Acting

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Bath Spa is one of the first major 'teaching-led' universities. This means that we place the highest possible emphasis on teaching quality for both postgraduate and undergraduate students, and we put the student at the very centre of our activities

If you want to act, direct or write for actors in theatre, radio, film and television, this actor-training course is for you. 

Image of BA Acting students

Why study Acting?

The training is practical, intensive and professionally focused. Students explore a range of skills, processes and job roles to prepare them for a varied freelance career in the industry. Graduates have established theatre companies with performances in London, Edinburgh and the South West, and have secured work in film and television, like C4’s Skins and work on Tim Burton's Dark Shadows. Other graduates continue to study, or work in allied performance areas.

Course structure

Daily technical classes develop your voice, movement and comedy skills to professional pitch. These support your development as an actor, supported 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

 

Modules

The programme is progressive – the three modules of study in year 1, recur in years 2 and 3. In each year, a context module explores the intellectual skills required for the programme, developing in complexity each year. A skills module develops voice, movement and comedy skills in each year, introducing basic techniques in year one and resulting in industry practice in year three. Core modules in each year introduce students to the processes they require as actors and culminate in professionally staged work in year three. In year three only, a professional profile module prepares you for entry to the world of work as a freelance practitioner.

Year 1 is an introduction to acting:

  • Skills classes develop professionally focused vocal and physical skills.
  • Context classes examine theatre history to place modern performers within an ancient tradition.
  • Process Form and Composition classes explore the range of ‘acting tools’ required for a professional career, how drama works and how to create theatre

Year 2 tests your process

Skills and context classes continue, while your core module allows you to choose the kind of actor you want to be, projects include:

  • American Drama
  • Devising theatre
  • Directing
  • Comedy
  • Physical and Visual Theatre
  • Audio Drama
  • Shakespeare
  • Film Making
  • Writing

You can follow a single route (for instance, just plays) or explore the variety of acting.

 

Year 3 consolidates the skills acquisition of the first two years:

  • 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

Course assessment

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


The programme’s professionally 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 reputation guarantees rigorous practical training, balanced with research and analytical skills.

BATH SPA LIVE

To bridge the gap between study and work as an emerging professional, the Department of Performing Arts has created an innovative project: all Year 3 students become members of a production company managed by the University's promotional arm, Bath Spa Live. Each student appears in three different productions, including a range of devised pieces, plays, TV sit-coms, radio dramas and films. Students on the Theatre Production programme provide professional production values throughout. Larger ensemble cast pieces tour to venues like Cornwall’s Minack Theatre; smaller cast pieces showcase individual students, and the year culminates in the Summer Festival Project. Emerging directors and writers produce their own work on stage, film or radio, while actors encounter a range of projects and styles of work. While guest professional practitioners lead many of the productions, the Festival provides opportunities for students to create their own companies and stage work at venues across the city as part of Bath’s Fringe Festival. As members of this graduate company, students will not only be fully equipped for a professional freelance career, but they will also have a product ready for the market upon graduation.

 

Beggar's Opera at the Old Theatre Royal, Bath

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 do many hours of private study (line learning, research, text analysis, practice, etc.) in-between sessions. You do much of your learning in class, supported by considerable research, reflection and evaluation away from class. The course requires considerable stamina and continued application. It is not easy.

For examples of our Recorded Media projects, please click here.

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.

2013/4 Undergraduate Audition Dates:

16th & 17th December 2013
10/11/13th February 2014
Please note: applications received before 30th November will be called for audition in December. All other applicants will be auditioned in February 2014. 

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 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
  • 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.

What students say...

Graduate Profile: Anne Tharby, graduated 2008 (Performing Arts)

Since graduating, I have approached the theatre industry head on – I worked for a Casting Director at the Soho Theatre and did some intern work for some agents, which broadened for knowledge and passion of this side of the industry. I am currently working as Front of House at Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London. I’ve been working there for the past three years and still really enjoying it.

I enjoyed the course at Bath Spa very much and adored the people I met. I knew from auditioning for the course, that Bath Spa was definitely for me. I’ve made lifelong friends and have very fond memories of my time at Bath Spa – the grounds are just beautiful and the perfect setting for writing essays, line-learning and rehearsals. The Performing Arts course really urged you to work together with the other years – it’s just like being a massive family.

You will get out of the course what you put into it. Always be yourself.

 

Graduation 2014 at Bath Abbey