BA (Hons) in acting
Our full time, three-year BA (Hons) in Acting provides a thorough preparation for a career in a wide variety of media including theatre, television, film and radio. This is a practical, conservatoire-level programme, and is validated by King’s College London. Please note that the programme is undergoing revalidation by King’s in 2017-18, with a revised programme (as described below) planned to start from September 2018.
Our programme trains actors to a high degree of technical facility and flexibility, and develops their individuality and imagination. Our training is classically based because we believe this provides the best foundation for acting in any form or media.
The development of individual skills in the areas of acting, voice, movement and singing provides the building blocks of our training. These are applied and developed 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.
TEACHING AND LEARNING AIMS
Our programme aims to provide a thorough training for the professional actor, with an emphasis on preparing for work in the English-speaking classical and contemporary theatre. The course 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 a 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.
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 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.
In the second year, acting technique and improvisation classes continue and 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 ensure students are equipped technically and imaginatively for the third year productions.
Screen acting training runs throughout first and second years in anticipation of third year film productions. As well as regular screen acting classes students devise their own film in order to better understand and demystify the process and to encourage students to create their own screen work in the future. Classes also explore casting, self-taping and green screen before the final year film productions.
Voice training is an integral part of our curriculum. 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), sightreading and practical voice study are all covered within the voice curriculum.
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). 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.
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. 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.
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.
All movement classes emphasise the importance of an actor moving in the context of a play or a story or situation. Movement is seen as interpretive skill, connected to the actor's physical imagination. There is as much emphasis placed on expressiveness and the ability to communicate effectively as there is on technique and alignment. Ensemble-based work introduces students to Mask Work, Chorus Work, the Fight Test and Dance in plays.
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.
By the end of the three-year training, students will be able to find the physical life of a character and apply that with ease and facility to the different demands of the industry. They will have a sound and creative pedagogy on how to work on a role and how to identify the style, world and psychological/physical life of their character through movement. Their stamina, strength, physical awareness and alignment will have improved and they will have a working knowledge of how to take care of themselves once they have left RADA.
As well as a progressive curriculum that 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 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.
PUBLIC PRODUCTIONS AND SHORT FILMS
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, which performs at RADA, in secondary schools and at an international festival. The third year programme focuses on rehearsal and performance work. Classes continue throughout 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 are staged in one of our three theatres and are directed by industry professionals, often of national or international standing. Recent guest directors at RADA include Michael Fentiman, Polly Findlay, Giles Havergal, Paul Hunter, Natalie Ibu, Iqbal Khan, Nancy Meckler, Jonathan Miller, Lindsay Posner, Paulette Randall, Eve Shapiro, Jessica Swale, Prasanna Puwanarajah and Richard Wilson. Recent productions have included works by Moira Buffini, Aphra Behn, Edward Bond, Noël Coward, Charlene James, Sarah Kane, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Arthur Miller, Jean Racine, Anya Reiss, William Shakespeare, Stephen Sondheim, Simon Stephens and Timberlake Wertenbaker.
Students also work on a number of short films during training. Films are shot on location, employ the expertise of professional directors, camera and sound operators, and have specially commissioned screenplays by writers recently including Nathaniel Martello-White, Ursula Rani Sarma and Ella Hickson. These films are screened to industry and public alike and have been selected for various film festivals including Aesthetica Short Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Raindance and Rushes.
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.
Our industry showcase (or the ‘Tree’, named after the Academy’s founder, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree) takes place in April each 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.
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