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 portflio 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.
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.
Just this year, students have been working 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 are also working 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.
Recent Third Year Projects
MOONFLEECE by Philip Ridley, performed by third year students at the University Theatre, Bath Spa University, November, 2014.
Image credit: Philip Ridley
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.
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.
To access the BA Acting Recorded Media Projects Archive, please click here.
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.
- Devising theatre
- Writing for performance
- Film Making
- The Actor/Creator
- Text: Comedy and American Drama
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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
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
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.
2014 - 2015 Undergraduate Audition Dates:
International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.
For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
- Artistic Directors
- 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:
- Following two successful theatre engagements a 2013 graduate has appeared in the BBC’s Atlantis.
- Along with establishing her own TIE company a 2013 graduate is also working on Strictly Come Dancing.
- A 2014 graduate has been cast as Malcom in Macbeth for a three month national tour.
- A 2014 graduate has made a pilot for Welsh TV and is hoping that it will be commissioned.
- Two 2014 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.
- A 2013 graduate has recently set up a theatre company specifically focused on the elderly.
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.”