School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) Acting

Train to be a professional actor with the Theatre Royal Plymouth and University of Plymouth and benefit from a unique partnership. Our vocational course provides professional standard training, offering you key skills and industry expertise. You’ll be taught in The House, our stunning new theatre, where you’ll learn to make and promote your own performances, equipping you for a career in today’s diverse theatre industry.

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Join Plymouth Conservatoire

This programme is delivered through Plymouth Conservatoire - a unique partnership between the University and Theatre Royal Plymouth, providing training and professional experience that will set talented students apart in today’s arts and creative industries.

Plymouth Conservatoire

Conservatoire Academic Excellence Bursary

This £1,000 bursary is awarded in recognition of outstanding academic achievement to all first year students enrolling in 2019 who achieve 144 UCAS tariff points or above.

It’s not too late to apply for September 2019

If you haven’t applied to the University of Plymouth for September 2019 entry, prior to the UCAS deadline, there may still be vacancies on your chosen course.

It’s not too late to apply

Key features

  • Teaching may be delivered solely at University of Plymouth campus or a combination of specialist spaces at the University and the rehearsal and educational spaces at Theatre Royal Plymouth.
  • Gain professional experience with a course delivered in partnership with the prestigious Theatre Royal Plymouth. You’ll benefit from joint teaching and access to the production of new work at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
  • Enhance your employability with a vocational course providing professional training standards.
  • Create your own works and perform in purpose-built theatre and studio spaces in The House, our stunning, new performing arts facility where you’ll mix with other music, dance and theatre students.
  • Access industry expertise with the Theatre Royal Plymouth's creative staff, and network with professionals and prospective employers through training and workshops. You’ll be able to apply for volunteering professional opportunities, such as the Theatre Royal Plymouth's Assistant Practitioner scheme.
  • Benefit from highly practical teaching and master acting skills for both stage and recorded media.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll learn the principles of acting and how to put theory into practice. You’ll also experience the process of creating performance, from page to stage.
    Core modules
    • ACT400 Self and Character

      This module is all about preparing actors to work in a profession with certain innate dangers to personal mental and physical health. The process of adopting a character, and enacting a role can mean that actors have to negotiate some very personal feelings and experiences, and giving them tools to do this is a health and sustainable way is what this module is all about.

    • ACT404 Introduction to Acting

    • ACT405 Training for Actors 1: Voice and Body

      This module develops basic expressive vocal and movement skills necessary for the successful interpretation of dramatic and non-dramatic performative material. Through workshop study, the student will embark on a creative exploration of the physical and mental processes embedded in core traditions of actor training.

    • ACT410 Page to Stage 1: The Physical Action

      This module encapsulates the aims of the programme in a condensed and intensive experience of theatre-making: students work together, with leadership from staff to read, rehearse design and present a number of fully realised scenes from plays. Students will experience all aspects of theatre production in a concentrated rehearsal process, with a performance at the end of each process.

    • ACT411 Page to Stage 2: Discovering the Through-line

      Page to Stage 2 builds on the work done in Page to Stage 1, teaching students techniques for building a character to help them to play more challenging roles. Techniques of dramaturgical analysis, `scoring¿ a role and marking up a text provide the basis for building complex characters, with varied and unusual life experience; where Page to Stage 1 helped students to play characters that were much like themselves Page to Stage 2 challenges students to build characters very different from them. Physical skills, for example `animal work¿, help students to find a physical lexis for presenting the dramaturgical information about characters that they have uncovered through text analysis.

    • PLYCO423 20th Century Performance Practices

      This module comprises both a lecture and a workshop series that surveys the key elements of dance, theatre and performance, including the terminology and discourses that help to develop a critically engaged practice. It includes an introduction to contemporary and historical theories and debates, while offering students an introduction to appropriate modes of study, research, devising and workshop skills.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll study the different styles of acting in more depth and develop your own practice by participating in the production of performances with industry experts. You’ll learn to craft and market your own performance work, and develop networks of collaborators for your future profession.
    Core modules
    • ACT501 Making Theatre 1

    • ACT505 Training for Actors 2: Embodying Text

      This module furthers the study of expressive vocal and movement skills necessary for the successful interpretation of dramatic and more broadly `performative¿ material. Through workshop study, the student will continue the exploration of the physical and mental processes embedded in core acting training techniques, exercises and traditions.

    • ACT506 Acting for Recorded Media

      This module trains students to work professionally in mediatised/recorded settings. Students learn techniques appropriate to the preparation and performance of non-theatrical formats (such as audio drama) through text-based analysis, narrative and dramatic theory and genre-specific acting techniques.

    • ACT510 Page to Stage 3: Beyond the System

      This module complements and builds on the work done in Page to Stage 1 & 2 by teaching students how to play their character alongside other characters, and actors on stage. This module introduces scene performance (and not just monologue) and teaches students methods and approaches to `reacting¿. Students will be able to apply the skills and techniques acquired through Page to Stage 1 & 2 in this module, and will learn how to apply these skills when working alongside other actors in the presentation of fully realised scenes and plays.

    • PLYCO522 Theatre Residency

      This module addresses collaborative and interdisciplinary practice. It is a practical and studio-based module that emphasises the development and presentation of student-led work and collaboration across year groups.

    • PLYCO523 Performance Practices

      This module encourages students to find their creative voice through the exploration and application of a specific performance practice. Students will develop and practically interrogate the skills and understandings that establish specific forms of contemporary performance practice as both skilled activities and culturally significant artistic statements.

