Acting - BA (Hons)
- UCAS Code: W410
- Level: Undergraduate
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time (3 years)
- Location: City Centre
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. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year 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.
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.
What's covered in the 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.
Why Choose Us?
- Students are satisfied with this course! We scored 90 per cent for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2020.
- 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.
This course is open to International students
Discover Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Where our students go
Our students have gone on to jobs such as:
- Setting up a theatre company
- Musical theatre performer
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
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
|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||
|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||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||Pass|
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
|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||
|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
Application process also involves an audition
Worried about teacher assessments?
However you're being assessed this Summer, it can be a stressful time. We've got a load of tips on revision skills and time management to help you feel as prepared as possible.
- UK students
- International students
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. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.
Main deadline date 29 January 2021, 18:00 (UK time) – please note that applications submitted after the main deadline date will still be considered for the 2021 intake
How to apply
Please read our information on the audition process before making your application. We charge an audition/recording fee of £46, which must be paid prior to audition and covers the entire audition process.
Guidance on how to complete your application form for BA (Hons) Acting
You will need to apply through UCAS Conservatoire which can be accessed through our website under the ‘How to Apply’ tab within your selected course page. You will need to provide information on your previous and current education, employment and English language ability, as well as a personal statement and a referee.
You can find guidance on how to prepare for an Initial Audition by visiting the page below. You can also find Recall Audition guidance if you are successful in your Initial 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 our Acting Admissions team, stating your name and date of application.
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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
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.
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.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
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.
Worried about personal statements?
If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Graduate success – Catherine Tyldesley
Catherine Tyldesley is a successful British actress, who until recently played Eva Price in Coronation Street.
After a showcase at Birmingham School of Acting (now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), 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, which she played until Eva’s final scenes aired in August 2018.
In 2018 Catherine was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Honorary Fellowships are given to those who act as an inspiration for the University’s students, as examples of people who have forged an outstanding career in music, acting and the related arts. Catherine will be appearing in the 2019 series of BBC'S Strictly Come Dancing.
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 Conservatoire 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 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. Check out our Theatre map of Birmingham to see what the UK's second city has to offer.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Popular home countries
Our students come from around the world but our acting course is most popular with international students from:
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is based at the University’s City Centre Campus. A part of the Arts, Design and Media faculty, we are based within Millennium Point but also have 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.
There are ten rehearsal spaces, a ‘black box’ performance studio, showers, lockers and workshop space within the Department 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.
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.
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'.