Acting - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Not available through UCAS − apply direct to the School.
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years)
Starting:
September 2016
Campus:

Course now closed for applications in 2016

This course is now closed for September 2016. You may wish to look at some of our other acting courses. The next intake for this course will be September 2017. Applications will open soon. 

Learn how to become an actor here at the Birmingham School of Acting. Our BA in Acting is designed to advance your practical, personal and professional progress.

Accredited by Drama UK, this contemporary course will prepare you for an exciting, creative career in front of a live, screen or radio audience. You will receive specialist training in voice, movement and singing, graduating with the skill and aptitude to take on the exciting and dynamic world of the dramatic arts.

What's covered in the course?

Study within a vibrant and dynamic environment, alongside your passionate and energetic peers. With a proactive, hands-on attitude you shall train vigorously to achieve a high-standard of skill that is expected of the contemporary actor.

This three-year course will train you to become an actor. Throughout the course you will make a showreel, perform showcases to industry and perform in external theatres. Graduates of this course have gone on to craft successful and inspiring careers, such as Tom Lister – best known for his role as Carl King in Emmerdale and Helen George, who played Trixie Franklin in Call the Midwife.

We aim to transform you into an independently-minded performer and practitioner with a diverse skills base. Creating opportunities for yourself through a forward-thinking attitude, you will engage with the course both intellectually and creatively.  We strive to help you fully realise your creative gifts and talent. Encouraging you to create a well-informed working process that is supported by practice, theory and reflection. 

Your classes will mainly be studio-based sessions, focusing on the practical application of acting, voice, movement and singing. For some modules you will have timetabled rehearsal time, where you will work in groups to produce material.

Your studies will help to influence and shape your career; previous graduates have been commended by industry for their innovative and challenging project work. You will be thrown into the deep-end of a full-time training. The course is demanding and energetic,  allowing  you to explore your potential in a fun, exciting but challenging environment;  applying your passion and paving the way for an exciting and successful career.

Why Choose Us?

  • Our industry connections stem from internal and external sources. Birmingham School of Acting staff have vast, and notable experience, both in the UK and internationally. Staff have worked with well-known individuals, projects and companies such as the BBC, the RSC, West End stars, British repertory and festival theatres and much more.
  • Here at the Birmingham School of Acting we are proud to be a part of Birmingham City University, where, as a student you are not only part of a Drama School but also an accredited University.
  • We are part of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media (ADM) and the biggest producer of creative professionals outside the South East.
  • You will be taught by professional staff, with extensive knowledge, expertise and experience within the acting field. Our team is made up of visiting tutors, and in-house lecturers, all of which have and continue to work in industry.
  • Graduates of the BA (Hons) Acting course have successful careers as actors. They are working with programmes such as Peaky Blinders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, EastEnders, WPC53, Call the Midwife, Holby City, The Royal, and Shameless. As well as TV, they are performing at prestigious venues such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the National Theatre and many more exciting destinations!
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 11 June 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 11 June 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Acting

Discover the Birmingham School of Acting

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Creative Arts Management
  • Young Shakespeare Company

And in jobs such as:

  • Professional Actor/Actress

This course is accredited by:

Creative Skillset Tick
Drama UK

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

Admission is by audition; in addition we require 160 points from A-levels or equivalent.

Individual offers are made regarding grades in order to secure a place on the course.

Normally 32 students are enrolled onto the course each year.

Application process also involves an audition

New UCAS tariff

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £9,000 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £15,500 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

How to apply

Course now closed for applications in 2016

This course is now closed for September 2016. You may wish to look at some of our other acting courses. The next intake for this course will be September 2017. Applications will open soon. 

Please download and read our Guidance on How to Apply before making your application.

Initial and Recall Audition Schedule 2016

Guidance on the application form

Guidance on How to Prepare for an Initial Audition (Male)

Guidance on How to Prepare for an Initial Audition (Female)

If you are successful in your initial audition, you will be offered a recall audition. 

Guidance on How to Prepare for a Recall Audition

If you are applying from outside the UK/EU and are not able to attend an audition in the UK, you may wish to submit an online audition.

Should you experience any problems please send an email to BSA Admissions, stating your name and date of application.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

Your first year of study will focus on the development of skill, and you will be assessed through acting, voice, movement and singing. Within the Acting, Voice, Physical Skills and Singing modules you will learn the basic skills and knowledge expected of a contemporary actor. Your first year is very much a technical year. These seemingly separate skills are in truth all linked together, and ultimately will facilitate a seamless integration into acting.

