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The programme

The development of individual skills in the areas of acting, voice and movement provides the building blocks of our training. You will apply and develop these skills in a variety of projects, productions and recorded media across the three years.

Work is assessed both continuously and through specific assessment points. Extensive feedback is given through classroom feedback, written reports and one-to-one tutorials. Throughout the training, reflective practice classes help to develop resilience and a capacity for self-discovery and self-assessment.

I didn't really know what drama school was, and definitely didn't think it was somewhere for me... Now I'm having the time of my life! I am learning so much about myself and the craft of acting.

Acting training

Approach

Acting technique training, rooted in Stanislavski and some of his successors, develops an individual process and the ability to listen, receive, process and respond to fellow actors.

Scene study, project work and improvisation

Scene study and project work provide opportunities to apply the developing process using contemporary and Realist material. This work runs in parallel with improvisation classes and the whole acting training encourages playful spontaneity, imaginative responsiveness and technical facility.

This training begins in the first year and continues in the second as project work moves into the classical repertoire. The project material stretches students both imaginatively and technically and includes:

  • Greek tragedy
  • Shakespeare and other Elizabethan and Jacobean writers
  • Restoration/18th century comedy
  • Contemporary writing

These two years of training fully equip you for third year productions.

Screen acting

Screen acting training runs throughout the first and second year in anticipation of third year film productions. As well as regular screen acting classes, you will devise your own film in order to better understand and demystify the process and to encourage students to create their own screen work in the future.

Other areas of screen work explored include casting, self-taping and green screen before the final year film productions. Our Principal Partner, Warner Bros. Entertainment, supports screen training at RADA.

Voice training

Speech

Classes are separated into specialist strands, to ensure a thorough grounding in all elements of voice training and to develop the foundation skills of voice and speech, including breath, range, clarity, strength and flexibility. Text, speech systems (accent and dialect), sight-reading and practical voice study are all covered within the voice curriculum.

Singing

Singing classes (individual and group choral) focus on breath, rhythm, tune, phrasing and releasing the authentic, truthful voice in heightened forms (all of which are also applicable to speech).

Projects

Specialist voice projects include Poetry Week and Political Speeches as well as Musical Duologues, integrating the skills of voice and singing with acting and movement. Voice support and teaching continues through all project and production work as well as class work.

Microphone work

Microphone technique is developed in the second and third years and includes radio plays (often broadcast online), poetry, commercials, voice overs and voices for animation. The work culminates with the creation of individual commercial and drama voice reels in the third year for students to use on graduating.

With an unprecedented number of winners of the prestigious BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award in recent years, microphone work is seen as an integral part of the course, allowing students to stretch themselves in a different medium.

Movement training

Movement classes teach students to find the physical life of a character and apply it to the different demands of the industry. You will gain a sound and creative training in how to work on a role and how to identify the style, world and psychological/physical life of a character through movement. Your stamina, strength, physical awareness and alignment will improve and you will have a working knowledge of how to take care of yourself once you have left RADA.

Approach

Our teaching draws on a variety of sources including Arnold, Laban, Pisk and Lecoq, with an emphasis on the ensemble and play as well as thorough technical training. Actor's movement at RADA is broken down into four pathways: technical or pure movement (work on the body and how to move in space and on stage), expressive movement (work on a role), fight and dance.

Pure movement and expressive movement are taught by qualified practitioners of Trish Arnold and Lecoq's work. Dance is taught by qualified historical and social dance teachers. Fight is taught by qualified fight teachers.

Classes

All movement classes emphasise the importance of an actor moving in the context of a play, story or situation. Movement is an interpretive skill connected to the actor's physical imagination. Emphasis is on both expressiveness and the ability to communicate effectively, and on technique and alignment. Ensemble-based work introduces mask work, chorus work, the fight test and dance in plays.

Productions

Preparing for public performance

A combination of theatre and short film work ensures a balance of professional practice. Public performances begin from the end of second year with the Shakespeare Schools Tour, peformed at RADA, in secondary schools and at international festivals.

The third year programme focuses on rehearsal and performance work. Classes continue throughout the third year to ensure the integration of the skills learned in the first and second years, and to develop those skills with the additional experience of public performance.

Theatre productions

Theatre productions are staged in one of our three theatres and are directed by industry professionals, often of national or international standing.

