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

'Em' the musical was performed by BA Acting (Musical Theatre) students

About the course

Central's BA Acting (Musical Theatre) degree course provides you with the skills to work in classical and contemporary theatre, musicals, feature film, television and radio. Throughout the course, you will explore acting through a range of contemporary approaches to sung and spoken voice, movement and dance.

  • Intensive musical theatre training with the emphasis on acting
  • Extensive engagement with industry professionals
  • External performance opportunities/collaboration with artists, theatre companies and producers
  • 3 years full-time, and students are entitled to full Equity status upon graduation.

As an actor, you will interrogate both musical and non-musical settings ranging from Shakespeare and the modern American realists to Sondheim and the popular musical. As the course progresses you will acquire the necessary skills for the realisation of ‘character’ in both the transformational and heightened theatrical styles of both spoken and sung performance.

The course has outstanding links with the performing arts industry and this is reflected in the wide range and high percentage of graduate employment.

Scholarships and Bursaries

Students on Acting Musical Theatre currently benefit from a high level of external and internal scholarship and bursary support (to help with fees and living expenses) from the following: Ian Fleming Musical Theatre Award, Olivier Bursary Award, Lilian Baylis Award, Lionel Bart Foundation, Pilkington Trust, David Day Memorial Scholarship, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Clare Rich Scholarship, and Fergal O’Mahony Foundation Awards for Musical Theatre.

Course Detail

YEAR 1: Classes and workshops

  • A full-time schedule in acting fundamentals, acting through song, spoken/sung voice (including 1:1 weekly singing lessons), ballet, jazz, ballroom, hip hop and contemporary dance, clowning, text analysis, musical theatre repertoire and ensemble singing
  • Undertake performance projects that include Dostoyevsky/Pinter scenes and Shakespeare comedy.

YEAR 2: Continuing practical training in all disciplines

  • Performance projects include Brecht, Orton, Greek theatre, contemporary American scenes, comedy of manners, Sondheim musical, Shakespeare tragedy and professional preparation
  • Perform in the public production book musical alongside final year students

YEAR 3: Focus on professional development

  • Public production performances (plays, musicals, actor/musician shows)
  • West End industry showcase
  • Acting for camera (including a professional showreel)
  • Radio training (including a voice reel) and recording a professional sung voice reel.

Previous plays include: Pentecost (Edgar), Man Of Mode (Etherege), Too Clever By Half (Ostrovsky), Black Snow (Bulgakov); musicals include: Sweet Charity, West Side Story, City Of Angels, Cabaret, Grease; new commissions include: Keeping The Faith (Fiona Laird), The Wish!, The Twee Musketeers!, Sleeping Cutie (Mark Chatterton and Sarah Nixon), and Through The Wire (Catherine Johnson).

Download BA (Hons) Acting (Musical Theatre) Programme Specification, 2017-2018 (1.16 MB)

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.

Admissions

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.

Auditions

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.

Industry Links & Visiting Staff

The majority of the teaching is delivered by visiting professionals and you will engage with industry professionals on a weekly basis.

External Performance Opportunities

There are many external performance opportunities throughout the training and the course collaborates with a wide range of artists, theatre companies and producers, most recently:

  • Tate Modern (The Bridge by Peter Liversidge commissioned for the opening of the Turbine Hall);
  • The National Theatre (NT Connections and NT Studio);
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber (Really Useful Group);
  • Bryony Kimmings and Complicite (development of The Pacifist’s Guide To The War On Cancer at the National Theatre);
  • Complicite and Pink Floyd (for the producer’s showcase of The Wall);
  • Derby LIVE (co-producers for the tour of the autumn term public production);
  • Royal College of Music (Opera School);
  • The Royal Northern College of Music (School of Composition).

The course closely collaborates with the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation which generously co-support the teaching post of the ALW Associate Musical Director.

Recent Visiting Staff

Directors

Mike Bradwell, Sue Dunderdale, Anna Ledwich, Anthony Banks, Martin Parr, Robert Shaw Cameron, Jon Pashley, Ed Hughes.

Musical Directors

Phil Bateman, Catherine Jayes, Michael Haslam, Ben Holder.

Dance

Lynne Thomas, Lizzi Gee, Ellen Jakubiel (ballet), Shaun Paul Smith (ZooNation), Karl Stevens

Acting

Carol Harvey, Andrei Biziorek.

Actor Movement

Mark Bell, Anna Healey (clowning), Anna Morrissey.

Sung Voice

Verona Chard, Sarah Leonard.

Spoken Voice

Annie Morrison, Elspeth Morrison, Jessica Higgs, Louise Jones (accents), George Ryan, Michael Elliott.

Acting for Camera

David Hounslow, Emma Cunniffe, Sarah Ball, Anji Carroll, John Canon, Ben Cogan.

Radio

Colleen Prendergast, Chris Pavlo.

What our students said

Hannah John-Kamen

Graduated in 2011, described by Screen International as ‘One of The Stars of Tomorrow 2016’, Recent screen credits include Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Killjoys (Dutch), Dark Souls ll, The Hour (Rosa Maria Ramirez), Game Of Thrones (Ornela), and Black Mirror (Sonja).