In the Project module you will work towards a presentation of work to an audience of your tutors and peers. You will also learn to research and explore theatre history and context, developing your critical and analytical skills in the module Acting Theory module, alongside Stanislvaksi system of text analysis.

Acting 1
15 credits

The acting module is designed to help you form the basic knowledge and skills required of an actor. This practice-based module will allow you to explore and develop yourself as a professional actor, with the support and guidance of our expert team of staff.

Acting theory
15 credits

The Acting Theory module covers a range of theoretical concepts, including theatre history, critical and analytical skills. In addition to this you will explore the performing using the basic principles of the Stanislavski System.

Project
30 credits

Within the project module you will apply the rehearsal techniques you have accumulated through the technical, skills-based modules. You will be taught through project work which culminates in internal performances. You will be expected to demonstrate your ability to apply your technical skills to professional practice.

Physical skills 1
15 credits

This module is designed to encourage the development of your skills in relation to movement. You will explore the basic foundations and principles of utilising physical skills within performance. You will be encouraged to apply the knowledge you learn within this module to the other technical skills you will develop.

Singing 1
15 credits

Your first year singing module will provide you with the foundations of technical performance and skill that are relative to singing. You will be taught specific techniques, and you will develop an awareness of healthy vocal practice.

Voice 1
15 credits

Within this module you will explore the basic principles and develop an awareness of technical voice practice. You will use your own voice as an instrument, utilising a range of practical, creative and imaginative strategies in relation to vocal development.

Year two

The delivery of your second year will be split evenly between technical and performance modules. The work you produce within your second year will build upon and develop the skills you have accumulated in your first year of study.

Much like your first year you will be taught through a series of modules. The modules Acting Two, Voice Two, Physical Skills Two and Singing Two will bring together your practical skills. You will creatively explore the skills you have learnt in your first year. Pushing back boundaries and making new discoveries you will begin to see the bigger picture of the acting industry.  You will also continue to develop your abilities to explore, investigate and research through an individual research project.

Your work will be shown to a public audience in the Workshop module. Along with exploring acting for the stage, you will also learn important techniques for radio and screen in the Acting Two module.

In your second year of study your technical skills will be deepened and developed, and the beginnings of integration between them are expected.

Acting 2
30 credits

The second year acting module builds upon the skills you acquired in your first year acting module. You will explore further the technical skill of acting, investigating different styles and forming an in-depth knowledge. You will learn how to further your creative development as an actor with a broad skills base.

Workshops
45 credits

Within the workshop module you have the chance to showcase your work to a public audience. You will hone your technical skills through rehearsal, and you will prepare for performance. You will develop your competence and confidence, preparing you for a variety of performance settings within industry.

Physical skills 2
15 credits

The physical skills two module will bring together the skill and knowledge you developed in your first year. You will creatively explore the skills you learnt in the previous physical skills module, investigating the techniques that will develop physical practice.

Singing 2
15 credits

Much like the previous first year singing module you will explore in greater detail the foundations of technical performance and skill that are relative to singing. You will be taught specific techniques, and you will develop an awareness of healthy vocal practice.

Voice 2
15 credits

Drawing upon your first year voice module you will develop an in-depth understanding and ability to use your voice as an instrument. Exploring accents, and different ways to utilise your voice you will broaden your skills palette, enhancing your CV and career prospects.

Year three

Your final year of study will predominantly be performance based. Your training will come together in live, public performances in the Production module. In addition to this you will perform for screen and radio in the Recorded Media module.

You will learn the art of preparing audition material and the various formats of the contemporary audition. You will perform to an invited audience of industry professionals in Birmingham and London as part of the Professional Studies Module. This module will provide you with the help, advice and professional know-how to start a career, enabling you to set out into your first job with confidence and success.

During you final year of training you will partake in three professional productions out of a season of 10, which take place in external theatres.

Production
60 credits

The production module gives you the opportunity to rehearse and perform to the public in a complex and professional environment.  You shall further develop your technical, research, interpretative and specialist communication skills. You will also study the communication of character and narrative, as well as effective use of props and costumes.

Recorded media
30 credits

This module is designed specifically to equip you with the diverse range of skills that are needed to perform live, to radio or screen. Using the facilities within the University, such as our state-of-the-art radio/TV studios, you will perform to a microphone or camera. Developing your ability to perform in a variety of contexts and environments.