Recent guest directors:

Femi Elufowoju, jr
Michael Fentiman
Polly Findlay
Robert Hastie
Giles Havergal
Paul Hunter
Natalie Ibu
Iqbal Khan
Nancy Meckler
Jonathan Miller
Deborah Paige
Lindsay Posner
Paulette Randall
Eve Shapiro
Bijan Sheibani
Jessica Swale
Prasanna Puwanarajah
Richard Wilson

Recent productions of works by:

Moira Buffini
Aphra Behn
Edward Bond
Caryl Churchill
Charlene James
Sarah Kane
Kwame Kwei-Armah
Federico García Lorca
Arthur Miller
Jean Racine
Anya Reiss
William Shakespeare
Stephen Sondheim
Simon Stephens
John Tiffany
Timberlake Wertenbaker


Film productions

Students work on a number of short films during training. Films are shot on location and employ the expertise of professional directors, camera and sound operators. Screenplays are specially commissioned, recently from writers including Nathaniel Martello-White, Ursula Rani Sarma, Lily Bevan and Ella Hickson. The films are screened to industry and as part of the RADA Festival, and have been selected for international film festivals including Aesthetica Short Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Raindance and Rushes.

Industry showcase

Our industry showcase takes place in April of the third year. Students rehearse and perform scenes and/or speeches for an invited audience of agents, casting directors and industry professionals. RADA’s short films are screened and made available for agents and casting directors.

I can't even imagine having had a career without RADA. It is inseparable from who I am as an actress
Juliet Stevenson CBE

Ongoing development

Mentoring

In the third year students benefit from the RADA Buddy mentoring scheme. This programme supports the transition from student to professional actor with graduate ‘buddies’ providing professional advice, feedback and networking opportunities throughout the final year and beyond.

Professional development

Our progressive curriculum assists the students’ understanding and development of professional practice, and the skills to maintain a life as a professional actor. Professional development sessions and workshops also introduce the students to guest speakers who will stimulate, provoke and broaden their understanding of the profession.

Directors, actors, writers, international artists and performers provide professional insights from their own experiences and allow opportunities for students to develop links to the profession throughout the training.

Employment

The BA (Hons) in Acting is a vocational actor training programme. Our graduates work in theatre, film, radio and television, as actors, directors, producers and artistic directors of our leading theatres.

Teaching and learning

The programme aims to provide thorough training for the professional actor, with an emphasis on preparing for work in the English-speaking classical and contemporary theatre. The programme includes training for employment in all media that a modern performer may encounter. The RADA three-year degree in acting has the following particular aims:

  1. To provide student actors of exceptional talent with vocal, physical, emotional and imaginative training that will allow them to attain their full potential.
  2. To provide the entertainment industries with actors skilled and confident in all storytelling media, be they live theatre or recorded drama.
  3. To stimulate in students an awareness of their potential for growth, and for the need to continue the learning process throughout their lives.
  4. To create and sustain within the Academy a spirit of enquiry and discovery, to nurture and develop the potential of both students and tutors.
  5. To generate in as wide a spectrum of students as possible, a life-long commitment to the development of creative skills, to enrich both their own lives and those of their audiences.
  6. To enhance the quality of the dramatic arts, both nationally and internationally.

Assessment

The BA (Hons) in Acting is an unclassified degree; you will receive an honours degree but without classifications like 2:1 or first class. All assessment is based on practical work. You will be assessed regularly throughout your training on progress in each of the subjects you learn. You will also be assessed during projects and productions, working towards a series of public productions in the third year. We are looking for your ability to bring together all aspects of learning, and to embody it within your work as an actor. You will receive regular feedback through tutorials, class notes and written feedback on assessments. We do not automatically share marks with students, but these are available if you would like to see them.

Timetable

There are three terms of 12 teaching weeks each year beginning in September and finishing in July. The programme is highly intensive and can involve evening and Saturday work.

Our job is to help students to work with honesty, generosity and openness and awaken their imaginations to something ‘other’. It is a thrilling journey, and fair to say, that we learn as much from them as they do from us.
Annie Tyson, Acting Tutor

Entry requirements

Candidates must:

  • have complete fluency in the English language
  • be 18 years old by 1 September 2018
  • demonstrate an intellectual, creative and practical ability to undertake degree level training

You may also be interested in

Foundation Course in Acting

Our Foundation Course in Acting is a six-month programme that provides rigorous training in the foundations of acting that will give you an insight into life at a conservatoire drama school. Application is via the same route at the BA (Hons) in Acting.

