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Acting - BA (Hons)

 From January 2022, the School of Acting will be moving to a new location, and will no longer be based in Millennium Point. Although not part of the University’s City Centre Campus, the new location will be in Birmingham city centre. Further information will be made available on the website in autumn 2021....

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.

Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Course is Full for 2021/22 Entry

 This course is now full for September 2021. Applications for September 2022 will open on 15 July 2021. You may also wish to consider our BA (Hons) Applied Theatre (Community and Education) course.


 From January 2022, the School of Acting will be moving to a new location, and will no longer be based in Millennium Point. Although not part of the University’s City Centre Campus, the new location will be in Birmingham city centre. Further information will be made available on the website in autumn 2021.

Apply your passion and complete your training at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire – we offer drama school level training to mould you into a versatile actor and help you launch your career. 

Our BA (Hons) Acting is designed to develop you practically, personally and professionally and prepare you for this challenging industry. We have carefully designed a contemporary course that will train you for a creative career in front of a stage, 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.

According to the Guardian University Guide 2020, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire's acting and performance provision is in the UK's top ten drama schools (drama and dance category).

This course equips you with the skills you need to become a professional actor; continually stretching and challenging you to reach new levels of personal achievement and self-discovery. As a vocational actor training course, full commitment and attendance would be expected.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Complete your training in a supportive environment alongside your dedicated peers. With a proactive attitude you will achieve the high-standard of skill and adaptability that is required of professional actors in the industry today

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.

During the final year of your training you will get the opportunity to make a showreel, perform showcases to industry professionals, and be cast in professional productions staged in external theatres. In the first two years you will apply and develop your skills, getting regular opportunities to perform to your peer group and to invited audiences.

You can find our graduates all over the industry

Graduates of this course have gone on to craft successful and inspiring careers across the entire spectrum of the industry, including actors such as Rob Mallard – best known for his role in Coronation Street for which he won the award for Best Newcomer at the 2017 British Soap Awards, and Helen George, who played Trixie Franklin in Call the Midwife. Airing in early 2017, new Channel 4 comedy from the producers of Father Ted Derry Girls stars 2011 graduate Nicola Coughlan.

Our graduates can also be found on stage in musicals, for example Dominic Hartley Harris has appeared in the West End in Bat out of Hell and Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, and Lewis Howard played the Heart of Joey in War Horse. Our graduates are flexible and entrepreneurial, and in some cases have gone on to start their own companies – Theatre 63, a theatre company founded by our graduates, was nominated for the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) 2017 Edinburgh Award. We also produce successful writers and directors – playwright Charlene James has won a number of awards, including for her well-received play Cuttin It, and Gemma Colclough directed The Hunting of the Snark at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End.

Will I be famous?

Who knows! We aim to transform you into a confident performer and practitioner with a diverse skills base who recognises your own talent and creative ability. This course encourages you to create a well-informed working process that is supported by practice, theory and reflection. You will learn to create opportunities for yourself through a forward-thinking attitude, and engage with the course both intellectually and creatively. 

You will engage immediately with full-time training and a high level of contact hours. The course is demanding and energetic, allowing you to explore your full potential in an inspiring yet challenging environment; applying your passion to become the best that you can be.

You never know where the training will take you, but every pathway is unique and wonderful. I loved my time at RBC; it’s not only a cracking training, it’s a unique family of likeminded individuals that supports and uplifts each student to achieve their best in an industry we all love! Seb Yates Cridland

Why Choose Us?

  • We are ranked highly - The 2020 Guardian University Guide rankings placed us seventh in the Drama & Dance category.
  • Our tutors 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.
  • We are proud to be a part of Birmingham City University, where, as a student you are not only part of a Conservatoire but also a member of the Federation of Drama Schools.
  • 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, writer and directors.
  • On TV you will see our graduates appearing in programmes such as Peaky Blinders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, EastEnders, WPC53, Call the Midwife, Holby City, The Royal, and Shameless, among many more.
  • You can find our versatile graduates performing at prestigious venues such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National Theatre, and we are always well represented at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

64 UCAS points

Entry to the course is by audition only. Applicants will be required to successfully pass an initial and recall audition.

Applications for this course are made via UCAS Conservatoires

  • Minimum of 5 GCSE’s at grade C/4 or above one of which MUST include English Language
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any band
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CC / 64 UCAS points
  • Drama subject preferred
  • A maximum of 3 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE Considered with a maximum of 2 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 64 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts and Drama subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media) Pass
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 12 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • Considered with a maximum of 2 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 64 pts
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 64 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016)
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma MPP
Scottish Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 64 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).
T-Levels Pass overall (D or E on the core)
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Pass overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Pass overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Pass overall

For full details and advice about auditions and interviews, please visit the Acting Auditions and Interviews section of the Conservatoire website.

