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How to Apply

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If you want to act, direct or write for actors in stage, radio, film and television, this vocational actor-training course is for you. Studying Acting at Bath Spa University provides you with an opportunity to immerse yourself in an innovative and exciting artistic environment. The training is highly practical, intensive and professionally focused. You will explore in depth a range of skills, processes and job roles to prepare you for the demands of a portfolio career in the industry as an actor interpreter and actor creator. The course works closely with professionally active writers and practitioners in theatre and recorded media, innovative theatre companies and  established regional and national theatre venues. Our professionally active and experienced staff foster creative approaches to performance, and encourage the development of entrepreneurialism to create work, not just seek it!

Graduates have established theatre companies with performances in London, Edinburgh and the South West, and have secured work in film and television, including C4’s Skins and work on Tim Burton's Dark Shadows. Other graduates go on to further study or work actively in allied performance areas.

A Midsummer Night's Dream from BSU - Music & Performing Arts on Vimeo.

Why study Acting?

Acting is a challenging programme that explores a process-driven approach to acting in both text-based and devised performance across live and recorded media and considers how that process interconnects with scriptwriting and directing. The course aims to produce an artist who is physically and vocally versatile; creative, intellectually alive and curious. Over three years, you will work in a variety of genres and repertoires from classical to contemporary.

Alongside the core disciplines of voice, movement, comedy, singing and acting techniques, you will develop a range of creative and transferable skills that will encourage you to become an independent thinker and motivated artist; an articulate and reflective practitioner equipped to succeed in an increasingly competitive profession.

Last year, students worked with the playwright Phillip Ridley on a theatre adaptation of his novel Moonfleece, directed by Dan Horrigan of the theatre company Sky of the Bird. They also worked with Dr Rebecca Loukes from RedCape Theatre Company, Oliver Jones (Creativity Works and Blind Eye Theatre Company),Toby Peach (Associate Artist - Artistic Director of Birds Anonymous Theatre Company) and Ed Viney, who was Creative Associate at the Bush Theatre and Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS

Thursday 12 May - Saturday 14 May, 7.30pm & Saturday 2pm
University Theatre, Newton Park Campus

By Carlo Goldoni
Adapted by Dorothy Louise

Performed by our 3rd year Acting students The Servant of Two Masters is a madcap Italian comedy of lovers, lawyers, servants, and twenty-seven plates of meatballs. Betrothed couple Silvio and Clarice are devastated when a previous fiancé reappears, back from the dead. In this wild farce, things and people are not what they seem and disguises, traps, and tricks produce a whirlwind of mass confusion.

At the centre of this mirth is Truffaldino, the scheming – and perpetually hungry – servant who concocts a zany scheme to double his wages (and his meals) by serving two masters at once. This updated commedia dell’arte masterpiece by Carlo Goldoni adapted by Dorothy Louise uses contemporary language and promises laugh-out-loud mayhem that should not be missed!

RECENT THIRD YEAR PROJECTS 

WORDPLAY

WordPlay is a rehearsed reading event that introduces audiences to new writers and their work. It’s an opportunity to discover new gems of writing and playwright’s stories - a place where you can truly say you saw it here first.

TONGUE-TIED, Directed by JONATHAN BISBY and performed in BURDALL's YARD

(Production Shot by Nick Spratling)

At the end of a winding road lies a once loved and enchanting bookshop. Now covered in dust and stripped of its wonder, it is all but forgotten. That is until eight year-old Macha, stumbles inside and discovers stories are more than scribbles on a page...

ANNA KARENINA, Directed by Matt Ball and performed in the UNIVERSITY THEATRE

Adapted by Helen Edmundson
Amateur production by arrangement with Nick Hern Books 

(Production Shot by Nick Spratling)

Russia 1877. Anna Karenina, a married woman falls passionately in love with the devastatingly handsome Count Vronsky. She deserts her husband and child to live with her lover. But as society shuns her, fear and suspicion of Vronsky’s love and fidelity grow.

As Anna’s world disintegrates, Helen Edmundson’s adaptation interweaves her story with that of Levin, the fervent idealist, and his stormy relationship with the beautiful young Kitty - a story of hope set against that of Anna’s despair.