Find out more

Resources and support

Our theatres

Our three theatres give you the opportunity to work in industry-standard spaces: the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, a fully flexible theatre with 190 seats; the GBS Theatre, a studio theatre seating up to 80; and the Gielgud Theatre, an intimate studio space seating up to 50.

Library

An important resource for students, with a large collection of rare and out-of-print plays in the English language. Membership also gives access to the following digital resources: Drama Online, Cambridge Journals, Theatre in Video, Digital Theatre Plus and RADA Accents Archive.

Wellbeing and counselling

We have a drop-in and appointment-based service for advice, a chat or a more formal assessment. Counselling support is available throughout the training and for any personal problems. There are also talks on sexual health, nutrition, drugs and alcohol.

Healthcare, injury prevention and response

We have a relationship with a GP practice, access to specialist medical support and osteopathy.

Disabled students’ support

We ensure Learning Agreements are in place, and provide access to dyslexia, dyspraxia and other learning support needs; access to specific support for students with other impairments; and support in applying for Disabled Students' Allowance.

Fees and funding

UK/EU students

Tuition fees for UK/EU students applying for the BA (Hons) in Acting will be £9,250* per year (*subject to formal parliamentary approval and further increase in subsequent years in line with government policy).

We welcome applications from students who already hold a degree and have a number of places at the UK/EU rate for such students. Second degree students are not eligible for government-sponsored loans or grants. They are eligible for RADA Scholarship support (see below for more information).

Fees are set by the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD). The Conservatoire is a publicly-funded institution. This means that UK and EU students are eligible for government-sponsored loans and grants as well as financial aid provided by the Conservatoire and schools. Applications are direct to the school, not through UCAS, and this does not affect the ability to obtain financial support.

Non-EU students

Non-EU international students are required to pay the full cost of their fees and living costs and are made an offer on the basis of paying privately. However, all funding issues are discussed individually with each student once an offer has been made. Fees for 2018-19 will be £18,640.

Costs not included in the fees

Students should allow approximately £300 for practice clothes and books over the three years.

Student loans

UK/EU students new to higher education can apply to Student Finance England/Wales/NI, or Student Awards Agency Scotland for a loan to cover their fees and be assessed for a maintenance grant depending on their personal or family income. Students who already have a degree are not eligible for maintenance loans and will need funding from other sources to pay for their living expenses. Graduates may be eligible to apply for a Career Development Loan which is available to all UK/EU students except those on the RADA Foundation Course in Acting. For more alternative sources of funding visit the CDD website.

Fees are set by the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD). The Conservatoire is a publicly-funded institution. This means that UK and EU students are eligible for government-sponsored loans and grants as well as financial aid provided by the Conservatoire and schools. Applications are direct to the school, not through UCAS, and this does not affect the ability to obtain financial support.

Information about the fees for UK/EU students and the financial support available through the Conservatoire's Scholarship Scheme and through government grants and loans can be found on the Conservatoire's website.

Scholarships

All RADA undergraduate students who are new to higher education are immediately eligible for financial support through the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama’s scholarship scheme. RADA aims to 'top up' these scholarships, which are based on income assessments for people with a family income of under £42,875. Amounts may vary; for the last two years, the amount offered to each eligible student has been a minimum of £3,000 per year (inclusive of the CDD support).

We have a small number of scholarships available for UK/EU students who have a prior degree qualification. These can cover fees and, in some cases, living costs. Our priority is supporting students on undergraduate degrees (BA Acting, FdA/BA Technical Theatre and Stage Management), although we will consider applications from students on the MA Theatre Lab and the PgDip Theatre Costume in exceptional circumstances. Please note, we do not usually offer scholarships to students from outside the UK or EU.

Students are invited to apply for scholarship support once the offer of a place is made.

Home student status

There are strict regulations regarding residency which must be met in order to qualify for Home Student status. All EU students who are offered a place at RADA are required to verify their EU status prior to the offer of the place being confirmed. Please contact the Student Finance Services European Team on: EU_Team@slc.co.uk or +44 (0)141 243 3570.

Fees policy

Please read our fees policy.

How to apply

There is an intake of up to 28 students in September each year. We audition all eligible applicants who apply before the deadline.