Professional studies
30 credits

This final year module is specially developed to equip you with the necessary professional skills to embark on your career as an actor. Lectures and seminars will include careers advice from accountants, casting directors, agents, British Actors Equity and working actors. You will have the chance to showcase your work to industry professionals, such as agents and casting directors, in Birmingham, and in some cases, London.

Course Structure

Throughout the course you will be taught through a series of modules. These modules will each cover a different aspect of the acting field, teaching you a diverse, yet specialised combination of knowledge and skill. You will develop the aptitude to apply your learnt knowledge to contemporary practice and current scholarship.

Teaching breakdown

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75 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
25 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

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16 Coursework FireBrick
84 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories - Mara

Mara Huf is a first year BA (Hons) Acting student.

She tells us about her experience on the course, gives advice for applicants and her transition from The Brit School to Birmingham School of Acting.

Student stories

Brennan Reece

Brennan Reece has put his experience of performing to good use, now combining his acting work with a promising career as an award-winning stand-up comedian.

Breenan has also become a stand-up comic working all over the UK, winning the Manchester New Comedian of the Year award in 2010 and reaching the finals stages of other prestigious comedy competitions.

Gillian McGregor

As well as forging a promising stage and screen career, Birmingham School of Acting graduate Gillian McGregor is also building her reputation behind the camera, recently writing and starring in her own short film.

Gillian's career highlights have been working with BAFTA-nominated director Julian Gilbey in 'A Lonely Place to Die' with Golden Globe nominee Melissa George and having the support of Working Title Films to write and shoot the film 'Hit Girls'. Having the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in the film business was a real honour.

This course is accredited by the following organisations:

Creative Skillset Tick
Creative Skillset Tick

The Creative Skillset Tick is the quality mark for excellence in training courses and education in the Creative Industries. It identifies the UK’s most industry-focused courses and apprenticeships enabling universities, colleges and employers to recruit the brightest talent.

Our Creative Skillset accreditation shows that we will provide you with industry-relevant skills and good links with companies and potential employers.

The accreditation also assures employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need.

Drama UK
Drama UK

Birmingham School of Acting is accredited by Drama UK, the national organisation of drama schools. This means we are recognised as an institution whose courses deliver a conservatoire level of training, enhancing career development through professional, intensive and work-oriented study.

This accreditation not only recognises the high standard of staff and students within the school, but offers the chance for acting students to perform at showcases in the UK and internationally (as appropriate).

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

Graduates of this course have developed essential skills and knowledge required for further study. If you wish to develop your studies to the next level this course will give you the confidence and advanced scholarship knowledge required for a Master’s degree within the arts. 

The programme seeks to advance your knowledge, understanding and practice of professional voice, providing a progression route into further study, or employment.

Student stories Catherine Tyldesley

Role of Eva Price in Coronation Street

Catherine Tyldesley is an actress starring in one of the UK's best-loved TV programmes, playing Eva Price in Coronation Street. She is one of the 2013 Alumni of the Year.

After a showcase at the Birmingham School of Acting, Catherine was signed by United Agents and her first TV role was in a series called No Angels for Channel 4. In the first few years of her career she supplemented acting roles with singing work, including singing before games at Manchester United.

She first appeared in Coronation Street in a guest role as a midwife in 2006. Her first starring role was in the 1920s-set BBC drama Lilies and she has also appeared in Holby City, The Royal, Shameless, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Trollied. Catherine also completed a three-month stint in Emmerdale as Prison Officer Abi Peterson. She took up the role of Eva Price in Coronation Street in June 2011.

Read more about Catherine Tyldesley

Trips and Visits

There are timetabled theatre trips such as to the RSC but you’ll be encouraged to make the most of the opportunity of free tickets to all BSA productions and performance events. We recommend you attend these performances not only to familiarise yourself with the Birmingham performing arts industry, but to network, and broaden your knowledge.

Birmingham is also a modern city with a thriving creative sector to explore, with various theatres and venues across the city, there are plenty of opportunities for you to partake in performing arts events.

Enhancing your employability skills

Through studying the theory and practice of key acting processes you will be equipped with the  skills expected of a contemporary actor. You’ll be able to engage critically and creatively, mapping out the performance possibilities of a production text.

The course will teach you the necessary skillto perform as an actor to a professional standard, fully preparing you to pursue a professional career in acting.

Throughout the programme you will develop a firm, theoretical knowledge and practical skills base to build your ability to perform professionally. You’l learn how to be proactive in creating employment opportunities and you will be able to successfully operate in a professional theatrical environment.