THE LIBERTY TREE by Chris Jury, Directed by Chris Jury and performed in the UNIVERSITY THEATRE 

(Production Shot by Nick Spratling)

If you are baffled, bullied, intimidated, incensed, stressed, or oppressed and sick to death of being watched over, inspected, regulated, noted, registered, measured, numbered, censored, admonished, punished and betrayed, then The Liberty Tree might be just the tonic you need.

The Liberty Tree is a large-scale community musical that extols the virtues of community and of collective political action. With echoes of The Wizard Of Oz, The Liberty Tree uses drama, comedy and music to create a romping, hilarious, feel-good antidote to the austerity agenda and the relentless and depressing fragmentation and isolation of modern society.
Rosa is a young woman working in a Call Centre (the electronic sweatshops of the 21st Century). She witnesses a manager cruelly bullying a colleague but does nothing. A fellow worker, Joe, does intervene and is sacked. That night Rosa is tormented by her cowardice in the face of such injustice. As she sleeps she dreams she awakes trapped in a mythical fairy tale land, The Land Of Do What You’re Told, and the only way out is to go on a journey to find The Liberty Tree…

BLOOD WEDDING by Federico García Lorca, Directed by Matt Ball and performed at BURDALL'S YARD

(Production Shot by Nick Spratling)

Lorca’s Blood Wedding is a classic of 20th century theatre. Inspired by a true story, it’s a haunting tale of forbidden love & blood feuds. In a small rural community, where everyone knows your business, and reputation is all, a bride runs away with her true love on her wedding day. The couple are chased by the bridegroom and the woodcutters with tragic results - all overseen by the moon and death.
Bath Spa University’s OnSet Productions presents this retelling of the Lorca’s classic. Blood Wedding was written in 1932 and first performed in Madrid in March 1933, and later that year in Buenos Aires. Theatre critics often group it with Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba as the Rural Trilogy. Lorca’s plan for a 'trilogy of the Spanish earth' remained unfinished at the time of his death (he did not include The House of Bernarda Alba in it).

SITCOM PROJECT, performed and recorded in the BATH SPA UNIVERSITY RECORDING STUDIOS

(Production Shots by Nick Spratling)

ARABIAN NIGHTS, Directed by Ian Nicholson and performed at the EGG THEATRE, THEATRE ROYAL BATH

Adapted by Dominic Cooke
Royal Shakespeare Company version 
Amateur production by arrangement with Nick Hern Books


(Production Shot by Nick Spratling)

One thousand and one nights, and a different story on every one. These are the Arabian Nights. King Shahrayar has decreed that whenever he marries the following morning his new wife must die. On her wedding night, Shahrazad‘s only hope is to enchant the King with her tales of magic and adventure!

Bath Spa University’s OnSet Productions presents this colourful and inventive adaptation by Dominic Cooke. A vivid re- imagining of the world’s most magical and spellbinding tales.

Theatre Royal Bath is a cultural partner of Bath Spa University

MOONFLEECE by Philip Ridley, Directed by Dan Horrigan and performed in the UNIVERSITY THEATRE 

 MOONFLEECE

(Production Shot by Philip Ridley)

A bruising, humorously spiky and lyrical play that tells the story of Curtis, a leading member of an increasingly popular racist party, who is haunted by the memory of his dead brother. When Curtis starts seeing his brother’s ghost a chain of events is set in motion that leads to the unearthing of a family secret. Populated with beautifully realised characters - and seen through the eyes of young people - this is a contemporary story where the ‘personal’ is very much the ‘political’.

Course structure

BA Acting is a specialised award and is suitable for students who want to study acting as a single subject. The intense professional focus of the course means that there is no option to combine another subject, although there are optional projects in some modules. These performance projects help you to adapt your learning journey to suit your particular needs and your tutors will give you advice about these options throughout the course.

Daily technical classes develop your voice, singing, movement and comedy skills to support your development to a professional level, accompanied by a practical exploration of the many processes and practitioners that inform contemporary approaches to acting. Underpinning all of this is an exploration of the history of the theatre, film, television and radio to develop your knowledge and academic skills.

