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BA (Hons) Acting and Performance-Making

Train with theatre company The Actors Wheel as a creative and entrepreneurial performer, gaining experience in performing in a wide range of venues and contexts.

BA Acting students perform A Clockwork Orange

Performance opportunities

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Full-time Part-time

Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC or above

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above

Or Access 23-45 D/M with min 6D

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above

Applicants with other qualifications are welcome to apply

Audition required

UCAS points 96

UCAS code W410

UCAS institution code P63

Duration 3 years full time

Course Summary

Taught by academics and theatre professionals actively researching and making work in the industry, this programme will help to connect you with theatre companies and cultural organisations in the city of Plymouth and beyond, both nationally and internationally. It will prepare you for your future career through focused training not only in performing and in critical thinking, but also in self-producing, self-marketing and entrepreneurship, teaching you how to set up a company, apply for acting jobs, and organise a tour. 

Through practical training and seminar discussions, this course will develop your acting and performance-making skills and your theoretical understanding, and encourage you to think deeply about theatre, culture,and society. In each year you will build specialisms, for example in physical theatre and naturalism in year one, in experimental practice and acting for media in year two, and in community theatre and international tour preparation in year three. You will take part in three major productions as well as smaller shows, one each year, performing to diverse audiences as well as invited industry contacts. As well as working within the vibrant Marjon Arts Centre in the Quad Theatre, our 300-seat theatre, and the Tempest, our black box studio, you will be given opportunity to work and train in a variety of leading and fringe theatre venues across the UK and internationally, with local links combined with international expertise to guide your journey into further study and/or industry. 

The black box performance theatre is a large and versatile 300-seat space. Some acting students are rehearsing while other students look on. It is used for a variety of events and performances.

Why this course at Marjon?

Opportunity for local, national, and international touring across all 3 years of study

Strong alumni network of working acting professionals

Work, study, and perform in a 300-seat theatre and black box studio within the vibrant Marjon Arts Centre

Train in our state of the art radio and TV studios on site at BBC Broadcasting House in Plymouth

Industry-focused modules with collaboration opportunities, including working in collaboration with established companies within the locality - as well as further afield.

Create an original work ready to tour, a business plan and marketing materials including headshots, and show and voice reels

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

The first year was a great introduction to the basics of acting. We learnt about the origins of theatre, Shakespeare and storytelling. We also worked with other students to make short films so we could understand the difference between acting for camera and stage. In our second year we looked at more forms of theatre and went out into the community to do performances to make an impact in the local world. As well as a dissertation, third year is about building a portfolio and learning how to succeed in the industry after graduation.
Thomas - Second year, BA (Hons) Acting

1st Year

Theory & practice 1
This module lays the foundation for thinking about acting, providing the tools to communicate your ideas clearly, concisely and creatively whilst considering how the ideas of key practitioners might be used to influence or shape performance practice.
Craft & discipline
Begin to develop your actor’s tool kit, with a foundation in core rehearsal techniques and skills in voice, movement, acting and improvisation that you can utilise and develop throughout the course and your career.
Global theatre perspectives
Explore contemporary and historical theatre practices from around the globe through practical performance.
Practical training in script analysis, researching the world of the play, exploring subtext and character development, using the methods of Stanislavski to bring late nineteenth century plays to life.
Acting for media
Develop acting techniques for a range of media production contexts such as radio, voice overs, television, and film through working on a range of projects both on location and at our state of the art radio and TV studios on site at BBC Broadcasting House in Plymouth.
Classical performance
Practical training in original and contemporary staging practices, verse speaking and direct audience address leading to a public performance.

2nd Year

Popular forms
A practical study of key popular theatre forms including forms such as Musical Theatre, Pantomime, Music Hall/Variety, Slapstick, Puppetry and Clowning leading to a performance.
Theatre for social change
Develop and apply facilitation skills, leading workshops and theatre for social change projects with groups in community or educational settings.
The actor as theatre maker
Explore a range of improvisation, devising, and creative processes within acting and directing leading to the creation and performance of an original piece of theatre.
Theory & practice 2
This module provides the opportunity to choose an area of interest within the performing arts industry and develop this specialism, with supervision, for your own personal career development
20th century text and performance
Practically explore twentieth century practitioners and scripts, developing work under direction.