You will develop the ability to apply background research skills and enquiry methods to support and enrich performance. You will be able to blend the theory and practice of acting processes, integrating this into your performance and relating it to media industries. Therefore you will be thoroughly prepared, with the confidence and competency to take on live, radio and screen roles.

In addition to this you will be encouraged to respond creatively and imaginatively to source material. This will help you think proactively, responding to the demands of industry, as well as specifically being able to relate this to acting forms such as improvisation. Through the development of an open-minded attitude to all kinds of drama and performance you will be well equipped to tackle and succeed in various roles.

Throughout the course there are opportunities to compete in various industry competitions, including the Carleton Hobbs Competition for Radio, organised by the BBC, the Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, and the Sondheim Performer of the Year Competition, organised by the Society for West End Theatres.

Recent graduates are currently employed with The Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, The BBC and Independent Television, and in film (see Alumni Section).

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

We’re incredibly proud of our graduates, and are committed to offering you a high-level of training to pave the way for your future acting career. Recent graduates are currently employed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the BBC and independent television and in film.

We have a diverse and exciting number of notable alumni from our BA (Hons) Acting course, such as Catherine Tyldesley.

Our graduates have not only gone onto work on screen, we have an impressive number of graduates working in live theatre. Amy Booth-Steel and Iris Roberts have starred in various West End productions, and Jenny Palmer has successfully worked in Austria touring with Vienna’s English Theatre. Our graduates regularly work internationally with companies such as The Vienna English Theatre Company and Whitehorse Theatre Company; and they have also appeared in productions in Chicago, San Francisco and New York, Paris and Berlin.

Throughout your studies you’ll have the chanceto collaborate with students from other arts and creatively-led courses,  opening up a wide range of career routes for you. For example, previous graduates have collaborated with students from the School of Media, in the production of radio dramas and students across the acting, stage management course regularly collaborate to produce their own work.

Placements

Students need to develop the basic freelance personal management skills in order to operate as a professional actor. In group lectures, workshops and seminars, students will gain professional advice and guidance from tutors and relevant industry professionals and specialists.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
UK
Australia
Canada
NZ
US
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our acting course is most popular with international students from:

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USA

Our Facilities

Location

Birmingham School of Acting (BSA) is based at the University’s City Centre Campus. A part of the Arts, Design and Media faculty, BSA is based within Millennium Point but also has access to facilities at the Parkside building.

The Parkside building boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as radio and television studios, edit suites, photography studios, and much more. In addition to this we are currently constructing a new £40 million home for the Birmingham Conservatoire, due to open in 2017.

Rehearsal space

There are ten rehearsal spaces, a ‘black box’ performance studio, showers, lockers and workshop space within the Birmingham School of Acting. The ‘black box’ performance studio, also known as the Patricia Yardley Studio, is our in-house performance theatre. Using variable acoustics which can be adjusted, and housing a fully operational lighting rig and a quadraphonic sound system.

Each studio contains: specialist acoustic panelling; specialist sprung floors; a heating system that radiates heat equally around the studio; and an air replacement system that maintains a constant room temperature.

Performances

Students regularly perform at professional theatres across the West Midlands, including The Birmingham Central Library Theatre; Crescent Theatre; Hippodrome Studio (Patrick Centre); The Old Rep Theatre and The Drum.

Danièle Sanderson

Deputy Head/BA in Acting Course director

Danièle started life as a Drama student, training at the Drama Centre, London. She followed her interest in the body and actor by training in Physical theatre both in London and in Paris. After working for 10 years as a freelance actor and movement director, her interest turned to directing and she gained a Masters in Theatre Directing from Middlesex University which afforded her the opportunity of further studies in Moscow and Madrid.

Danièle started her working life with BSA in 1999 as freelance director and was invited to join the full time staff in 2001 as the course director for the post-graduate in acting. In 2004, she was appointed as the course director for the BA in Acting and in 2006 was appointed to her current position of Deputy Director of BSA.

Stephen Simms

Director of Birmingham School of Acting (BSA), Professor of Actor Education

Stephen is the Principal of Birmingham School of Acting, one of the UK's leading conservatoires of acting, where he is also the Head of Acting. He is also Professor of Actor Education, the only person to hold this position in the country. He directs and teaches on the acting courses at BSA. Recent full-scale productions include Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale' and 'Two Noble Kinsmen', Beaumont and Fletchers' 'Philaster', Buchner's 'Woyzeck' and Wedekind's 'Lulu'. Most recently he has directed the award-winning musical 'Spring Awakening', 'The Revenger's Tragedy', 'Total Eclipse' and 'A Clockwork Orange'.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295