The world of acting is a tough world to live in. Living in this tough world, with the training that I have had, fills me with pride. I was taught how to challenge myself creatively and to focus on being solely truthful in this profession. The tutors’ expertise, proficiency and wisdom inspired me for the world of acting. I will never forget the attention to detail and the focus on each individual actor to prepare them for their journey ahead.

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.

Recent Graduate Successes

Recent graduate successes include:

Theatre

Hangmen, Royal Court Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre; Mr Foote’s Other Leg, Hampstead Theatre/Theatre Royal Haymarket; 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 Theatre; 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 Mockingbird, 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; The Flying Lovers for Kneehigh Theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe/Bristol Old Vic.

Regional theatre

Jesus Christ Superstar, Arena Tour; Hairspray, UK tour; The History Boys, Mercury Theatre, Colchester; Jack And The Beanstalk, Liverpool Playhouse; Barnum, Cameron Mackintosh, Chichester Festival Theatre. Christmas shows, leading roles at Lyric Hammersmith, Everyman Theatre Liverpool, Corn Exchange Newbury, Chester Theatre in the Quarter, Park Theatre in Finsbury Park.

Television

Humans, Channel 4/AMC; Mount Pleasant, Sky; The Sound Of Music Live!, Mr Selfridge, Whitechapel, ITV; Olyvar in Game Of Thrones, The Red Tent, HBO; Killjoys, Canadian TV; Banana, Misfits, The Inbetweeners, E4; Call The Midwife, Murdered By My Boyfriend, EastEnders (regular character/leading role), The Syndicate, Holby City, Doctors (guest characters), Great Expectations, Money, BBC; Horrible Histories, CBBC; Black Mirror, Shameless, Channel 4.

Film

Angel in X-Men: Apocalypse, Killjoys, Ready Player One, Tulip Fever, Granite Mountain, Angel Of Decay, A Storm In The Stars, Dark Souls, Pride, Mr Turner, Les Misérables, W.E., Hereafter, X-Men: First Class, Age Of Heroes.

Musicals (London)

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Mamma Mia, Stephen Ward, Sweeney Todd, Aldwych Theatre; City Of Angels, Donmar Warehouse; Merrily We Roll Along, Harold Pinter Theatre; Jersey Boys, Piccadilly Theatre; Les Misérables, Queen’s Theatre; Oliver!, Theatre Royal Drury Lane; Soho Cinders, Soho Theatre.

UK & European tours

King Lear, Dirty Dancing, The Commitments, Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, 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; Kiss Me, Kate, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris; Call Me Madam, Mierscher Kulturhaus, Luxembourg; Brassed Off, Touring Consortium Theatre Company.

Radio

SBLT (Single But Living Together), Great Expectations, Isadora Wing in Fear Of Flying, BBC Radio 4.

Notable Alumni

Audrey Brisson (2009) stars as Jiminy Cricket in National Theatre’s Pinnochio. Other theatre credits include roles in UK touring production La Strada, Bristol Old Vic’s The Grinning Man and Kneehigh’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.

Georgina Castle (2014) is currently playing the lead role of Sophie in the West End’s MAMMA MIA!

Ben Hardy (2012) left the role of Peter Beale in Eastenders in 2015 to set off on a burgeoning Hollywood career, which has seen him star in X Men: Apocalypse, Mary Shelley, and Only The Brave. He will next appear in the role of Roger Taylor in the upcoming Queen biopic entitled Bohemian Rhapsody, due for release in 2018.

Katie Hartland (2015) made her musical theatre debut in 2016 starring in the lead role of Baby in new UK touring production Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage.

Kara Lily Hayworth (2010) is currently starring as the late Cilla Black in the new touring musical production, Cilla Black The Musical, running until March 2018.

Hannah John-Kamen (2011) has appeared in a number of television productions including Black Mirror, Game of Thrones and The Tunnel. In 2016 she was named one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow, and next year will star in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Ready Player One, Tomb Raider, and Ant-Man and The Wasp.

Kadiff Kirwan (2011) has appeared in a number of television productions including BBC’s Strike and Black Mirror, Channel 4’s Chewing Gum, ITV’s Timewasters. He also recently appeared in Queers, providing one of the eight monologues for a series commissioned by The Old Vic to mark the decriminalisation of homosexuality, which was broadcast on BBC One.  

Jack Loxton (2013) has appeared in a number of West End productions including starring in the role of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time, Albert Narracott in War Horse. He also recently made his film debut performing in The Sense of An Ending, based on acclaimed novel by the bestselling author Julian Barnes.

Helena Muir and Natasha Culley (both 2016) perform in  Mischief Theatre’s Olivier-Award winning touring production The Play The Goes Wrong.

Jon Tarcy (2015) recently made his Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company debut appearing in their recent productions of Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra.

Will Tudor (2011) has had a number of recurring roles in television productions, including Olyvar in HBO’s Game of Thrones, Frank Whiteley in ITV’s Mr Selfridge, Odi in Channel 4’s Humans, and most recently Sebastian Verlac in US show Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments.

Staff on the course

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

Wendy Gadian, BA, PPRNCM

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader Acting – Musical Theatre

Vesna Stanojevic, BA

Senior Lecturer, Acting

Geoffrey Colman, BA, MA, FRSA

Head of Acting, Programme Leader BA (Hons) Acting

About Central's Acting, BA courses

by Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting
Head of Acting Geoffrey Colman, Central School of Speech & Drama

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.

Register for email updates