You may only apply once per academic year, but you may apply for our Foundation Course in Acting at the same time and using the same form as our BA (Hons) in Acting. Preliminary auditions run from November until April, with the option to audition in London, Leicester, Manchester, Chester, Newcastle, Bristol and Plymouth as well as overseas in Dublin, New York and Los Angeles.

We audition everyone who applies and we are committed to making our training as widely accessible as possible. Every year, over 50% of our students on core courses receive financial support, ranging from fee waivers, contributions towards maintenance costs (accommodation, travel and course materials) and full scholarships.

Application fee, fee waivers and travel bursaries

Application fees


We charge an application fee for all courses. Our admissions process is not automated and may involve significant contact with an individual applicant. We do not refund application fees.

Application fee waivers


We offer application fee waivers for UK students who are coming to higher education for the first time, with a family income of less than £25,000. These students may also be eligible for financial support with travelling to later-stage auditions or interviews.

You will need to submit a fee waiver application at the same time as your course application to be considered. This is based on your household income, and we will ask you to provide evidence of that income.

This is in addition to fee waivers offered by the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, which you may use at RADA or at another CDD school. Details can be found on the CDD website. RADA fee waivers are only available for applicants applying to RADA.

Travel bursaries


All UK/EU students new to higher education who meet one of the following criteria may be considered for a travel bursary at third or fourth round of the BA (Hons) Acting auditions, or an interview for our Theatre Production programmes. The criteria are:

You attended a state school; and one or more of the following:

  • Your family income is less than £43,000 and your home address is in a neighbourhood with low participation (in accordance with the HEFCE Polar4 Postcode Check)
  • Your family income is below £25,000
  • You will be considered to be a care leaver when you begin your training


Please make sure that you have indicated your family income in the box on the application form to be considered. We will require evidence of need. We do not set a specific amount paid for travel bursaries as it will depend on the distance travelled and mode of transport. We will only pay travel bursaries for travel within the UK.

Terms and conditions

Admissions procedure

Auditions take place between November and June, and are between 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday, with occasional Saturdays and evenings.

Our audition process is rigorous, spanning several months, and you may be called to attend at short notice. Owing to the number of candidates we audition, we do not routinely provide feedback.

If you are auditioning outside of London please be prepared to attend subsequent recalls and workshops in London if required. A list of audition guidance notes will be sent to all applicants.

Fee waivers and travel bursaries are available dependent upon circumstances.

Auditions

The four audition stages

  • Preliminary audition - November to April
  • Recall audition - December to May
  • Short workshop (three hour session)
  • Workshop day

Preliminary audition

Preliminary auditions run continually between November and April. You will be seen at preliminary auditions by two members of the audition panel.

What to prepare

The preliminary audition usually consists of two, but sometimes three, audition speeches. Each speech should last about 2 minutes, and certainly no longer than 3 minutes. The panel may stop you if your speech is longer than 3 minutes.

Piece A - Classical
The classical piece should be from Shakespeare or an Elizabethan/Jacobean playwright (Jonson, Marlowe, Webster, etc.). It should be originally written in English - so do not choose a piece from a Greek tragedy or a Molière comedy, for example.

Piece B - Contemporary
The contemporary piece should provide a clear contrast to the classical piece and be written after 1960. Do not use Chekhov or Shaw for this piece.

Piece C - Alternative Classical
You must have an alternative classical piece prepared (same rules as Piece A), which you may or may not be asked to perform.

Recall audition

Speeches presented at the preliminary audition are repeated at the recall audition, unless you have been recommended to prepare a new audition piece. You are also required to sing a prepared unaccompanied song.

Short workshop

A three hour workshop. Bring both classical speeches (Piece A and Piece C) and the contemporary speech (Piece B) from earlier rounds and prepare an alternative contemporary speech (Piece D, same rules as Piece B).

Workshop day

This is the final stage and you will need to prepare a new audition speech of your choice. It can be from any era, Greek to contemporary. If you have not used Piece C or D in previous rounds you may choose one of them.

Regional/overseas auditions

You can attend auditions in Leicester, Manchester, Chester, Newcastle, Plymouth and Bristol as well as overseas in Dublin, New York and Los Angeles. This can be indicated on the application form.

Candidates opting for regional/overseas auditions should ensure that they are available for a recall on the same day if required. Recalled candidates will also be requested to attend a workshop in London at a later date.

Admissions procedure: more detail

Find more details about what to prepare for each stage of the audition process in our admissions procedure document.