English language requirements

  • 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any band

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

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £9,250 per year
  • Applications Closed

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £17,100 per year
  • Applications Closed

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

£150 free credit (home/EU students only)

For 2021 entry, all new home/EU undergraduate students will receive £150 worth of free credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence

Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires specialist clothing and shoes for movement/acting work.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including a personal yoga mat for floor work. Voice and singing work will require personal vocal props to aid work.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy. We suggest allowing around £50 although you may wish to purchase additional books and playscripts.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost. You are encouraged to visit the theatre regularly, as well as opportunities to visit art galleries and other cultural experiences to support course work.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals, websites or publications, such a The Stage Online.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course. You will be encouraged to join Spotlight in your third year.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

 This course is now full for September 2021. Applications for September 2022 will open on 15 July 2021. You may also wish to consider our BA (Hons) Applied Theatre (Community and Education) course.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement 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.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits): 

The student actor needs a firm understanding of the basic core principles, which support a successful performance. This module allows for an initial understanding and practice of the theoretical elements of creating and communicating a character, as used by contemporary practitioners. The student actor needs to harness and develop his or her imaginative powers, narrative skills, improvisational skills and develop the ability to engage with detailed text analysis in order to satisfy the artistic and professional requirements of their roles in performance.

The module therefore aims to introduce you to a range of strategies, both practical and theoretical to achieve this objective.

This module will offer students the opportunity to study the areas necessary to underpin their acting in voice, singing and movement techniques.

Students will be encouraged to let go of their habitual patterns of vocal and movement work, and will receive specialised teaching from experts in the field to support this. This letting go of habitual choices can help the actor connect truthfully to the emotional and physical content of future acting roles.

The student actor needs to practice the essential core technical skills of acting, voice and movement within a ‘rehearsal’ environment. This modules aims to provide the student with the opportunity to exercise themselves within a rehearsal environment, encouraging the individual to take responsibility for his or her learning and begin the development of a personal working system that will extend beyond graduation. The student will be encouraged to develop an attitude to work that fosters professionalism based on a personal code of practice.

Students will rehearse with a director in part-year groups. Directors and group members will change each term. There is one project per term which is selected from a variety of historical and/or cultural sources and/or performance genre.

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits): 

This module will consolidate and advance work completed in year one, giving opportunities to explore texts and rehearsal techniques in detail, employing a variety of approaches and with a range of media as used by contemporary practitioners resulting in the deepening, extending and integration of the students acting technique.

Working in groups within a studio environment, students will engage in tutor led study of a variety of current acting methodologies appropriate for the different media of acting for stage, screen and microphone. The student’s development of a personal working system will be advanced by researching, rehearsing and presenting a range of suitably challenging material appropriate to the given medium. This will include solo work or work with another student or students as appropriate. Students will gain experience of working in front of a camera and/or microphone. The viewing of and listening to their own recorded material, feedback and discussion will assist in the study and consideration of performance choices. Students will undertake a variety of seminars, workshops and tutorials as applicable around the different areas of work and/or experience in the recorded media industries, i.e., green screen, motion capture, voice over, etc.

This module will offer students the opportunity to further develop the disciplines necessary to underpin their acting in voice, singing and movement techniques. Attention to these areas of support for the actor is an open-ended activity.

Having gained an awareness of their physicality and of the individual potential in their voice, singing and movement, the actor is required to develop further skills in order to be able to respond to a wide range of textual, physical and emotional demands. In addition the acoustic demands of a variety of performance spaces and the requirements of characterisation, physical and vocal transformation are considered.

To further develop the work of year one, the student actor needs to continue to practice, within a rehearsal and performance experience, to integrate the skills of acting, voice, movement and singing (as/when appropriate) into a holistic characterisation. This module provides an opportunity to rehearse on a selection of material that continues the development of a personal working system that will extend beyond graduation, through the development of a professional attitude to work and a personal working System. The student actor also needs the opportunity to perform live in front of an audience and to learn and develop his/her characterisation, relationship to other actors/characters and the audience through successive performances. This module aims to provide the student with at least 3 performance opportunities for each performance Exercise.

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits): 

The student actor needs opportunities to bring together, through rehearsal, the skills of acting, voice, movement and singing (where appropriate), into a fully integrated performance for a public audience. Students need to develop the ability to sustain a performance, and to adjust to the demands of different audience and performance venues and to work to industry standards/expectations.

