Postgraduate Course

MA Acting

MA Acting


The details
October 2020
1 year
East15 (Loughton) Campus

MA Acting is a challenging course that gives you a personal methodology based upon East 15’s unique practices.

On one level it is a thoroughly practical, highly intensive, vocational course. On another level, it is a thought-provoking, life-changing reflection on the function and art of the actor – exploring techniques from some of Europe’s most influential practitioners as well as innovative professional practice from the UK and internationally.

MA Acting is a specialist course of one academic year with additional work on marketing students to the industry in a showcase. You will need discipline and motivation to work at an advanced level. Beyond these the requirements are abundant energy, insatiable curiosity and a robust sense of humour.

Some students may already possess a university degree (not necessarily in a related discipline) whilst others will have established themselves in other career paths and now seek to change the direction of their lives towards that of a professional actor.

This course also attracts professional actors who feel the need to reflect on their practice, extend their range, refresh their creativity, increase their professional contacts and gain academic recognition for their skills.

Why we're great.
  • Industry-ready intensive actor training by leading practitioners.
  • West End industry showcase.
  • Focus on Stanislavsky and Laban techniques.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Your future

On completion of the MA Acting programme, you are qualified as an actor and recognised as a graduate of an East 15 training. You are equipped to pursue acting careers in theatre, film, TV and radio. You also have an understanding of how to create your own work, including how to form companies and gain funding, as well as a variety of methodologies for developing your own artistic practice.

You are encouraged to remain in touch with the school, to watch the development of succeeding students and to benefit from informal support and mentoring as you continue in your career.

“When I was auditioning at drama schools East 15 seemed to offer the most personal actor training, where they focus on you as an individual rather than trying to make you fit some mould. I can happily say the course has fully lived up to this, and I know that when I leave here I will be an actor who is not only ready to enter the industry, but be a part of shaping it too.”

Jennie Rawling, MA Acting

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Our applicants need to undertake a successful audition or video audition, plus have a first degree with an overall 2.1, or equivalent or suitable life and/or professional expertise.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.


Example structure

We offer dynamic and unique course for actors, directors, technical theatre specialists and students of theatre practice. Training at East 15 draws upon 50 years of tradition combined with a keen sense of the world of stage and screen today.

Our carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore and develop your specialist training.

Advanced Research Living History Project, Devising Project and Acting for Camera

In this core MA/ Postgraduate Diploma Acting class you are required to assess dispassionately and objectively how you appear and what messages your physicality and vocal patterns communicate to audiences. Improvisation tools and exercises to encourage spontaneity and creativity will open your mind as the technical work opens the body.

View Advanced Research Living History Project, Devising Project and Acting for Camera on our Module Directory

Studio Theatre Production

This module focuses on public performance of full-length plays. Under the guidance of the year tutor, you will be expected to initiate everything from cast warm-up, care of costume to make-up. You manage the process of theatre production from start to finish, from research, rehearsals and screenings.

View Studio Theatre Production on our Module Directory


You will explore the nature of accents and dialects; the relationship between posture, breath and voice; and the potential of the voice, emotional expression and vocal characterisation. You also study Shakespearean speeches and sonnets and consider the use of expressive language, sound and rhythms.

View Voice on our Module Directory


You focus on the exploration of the body in space in term one. In term two you investigate deepening movement vocabulary and potential, and expanding individual range of physical choices for characterisation in a variety of theatrical styles. Various techniques are learned including animal study.

View Movement on our Module Directory

Music and Singing

The aim of this module is to develop your ability to memorise and sing in parts, while also using the singing voice with a degree of technical assurance. By the third term the students are regarded as actors who can communicate through song, and are ready to prepare for audition.

View Music and Singing on our Module Directory

Contextual Studies

You are introduced to theories of character creation in contemporary theatre practice within a historical context in this module. This work reinforces the importance of research and to establish effective research techniques at postgraduate level.

View Contextual Studies on our Module Directory


First term

In the first term, there are classes in movement, voice and singing, as well as contextual studies. The entire programme of teaching across the course coheres to lead the actor from an exploration of personal self to that of the body in time and space and from there to the creation of character and the realisation of text.

Acting classes promote the development of intuitive, creative responses which are then framed by the introduction of techniques to build character and play actions. Showings of short naturalistic scenes give opportunity to integrate and apply technical voice and movement work in the context of an acting exercise.

Second term

In the second term, skills classes continue. The acting work begins with an intensive Shakespeare module which develops and strengthens the integration of technical skills with acting technique. This is followed by the Research Performance Project in which you engage with specific time in history and experience East 15’s distinctive Living History Project.

This signature project is a non-performed improvisation in which the actor can, through rigorous ‘actor-centric’ research and a residential period away from the campus environment, experience and identify with the practical and visceral realities, as well as the psychological and emotional attributes of the character.

Subsequent to this you devise a studio performance based on your intellectual, emotional and sensory experience. You are also given responsibilities in stage management and production to enhance your overall understanding of what it is to make theatre and to prepare you for the realities of the industry.

Towards the end of term two participants begin to research and develop their MA project.

Third term

The first part of Term Three focuses on media. The film project teaches skills of acting for the camera and provides material for the actor’s show reel. The radio drama project teaches radio skills and microphone technique and provides material usable in a voice reel. At the same time, you begin work on your MA Projects. The MA Projects involve working in small groups on self-generated projects, in which participants are given independence and autonomy as company members. These are performed in East 15’s Corbett Theatre or in other venues as appropriate.

The second half of term 3 sees a full production of a text-based play usually in our on-campus Corbett Theatre.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee


Additional costs for materials and field trips of up to approximately £800. Equipment lists are reviewed annually.

International fee


Additional costs for materials and field trips of up to approximately £800. Equipment lists are reviewed annually.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next


When you apply for one of our postgraduate courses, we will assess you on your experience (both academic and practical) and your potential for success. You will need to undertake an audition that has an element of physical activity as part of your assessment.

You need to complete and send us a completed East 15 application form, two confidential references and a copy of your audition payment receipt so that we can arrange your audition.

Applications for 2019 entry will open at the end of October – please check the East 15 website at that time for further information.


Auditions generally take place at our Loughton Campus between December and June. You’ll need to prepare two pieces of around two minutes each; one Shakespearean or Jacobean, and one contemporary.

If you live outside the UK, we audition internationally in different countries each year, or you may submit an audition via YouTube or Vimeo if you cannot attend an audition.

For full details, please see the East 15 website.

Loughton Campus

Visit Loughton Campus

You’ll be in intensive training at one of the most prestigious and internationally respected conservatoires in the country, gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in the performing arts. But fear not! It’s not all work and no play at East 15 Acting School in Loughton.

Open Days

We don’t currently offer Open Days for this course but if you would like more information, then please email us at


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

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