Information for disabled applicants

We consider diversity to be enriching and a vital part of what makes us one of the world leaders in providing vocational training. We encourage the opportunity for self-development regardless of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, marital status, nationality, sexual orientation, parental status, religion or belief.

We welcome applications from disabled applicants and encourage them to disclose relevant information regarding any disability when completing their application form, to enable us to provide additional support during the interview process. There is more information for disabled applicants on the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama website.

Admissions policy

If you would like to know more about RADA’s Admissions Policy for higher education courses, please download and read our Admission Policy.

Admissions, appeals and complaints

For information about RADA’s Admissions, Appeals and Complaints for higher education courses, please download and read our Admissions Appeals and Complaints document. Please note that this process covers the following courses only:

  • BA (Hons) in Acting
  • FdA Technical Theatre and Stage Management
  • BA (Hons) Technical Theatre and Stage Management (completion)
  • PgDip Theatre Costume
  • MA Theatre Lab
  • Foundation Course in Acting

FAQs

    I am under 18, can I apply to RADA?

    Candidates must be at least 18 by 1 September 2018 to apply for the BA (Hons) in Acting. We do offer opportunities for young people under 18. These include the RADA Youth Company, Young Actors' Workshops, Summer Schools and Shakespeare Awards.

    Is there an upper age limit to apply to RADA?

    There is no upper age limit and all candidates who apply are offered an audition.

    What qualifications do I need?

    Application is by audition only; no formal qualifications are required.

    Does RADA hold open days for the BA (Hons) in Acting programme?

    No, although if you audition outside of London and reach the final stages of the audition process (third and fourth rounds), you will be required to come to RADA.

    Do I apply through UCAS?

    RADA does not use the UCAS service for applications and we have an independent audition process. You can download our application form from our website.

    When is the deadline for application and when do the auditions take place?

    The deadlines and audition dates vary according to each venue. First round auditions will take place from November 2017 to April 2018.

    Does RADA hold auditions outside of London?

    Yes. RADA holds regional auditions in Leicester, Manchester, Chester, Newcastle, Plymouth and Bristol as well as overseas in Dublin, New York and Los Angeles. Audition dates are on the application form.

    What are the audition requirements?

    Please refer to the Auditions section above.

    Do I need to be able to sing to get into RADA?

    No. You should be prepared to sing at a recall audition and our panel will assess your ability to project your voice and vocal range.

    How many students are accepted each year?

    RADA accepts 14 men and 14 women onto the BA (Hons) in Acting programme each year.

    After I’ve sent in my application, how long will it take to hear back from you?

    We aim to contact you with an audition date within two weeks. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of sending your application please contact admissions@rada.ac.uk.

    What if I cannot afford the application fee?

    RADA has application fee waivers available for applicants from lower-income families. For more information, please refer to the Fees and Funding section above. The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama also offer a number of fee waivers across the Conservatoire schools. Places are offered on a first-come-first-served basis and interested applicants must meet specific criteria. Please check the CDD website for further details. RADA can also offer travel bursaries to applicants. Further information is available on our Fees and Funding pages.

    If I do not attend my audition will my application fee be refunded?

    The application fee is not refundable under any circumstances.

    What if I am ill on the day of my audition?

    If you are ill on the day, please email admissions@rada.ac.uk. While we will try to provide an alternative date, this may not be possible and is dependent on where we are in the audition cycle.

    Does RADA offer audition feedback?

    RADA is unable to provide audition feedback at all stages of the process due to the large number of applicants.

    RADA encourages candidates to get as much experience of acting in front of an audience as they can. It is also useful to see as much theatre as you can and to continue to read plays to familiarise yourself with as wide a range of dramatic literature as possible.

    Can I defer entry?

    No. You should apply for a place in the year before the September you wish to begin your training.

    How do I pay for the tuition fees?

    If you are from the UK/EU and are new to higher education, you may be eligible to apply for a tuition fee loan through the Student Loans Company.

    Students who have a prior higher education qualification, or are from a non-UK/EU country, will need to pay their fees themselves.

    How long do I need to have lived in the UK/EU to qualify for UK/EU tuition rates?

    You should have lived in the UK/EU for three consecutive years prior to starting the course in order to qualify for UK/EU level tuition fees.

    If, for example, you were born in the UK but then moved to Australia for 20 years, you would be liable to pay the international rate.