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1 year
Full time
Master's degree
On campus
10 January 2022
Virtual open day
Virtual open day

Program description

MA Acting: Contemporary

MA Acting - Contemporary combines teaching in voice, movement and acting techniques with an exploration of some of the key playwrights who have helped forge the canon of Western theatre, including the Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists, Chekhov, Beckett and Kane. Uniquely, it explores the relationship between the two artists at the core of much Western theatre: the actor and the writer. On this course, plays are frequently developed in collaboration and students are encouraged to explore their role as creative artists. There will be a chance to work with, and alongside, established playwrights as well as students on Central’s MA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media.

Admission requirements

Applicants will normally have either undertaken conservatoire training, have professional acting experience, or have a degree in the broad field of performance and drama studies. Students from other disciplines may be considered if you have sufficient experience of theatre. An offer will normally only be made after audition and interview, and you may also be required to take part in a short practical workshop and/or submit a short piece of written work. 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.

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Program content

"In the first four-week intensive (September – October), you will undertake a number of training approaches that explore the psychophysical, ‘self with others’ and Viewpoints. This work is all leading towards the formation of an ensemble. Complementing this will be an introduction to the neutral mask, and intensive physical and vocal work. Alongside this, you will explore the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, both in their historical context and in their influence on contemporary theatre.

In the subsequent studio (October – December), you will examine Stanislavski and contemporary acting techniques that have derived from the grandfather of modern acting pedagogy. You will explore the process of creating a role though practical scene study, text analysis and improvisation from plays of the early 20th century, including those of Chekhov. You will continue to work on voice and movement alongside scene work. You will also practice period dance, stage combat, clowning and storytelling, undertaking a series of études that will develop skills in observation, imagination, transformation and character analysis. These will continue into the remaining studios. Practical assessments, showings and critiques take place at the end of each studio, and individual personal guidance from tutors is available throughout the year.

In the second studio (January – March), the course examines plays from the latter half of the 20th century, including the work of Pinter and Kane. There is also the possibility for you to bring in scenes from other leading European and American playwrights. You will study textual form, including the use of fractured narratives, codified silence and stillness, and the semiotics of the actor. Alongside voice and movement, you will begin the process of collaborating directly with writers.

In the second intensive (March – April), you will rehearse and perform in a fully-supported production of an existing 20th or 21st century text or new play. Here you will apply all of the practical and character analysis skills that you have developed to date.

In the third studio (April – June), the course concentrates on the development of new work. You will work in collaboration with a number of playwrights at different stages of the development process. This may include working with writers on the MA/MFA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media course, on the development of a script for the final production, and on rehearsed readings and workshops at Central or in industry venues. You will also be encouraged to visit a number of new writing venues. During this studio, you will perform in an industry showcase at Central, or a professional venue, in collaboration with students on the Classical course.

In the final intensive (July – August), you rehearse and perform in a fully-supported production of either a new play or existing 20th or 21st century script as a final summation of your practical work. This may be specially commissioned for the group. Productions will be chosen and cast both to challenge and best represent the particular character of the cohort and the individual students.

Throughout the practical training, you will work on a Sustained Independent Project (SIP) of written and/or performance enquiry, part of which may be presented as a solo performance. This offers an exciting opportunity to draw upon your new skills and to follow your own passions to create a unique piece of work.

After the final intensive (August – September), there is a writing-up period for the final stage of your SIP."

Tuition fees

Full tuition for EU students 18882 GBP

Full tuition for Non-EU students 21413 GBP

Contact school

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About this institute

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is part of the University of London and is widely regarded as one of the top training institutions for those wishing to work in the performing arts. Located in Swiss Cottage, north...

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Contact school

Want to know more about MA Acting: Contemporary? Fill out the following form and we'll pass your details on to a representative from the school, who will respond to your enquiry.


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