Stage Combat Class

Recorded Media

Recorded Media training on the BA Acting course is practical, skills based and industry aware, and aims to give students experience and knowledge of the contemporary creative and management processes of recorded media production in the UK. You will explore a range of recorded media skills, including: acting, script writing, directing, producing, production management and editing.

Modules

Year 1 introduces you to the foundational skills and building blocks of acting:

  • Skills classes develop professionally focused vocal, physical and comedic skills.
  • Context classes explore theatre history through practice and research, to situate contemporary performers within an ancient tradition.
  • Process Form and Composition classes explore a range of acting processes, enabling you to approach any role; to investigate how drama works and how to create your own work.

Year 2 tests and develops your acting, directing, writing and devising process in theatre and recorded media. Skills, including Stage Combat and Context classes, continue with the same rigor and intensity, while your core module allows you the option to specialise in different areas of acting.

Projects include:

  • Devising theatre
  • Writing for performance
  • Directing
  • Film Making
  • The Actor/Creator
  • Text: Comedy and American Drama
  • Shakespeare

SECOND YEAR ENSEMBLE PROJECT: THE WOLF BALLADS, 2015

Image: Sam Thomas & Nik Aare

Year 3 is your apprentice year. You become a member of OnSet productions, a professional company that produces three seasons of work across a range of live and recorded media. This company presents work supported by Bath Spa Live, the University’s promotion arm that presents all outward facing student work.

There are three modules in the third year:

  • Context classes focus on a written project and preparation for the business side of the industry
  • Skills classes prepare you for entry to the profession
  • Your Core module places you in a series of professionally staged films and plays
  • The professional profile module prepares you for the world of work

 Over the year, students perform in each of the following:

  • A recorded media project: Sitcom, Graduate Film, Acting for the Microphone
  • A directed play
  • A rehearsed play reading
  • A 'Making' Project

Students choose between a 5,000 word academic file based on their ‘Making Project’ or a more traditional dissertation model.

 

Course assessment

On the BA Acting course you will be assessed on your performance work, essays, evaluations and other presentations. 80% of assessment is practical and 20% is written.

SECOND YEAR ENSEMBLE PROJECT: THE WOLF BALLADS, 2015

Image: Sam Thomas & Nik Aare

The programme’s professionally active and experienced staff foster creative approaches to performance and encourage the development of entrepreneurialism to create work, not just seek it! The University’s excellent teaching and research reputation guarantees rigorous practical training, balanced with research and analytical skills.

SECOND YEAR ENSEMBLE PROJECT: THE WOLF BALLADS, 2015

Image: Sam Thomas & Nik Aare

Teaching methods

The course encourages your learning through participation in a wide variety of activities, including lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials (face-to-face and online), rehearsals, blogs and journals, group discussion, collaborative learning and peer assessment. Your course is hour intensive; over 50% of your 1200 hours are spent in class, meaning that you will have at least 20 hours of formal contact per week. You also need to compliment this with equivalent hours of private study (line learning, research, text analysis, practice, etc.) Much of your learning is experienced in class, supported by considerable independent research, reflection and evaluation. The course is challenging as it requires considerable stamina and continued application to become the actor that you want to be.

Onset Productions

To bridge the gap between study and work as an emerging professional, third year students become a member of OnSet productions, a professional company that produces three seasons of work across a range of live and recorded media. This graduating company is supported by Bath Spa Live, the University’s promotion arm that promotes and presents all outward facing student work. Each student appears in a recorded media project, a directed play, a rehearsed play reading and a 'making' project.

Students on the Theatre Production programme provide professional production values throughout. Guest professional practitioners and directors lead many of the productions. Larger ensemble cast pieces tour to local venues including The Theatre Royal Bath or regional venues, such as Cornwall’s Minack Theatre, and smaller cast pieces showcase individual students' own work

At the end of the three years, the students will not only be fully equipped for a professional freelance career, but they will also have the opportunity to develop a product ready for the market upon graduation.

Resources

The department of Performing Arts has the use of three fully equipped studios, the University Theatre, Burdall’s Yard - located in Bath city centre - and additional rehearsal spaces for independent study. In addition, Bath Spa has recently opened a state-of-the art television studio for recorded media work and a beautiful amphitheatre on the Newton Park campus. Site-specific work takes advantage of our outstanding campus and the architecture and history of the City of Bath. We also have professional partnerships with the Theatre Royal Bath and Salisbury Playhouse.

