Gap Year Diploma | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Gap Year Diploma

The Gap Year Diploma is a one year, part-time course to develop your acting skills. It is designed for those aged 18-25 who are interested in preparing to apply for an acting course at higher education level.

Gap Year Diploma in Acting with Central School of Speech & Drama in London

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The Gap Year Diploma is a one year, part-time course to develop your acting skills. It is designed for those aged 18-25 who are interested in preparing to apply for an acting course at higher education level.

The course develops career skills, audition techniques and acting skills, and you will perform extracts from plays in a studio-based performance. This may be an ideal course if you feel you want a year to hone your skills before applying to a full-time course, or to increase skills if you have not been successful at auditions.

You will develop your skills as an actor by taking specific classes in movement, voice and text realisation. This work will be underpinned and linked with audition technique for those wanting to apply to an undergraduate course. There will also be career development sessions offering guidance through the Higher Education/drama school process, and on prospective careers in the performing arts.

In the final term you will rehearse and perform a performance showcase. Although we do not invite agents to this, all students on this course will be seen by an undergraduate course tutor and will be offered guidance on applying to higher education courses.

Student Experience

Former Gap Year Diploma students Polly Waldron and David Thackeray tell A Younger Theatre about their experiences on the course.

Entry Requirements

  • Applicants must have IELTS score of 7.0 or equivalent in the English language. Please note, you will be expected to read texts/scripts that may have advanced vocabulary on this course. 
  • The minimum age for admission is 18.
  • You must audition for this course.


Auditions have now concluded for September 2019 entry. If you would like to be kept informed of when we begin auditioning for September 2020 entry, please fill out the contact form on the left-hand side of this page. Auditions are held throughout the year until the course is full (usually from April until around late August).  They cost £15 which must be paid in advance to confirm your slot. Please note this is a non-refundable fee.

For your audition, you will need to prepare a contemporary monologue from the last 30 years of no longer than two minutes duration.



I can’t make any of the audition dates that have been emailed to me – do you have other dates coming up? We schedule 1-2 dates per month from April until early December for entry in January of the following year for the Acting and MT Diploma’s, and April until late August for entry to the Gap Year Diploma starting in September. We normally schedule dates two months in advance. If you’re unable to attend any of the upcoming dates we will keep your details on file and get in touch when new dates are released.

Can I audition via Skype/Video? We’re only able to audition people in person for the Diploma courses.

Do you offer international auditions for this course? We accept international students (provided they’re able to secure a visa to be here for the duration of the course) however, all auditions must take place in person at our main campus in London. Please note, as this course is classed as 'part-time, non-accredited study' it does not qualify for a Tier 4 Student Visa. 

Do you give out audition advice? Once you’ve booked your audition slot, our team will send you a list of tips to help you prepare for your audition with us.

After my audition, how long will it take for me to find out if I’ve been offered a place? We will let you know the outcome of your audition within 2 weeks. In the event that you’ve been unsuccessful we may be able to offer brief feedback on request, please note that this may take up to a month for us to respond to.

Can I be considered for more than one Diploma? Yes – you only need to audition once though. Please make sure our team are aware of which Diploma’s you would like to audition for when you call to book your slot. The Audition Panel will then decide which Diploma they think you’re most suitable for.


Is there a concessionary fee available for this course? Unfortunately not. The full fee applies to everyone.

When do I have to pay the fees by? If you’re successful in gaining a place, you will need to pay a 25% deposit of the full fee amount to secure your place within two weeks of being offered it. You will then be expected to pay the balance of the fees by the Thursday before the course begins. In exceptional circumstances we may be able to arrange a payment plan with you if you are struggling to pay the full amount before the course begins. The team will be able to give you more details of this if you are successful at gaining a place.

Do you offer any bursaries? Yes. In order to improve access to education for people who are from low-income backgrounds, we have a bursary fund you can apply to if you earn under £25,000 per year (or if your family earn less than £25,000 if you’re under 25 and still live at home). More details are available on request once you have been offered a place on a Diploma course.

Please note: applications to the bursary fund always exceed the amount of money available so there is no guarantee we will be able to offer you a bursary.

Attendance/Fitness to Study

How important is it that I’m available for every session?

Very important, vital, in fact. Our Diploma’s give you the chance to experience conservatoire-style training and as such we take attendance and punctuality as seriously as we do on our BA and MA courses. All of our courses are collaborative in nature and if you’re missing from class it impacts on your fellow students’ learning, as well as your own. If your attendance dips below an acceptable level, you will be asked to leave the course and no refund of fees will be given.

How demanding is this course? This course offers a practical, physical, hands-on experiential learning experience and you need to be prepared to fully commit physically, mentally and emotionally to that.

The Diploma is highly rewarding and a fantastic way to learn new skills whilst still being able to work during the day but it can also be taxing on top of your daily life. We urge you to think carefully about this and consider whether you currently have the time, energy and wellness levels to fully engage before applying.


Where does the course take place?

All of our Diploma classes take place at our purpose built, main campus at Swiss Cottage. It’s in Zone 2, and right next to Swiss Cottage tube station on the Jubilee Line.

How many students do you have per class?

We accept around 28 people onto both the Acting and the Gap Year Diploma’s each year (split into classes of 14). There are a maximum of 12 places available on the Musical Theatre Diploma.

Each year we audition around 500 people for the three courses.

How often does each Diploma run?

Once per year. The Acting and Musical Theatre Diploma’s start in January each year and the Gap Year Diploma starts in September.

Will this course help me get accepted to the BA Acting at Central or elsewhere?

Places on our BA and MA courses (and equivalent courses elsewhere) are highly sought after with hundreds of people applying for each place usually. There are no short cuts to gaining a place and completing one of our Diploma’s is in no way a guarantee that you will go on to be accepted for BA or MA study at Central or elsewhere. That said, you will learn a great deal on the Diploma and the skills learnt, coupled with hard work and talent, will be beneficial when it comes to auditioning. Each year there are usually a handful of students who are successful in gaining a place somewhere for further study.

Will this course help me get a Spotlight pin?

At the present time, Spotlight does not accept part-time, non-accredited courses as a way to get a pin. If you already have a pin, however, you’ll be able to list that you took one of our courses under the Education section.

My question isn’t covered here. Who can I contact? Please email the short courses team for more information or call 0207 559 3960 where one of the team will be happy to assist you.

Dates and Duration

Dates & Duration

The course will run on Saturdays with one intensive week at the beginning and a final intensive week at the end of thecourse - see below for provisional dates for 2019/2020. 

2019/2020 Course Dates

Initial Intensive week: 30 September - 4 October 2019

Term 1: Acting Fundamentals, career development, freeing the voice, applied voice (audition speech), freeing the body, applied movement (audition speech)
Saturday 12 October 2019 - Saturday 14 December 2019

Term 2: Approaches to text: theatre, television, film and radio, character
Saturday 18 January 2020, Saturday 1 February 2020, Saturday 15 February 2020, Saturday 29 February 2020, Saturday 14 March 2020

Term 3: Rehearsals for the performance showcase
Saturday 25 April 2020 - Saturday 27 June 2020

Term 4: Intensive week of final rehearsals
Intensive Saturday: Saturday 11 July 2020
Intensive week: Monday 13 July - Friday 17 July 2020

Performance Showcase: Friday 17 July 2020

What we're looking for in people

We’re looking for people who:

  • demonstrate commitment to the subject
  • can work well within a team
  • are passionate about acting and theatre
  • are willing to work independently
  • show an understanding/respect for rehearsal room etiquette e.g. time keeping, discipline, etc
  • want to progress and learn about acting in a practical way.