  • Final Year
  • In your final year, you’ll focus on refining the skills and knowledge of your craft. A strong focus on professional development and employability in the competitive theatre industry will prepare you for a lifelong career.
    Core modules
    • ACT600 Acting Rediscovered

      The module fosters deep understanding and practical knowledge of a form/approach to performance training. Through expert-lead practice, students will experiment with techniques, strategies and approaches to training that will help them to develop and deepen their understanding of skills germane to a specific style.

    • ACT601 Making Theatre 2

    • ACT603 Training for Actors 4

    • PLYCO610 Performance Research

      Students will plan and conduct a research enquiry relevant to the application, practice and study of performance (including acting, dance, theatre, live art, and cross-form practices). Through lectures, workshops and tutorial guidance, students develop appropriate ways of collecting, analysing, documenting and organising material to present and evidence their research process and findings. Projects can be articulated in one of three ways; lecture demo, practice as research or dissertation.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Acting Programme Specification 2018 19 5222

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104

Entry is strictly by audition:

For your first audition, you'll give a rehearsed performance of two contrasting theatre monologues for a panel of staff.

You need to show evidence of: 

  • a serious, ongoing commitment to an acting career in the professional theatre
  • trainable vocal, physical and imaginative/emotional skills
  • potential that you'll benefit from the study in acting offered at Plymouth
  • an ability to understand, interpret and embody a dramatic text
  • an ability to participate actively in group or ensemble situations
  • a readiness to take risks in creative work, and an open, receptive and enquiring mind
  • enthusiasm and readiness for hard, rigorous work requiring sustained 
concentration
  • a sense of language and rhythm, and the potential for identification with 
the thought process of a dramatic text
  • the ability to portray and inhabit an imagined or fictional situation
  • physical, vocal and imaginative/emotional skills with significant theatrical potential.
Further details:

  • No props or scripts to be used at the audition.
  • Audition will be held in The House theatre, or at Theatre Royal Plymouth.
  • Overseas students who aren’t in the country may be offered a skype interview first.
We aim to audition all applicants and all decisions are based on audition, and so we encourage all individuals to apply whatever their qualifications.


English language requirements

You will need fluent written and spoken English (equivalent to IELTS level 7.0). Given the nature of the course, you’ll be expected to read, perform and engage with complex texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.

View detailed English language requirements.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

If you're applying through UCAS you'll receive full details, but if you'd like to know more, please contact admissions.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Conservatoire Academic Excellence Bursary

This £1,000 bursary is awarded in recognition of outstanding academic achievement to all first year students enrolling in 2019 who achieve 144 UCAS tariff points or above. The bursary takes the form of a cash payment and will be paid in three instalments over the year.

Eligible students can only receive one bursary in any given academic year. Should you qualify for two or more, you will only be entitled to receive whichever has the highest value.

Find out more

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Welcome to Plymouth Conservatoire

Experts from the University of Plymouth and Theatre Royal Plymouth work together to give you training and professional experience that will set you apart in today’s arts and creative industries.

Get the very best, up-to-date industry expertise, research and teaching practice as well as unrivalled access to professional opportunities.

Watch our film about Plymouth Conservatoire.

Audition guidance

As part of the criteria for this course you’ll be asked to attend an audition day. Here you’ll get the opportunity to meet the lecturers, learn more about the course, visit our facilities and take part in your audition. The audition lets us find out more about you, and gives you the chance to find out more about us.

Make the most of your audition

BA (Hons) Acting in partnership with Theatre Royal Plymouth

University of Plymouth and Theatre Royal Plymouth have joined forces to launch Plymouth Conservatoire. 

Here, performing arts students – actors, dancers, and theatre-makers - will have the very best, up-to-date industry expertise, research and teaching practice as well as unrivalled access to professional opportunities.

It is the only Conservatoire in the UK where students can benefit from the unique mix of expertise on offer when a theatre and a university combine.

Learn more about Theatre Royal Plymouth

Theatre Royal Plymouth. Credit Christian Sinibaldi

Your own purpose built theatre:

The House

The University of Plymouth committed £7 million to building The House, a purpose built theatre on campus – and now the teaching home to Plymouth Conservatoire. 

A state-of-the art building, built to the very highest technical and sustainable specification, this award winning facility is a fully-accessible building with a 200-seater auditorium, a studio theatre and rehearsal spaces.

Come in to The House


<p>The House stage</p>
The House stage
<p>The House stage viewed from above</p>
The House stage from above
<p>The House studio</p>
The House studio
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 307</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 307
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 306</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 306
<p>Roland Levinsky Building room 308</p>
Roland Levinsky Building room 308

Programme Leader, Dr John Matthews:

John’s performance credits include BBC film drama and stage productions across the UK as both an actor and director. A recognised specialist in the subject of training, John is the author of Training for Performance, and Anatomy of Performance Training.

As Research Fellow of the Stanislavski Centre, John taught and presented his research at the country’s leading drama schools and has received an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship for his work in performer training.

"Working collaboratively with our colleagues at Theatre Royal allows us to offer a completely unique, and professional-standard training. The new House theatre is an exceptional resource for students on this programme, because of its capacity, versatility and technical capabilities and also because of its prime location in the centre of the city.”

BA (Hons) Acting staff

*The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.