THE JUNGLE BOOK, 2014 at the Egg, Theatre Royal Bath

 

Amphitheatre, Newton Park Campus

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS. At the first stage, successful applicants will receive an invite to audition.

Only applicants who audition will be offered a place on the programme.

The University considers applications about one month before the designated audition session and invites all eligible candidates to attend by letter. At the same time, ineligible candidates receive an unsuccessful result via UCAS track.

Auditions begin at 9am and run to around 5pm, and there are seven elements to the day:

  • Brief welcome
  • Movement workshop
  • Text workshop
  • Monologue presentations (these are filmed)
  • Q&A about the programme
  • Campus tour
  • Interview

Around seventy candidates attend each session. A single day for early applicants runs in late November/early December, then there are more days mid-February and a final date in April for later submissions. For the acting workshop, candidates must prepare a contemporary monologue that must not exceed 2 minutes. Candidates receive further information when they are invited to audition.

Throughout the process, the audition panel consider the academic reference, academic qualifications and personal statement of each candidate, as well as the work in the sessions. In the interview, the workshops and monologue presentation elements are considered and the panel score each candidate against the following criteria: 

  • Responsiveness to ideas and direction
  • Creativeness of responses           
  • Spontaneity demonstrated in tasks 
  • Proficiency of skills
  • Depth of comprehension  
  • Approachability      

Overseas students must present two contrasting monologues on a region 2 format DVD or via the internet in Windows or Quicktime compatible video. The monologues should be performed and recorded for the specific purposes of audition and not be edited work from other videos. The panel will also interview the candidate via phone or Skype.

Please note, we cannot consider deferred applications for this course.

2015 - 2016 Undergraduate Audition Dates:

14th and 15th December
15th, 16th and 17th February
21st, 22nd and 23rd (provisional) March
Please note: applications received before 30th November will be called for audition in December. All other applicants will be auditioned in February and April 2015. 

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

300–320 UCAS Tariff points including two A-levels at minimum BB (one in drama or theatre studies).

Entry is by audition only.

Career opportunities

The programme prepares you for a freelance career in theatre, film and television. The University’s excellent teaching and research reputation guarantees rigorous practical training, balanced with research and analytical skills. Professionally experienced staff foster creative approaches to performance and encourage your entrepreneurialism to create work, not just seek it! Many industry links with companies - such as the Theatre Royal Bath and Salisbury Playhouse - embed industry practice in all classes.

 Graduates become:

  • Actor/Devisors
  • Writers
  • Directors
  • Artistic Directors
  • Teachers
  • Workshop Leaders
  • Arts Officers

Since 2010, employers such as Warner Bros, Euro Disney, The Unicorn Theatre and The Theatre Royal (Bath) have recruited graduates from this course. As well as acting and writing, students have also gone into roles such as Theatre Worker,  Drama and Dance Teachers and Hospitality Supervisor.

Recent graduate successes include:

2015: Graduate working at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich.

2015: Timothy, a Making Project has recently performed in Taiwan.

2015: Four graduates have been touring Italy with Teatrino Theatre Company.

2015: Night Flyer, a Making Project opened at the Tristram Bates Theatre in London.

2015: Graduate touring with Apollo Theatre in Around the Horn in major national venues.

2014: Graduate cast as Malcom in Macbeth for a three month national tour.

2014: Graduate made a pilot for Welsh TV which has since been commissioned.

2014: Two graduates appeared with Lazarus Theatre Company in a double bill of Troilus and Cressida and Coriolanus. Both gained agents after being seen in this show.

2013:  Graduate has appeared in the BBC’s Atlantis.

2013: Graduate established a TIE Company.

What students say...

Student Experience: Alex Night, graduated 2015 (BA Acting):

"My time on BA Acting at Bath Spa was better than I could have ever thought it would be. When necessary, I was supported and guided through every aspect of the course and University life; was given every opportunity to diversify my skills and hone my craft; all with a focus on employability and creativity in equal measure. The staff, students, setting and community of Bath Spa’s BA Acting course were simply outstanding."

Graduation 2014 at Bath Abbey