Within this module you will normally rehearse and perform up to three productions (two in Autumn term, one in Spring). A designated number of rehearsal weeks will be assigned to each production to give a broad experience of differing rehearsal demands. Additionally the number of performances may vary in order to develop your awareness of the demands of sustaining a performance. You will be exposed to a variety of material, directors, rehearsal styles, and production concepts and be expected to meet the demands of differing audiences across a selection of professional performance venues. This module aims to provide the student with a simulation of professional working practices within the theatre industry.

Much of an actor’s work is in the fields of Film, TV, Audio and Audio-Visual production. An actor has to be equipped to work at the highest level at auditions and on set, on location and the studio. In part year groupings you will gain practical experience in preparation, rehearsal and recording of both screen and radio pieces, working with the ensemble, a director and/or relevant technical personnel leading to the undertaking of two separate assessments, one for screen, and one for radio, which are equally weighted.

To enter the acting profession, student actors need access to the relevant employment “gatekeepers”, such as agents, casting directors, artistic directors etc. This module facilitates preparation to meet said gatekeepers through audition/ to a professional audience (showcase), normally both in Birmingham and London. It also facilitates preparation of a portfolio of audition material (spoken and sung) for future auditions.

Students also need the knowledge and skills to launch themselves as a self-employed business called ‘actor’. This module aims to develop these basic freelance personal management skills. In group lectures, workshops, seminars students will gain professional advice and guidance from tutors and relevant industry professionals and specialists. As well as traditional lectures, students may engage in problem-based tasks, question and answer sessions, private research, and work using supplied templates to production a Business Portfolio that will support their initial transition into work.

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. Take a look at these monologues by our third year actors to get a sense of how far they have come in three years of training.

Mara Huf

Mara is a dual American and German citizen living in London. She graduated from the BRIT School of performing arts before completing her training at RBC. After graduating Mara signed to Jewell Wright Ltd and appeared in the FDS showcase in New York City, which showcased the variety and depths of talent of recent graduates of the top UK Drama Schools.

Shobat Kadara

Birmingham born Shobat appeared in 'Trojan Horse' at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which was named as the third best show overall. The play also won the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and a Scotsman Fringe First award. Based on real-life events that saw several Birmingham schools being investigated following claims of ‘hardline' Muslim teachers and governors plotting to control them, Trojan Horse depicts a community torn apart by racial division, British values and the culture of the counterterrorism strategy known as Prevent.

Nicole Miners

Originally from Hong Kong, Nicole's favourite project since graduating has been the research and development for Yellow Earth's 'Forgotten' at the Arcola Theatre: "It was such an amazing experience working with so many amazingly talented East Asian actors and creatives, and I can't wait to see the finished product soon!" Nicole is signed with Simon & How Associates.

Student stories

Brennan Reece

Brennan Reece has put his experience of performing to good use, enjoying a successful career as an award-winning stand-up comedian. Since winning the English Comedian of the Year Award in 2015 Brennan has appeared on TV in comedy shows such as 'Live at the Apollo', and was the narrator of the series 'Survival of the Fittest.' In 2018 he took his third solo show 'Evermore' on tour and received 5 star reviews.

Gillian MacGregor

Originally from the West of Scotland, award winning actress Gillian MacGregor's credits include adventure western 'The Stolen', critically acclaimed Sci-Fi drama 'Beyond', 'A Lonely Place to Die', 'Street Fighter: Resurrection' and 'Nikola Tesla and the End of the World' for which she won the Best Actress award at the 31st International Valencia Film festival.


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 skill to 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’ll 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 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.

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:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Facilities and Staff

Our Facilities


Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is based at the University’s City Centre Campus. A part of the Arts, Design and Media faculty, the School of Acting is currently based within Millennium Point but will be moving to a new city centre location from January 2022.

We also have access to facilities at the Parkside Building, which boasts state-of-the-art radio and television studios, edit suites, photography studios, and much more.


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.

Our staff

Danièle Sanderson

Head of Undergraduate Studies (Acting); BA (Hons) 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 Birmingham School of Acting in 1999 as a freelance director and was invited to join the full time staff in 2001 as the course director for the post-graduate degree in acting. In 2004, she was appointed course director for the BA in Acting and in 2006 become the Deputy Director of BSA. Since the school became part of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2017 Danièle has become Director of Undergraduate Studies for Acting as well as continuing as course director for the BA Acting.

More about Danièle

Stephen Simms

Vice Principal - Acting, Professor of Actor Education

Stephen is the Vice Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - 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 Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 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'.

More about Stephen