3rd Year

The freelance artist
Gain the creative business skills and industry knowledge necessary to build your career as a working actor. Develop your brand, networking, audition, financial, and marketing skills. The module concludes with the creation of a portfolio of all the materials including cv, headshots, audition material, voice and show reels, to launch your career.
New writing in performance
Explore how actors contribute to the development and staging of new writing in the twenty first century, including working with directors and playwrights on new plays in development.
Festival performance
Working within standard industry guidelines for festival performances create a self-directed small-scale show. Take responsibility for every aspect of the performance from development through to marketing and liaising with technicians. The module concludes with a public performance festival.
Directed production
Rehearse a performance under the guidance of a professional guest director.

This course is perfect if you’re curious about

How do I make a career out of acting?

Is film acting and theatre acting as different as people think?

What do we mean by being truthful in performance?

How is casting changing in the 21st century?

Why do we need another production of Romeo and Juliet?

How do you get an agent?

What might you become?

Our graduates go on to work as actors in theatre, film and TV, a range of theatre industry roles including technical roles, playwrighting, front of house management, directing and running their own theatre companies.

Students also develop the thinking and critical skills needed to go on to postgraduate study such as qualifying to teach drama in schools.

Acting students performing on stage

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

Every lecturer is a practicing professional in their field ensuring they are up to date with current industry practice, we also draw on an extensive network of visiting industry professionals and directors.

Students are taught through reflective praxis, which is a process of learning through doing and reflecting. This includes practical skills training, practical classes exploring acting for different theatre and media forms, rehearsal and performance, reflection and engaging with current industry debates.

Students are taught through weekly classes alternated with blocks of intense daily rehearsals for productions.

How will you be assessed?

Students are assessed through practical work. This is supported by research and reflection which is assessed by presentations, written work such as essays and blogs, and discussion, to ensure students develop the necessary communication skills for the industry. There are no written exams.

Ellie Chadwick

Dr Eleanor Chadwick

Course leader

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Ellie is a theatre practitioner and researcher with international experience. As a resident artist at the Watershed Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol with her company Sleight of Hand, Ellie directs and produces experimental theatre practice using immersive technologies and community-engaged approaches. She has previously worked for the University of Bristol, the University of Warwick, and Shanghai Theatre Academy. In addition to teaching at Marjon, Ellie continues to work for a variety of companies and venues as a freelance theatre director in London, the South West, and further afield.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £12,500 per annum

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

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Kate Massey-Chase


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Kate is an experienced Performing Arts teacher. She is passionate about social justice and the use of drama and theatre for social and political purposes, and as a platform for individual or social change. She is currently researching the use of theatre in mental health contexts.

Dr Natalie Raven

Associate Lecturer

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Dr Natalie Raven is a scholar and performance artist, with over 12 years professional experience in industry presenting and exhibiting her work across the UK, Europe, and North America.

Natalie has research interests in: performer training; feminist performance (1960 - present); body-based practice; queer performance; semiotic and phenomenological approaches to performance making; representations of self and identity in performance. Expressions of interest for postgraduate supervision in these areas are welcomed.

Dr Sharon Smith

Senior Lecturer

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Sharon's interests are ‘performance presence’ and the practice of improvisation. She is a member of the Berlin based performance collective Gob Squad, who devise and tour a wide range of collective, collaborative performance work.

Karma Tucker


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Karma directs musical theatre productions and teaches across a range of modules including Acting Through Song, Dance, Ensemble, Singing. 

More information

Training Company Model

By studying with us students automatically become a company member, as well as a student on the programme. We intentionally keep numbers small in order to enable our person centred approach to training, each student benefits from regular one to one tutorials in order to ensure their progression is tailored to the individual.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

In addition to the structured course elements there will be numerous additional opportunities to develop your practice and CV which are actively encouraged.

  • Workshops from visiting professionals and companies.
  • Castings and auditions for film, radio and theatre roles.
  • Theatre visits and film screenings.
  • Being part of a buzzing creative community based at Marjon Arts Centre.

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