, Lorna Marshall, Ally Cologna, Mike Alfreds, Laurence Boswell, Bella Merlin, John Gillett, Brian Astbury, John Wright, Phillippe Cherbonier, Sarah Davey-Hull, Sinéad Rushe, Scott Williams, Miriam Kerbavcic, Lucinka Eisler, Mel Churcher, Brigid Panet, James Palm, Frantic Assembly.

Entry Requirements and Admissions

You will normally have a degree or an equivalent qualification in a subject that includes an element of theatre or performance practice; or have a degree and can provide evidence of previous training and experience with performance disciplines; or have a strong acting or actor training background and at least two years’ professional experience in the acting industry. An offer will normally only be made after audition and interview.

An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA in this subject is also available.

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 interview for a place on the Actor Training and Coaching, MA or MFA courses, we will require you to undertake the following:

  • work with one or more actors and/or acting students on a series of short exercises determined by the assessors. You may also be required to participate in directing other students at the audition and lead a basic warm up
  • hand in a short piece of writing (300 words) that evaluates your own working process as a practitioner
  • participate in a short interview in order to discuss your experience in relation to acting/actor training (including your perceived strengths and needs), your understanding of issues relating to acting and performance 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 Interviews

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

Distance Interviews

Central does allow applicants to undertake a distance interview for these courses. If you live abroad and are unable to attend an interview in person you may, at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor, be offered the opportunity of a distance interview. If you are selected for interview in this manner you will be contacted (normally by email) in order to arrange a suitable time for an interview. This will be conducted on Skype, telephone or by ‘live’ email exchange and will normally be based upon material you will have been asked to submit in advance. The interview will be conducted by the Admissions Tutor in liaison with a colleague who will have sight of your submitted materials.

For further information see the How to Apply section.

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 these courses. Click on each staff member to see their CV.

Ian Philip Morgan, BA, MA

Senior Lecturer, Course Leader MA/MFA Actor Training and Coaching

Amanda Brennan, BA, MA

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader MA Acting for Screen

Geoffrey Colman, BA, MA, FRSA

Head of Acting, Programme Leader BA (Hons) Acting

Dr Jessica Hartley BA, MA, PGCE, PhD, SFHEA

Lecturer, Theatre and Performance Studies

Beyond Central

Graduate employment and career pathways include:

Acting Tutors, Arts Educational, Central, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Rose Bruford College, Kingston University, London Film Academy, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, East 15 Acting School, National Theatre Education, Drama Centre, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, National Film and Television School, Actors Centre, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, London Film Academy, Method Studios, Bangkok University, Toronto University, and other institutions in the USA, Malaysia, Korea, Albania and Greece.

Actors, National Theatre, Watermill Theatre and other regional theatres, London Fringe and the West End.

Some graduates have gone on to study Research Degrees at Exeter University, Kent University, Queen Mary University of London, Kingston University, Central and Oxford University.

Others have established companies and acting studios to work as freelance actor trainers and coaches.


Notable graduates of this course include:

Miriam Lucia (2010) Founded the Clerkenwell Actors Studio, which operates as an ongoing training for professional actors.  

Owain Rose (2015) is a freelance Theatre Director and Acting Lecturer. He has previously worked for Camden Younstarz Theatre, Identity Drama School and The University of Northampton.

Lowri-Ann Richards (2012) is now a freelance Acting Coach and has previously worked with, Cambridge Performing Arts College, The International School of Screen Acting and ArtsEd.

Juanita Mora (2010) Has previously worked as an Artistic Director for, BEinspired Entertainment, West Avenue Theatre Company and The British International School.

Teresa Grimsditch (2007) is now a freelance Tutor and has previously worked for a number of arts institutions such as, The Actors Centre, The National Film and Television School and The University of Arts, London. 

Related Courses


Aiden Condron

Graduated 2014, Teaching Fellow at Guildford School of Acting (Surrey University).

The course played a vital role in deepening and expanding my knowledge and experience of actor training. In facilitating a detailed examination of my own practice and equipping me with an understanding of current issues, informing teaching and learning in vocational training and Higher Education, my time at Central played a significant role in opening up opportunities and preparing me for a viable future in the field.

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