Applications will open at 9am on the 1st of October 2017 and will close at 4pm on Wednesday 28th of February 2018

MA in Professional Acting

One Year (40 Weeks) Intensive Conservatoire training for International students (non EU/UK)

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has a long history of producing nationally and globally recognised actors. Our training brings together the classical acting traditions of the British theatre and contemporary methodology – a basis for deeply committed and inhabited performance on stage and screen.


Our One-Year MA programme (25th September 2017 until 17th August 2018) gives up to 14 International postgraduate students from outside the EU the opportunity to study abroad with us in Bristol on an intensive four-term (40 week) conservatoire course. The fully practice-based course is taught by both the regular tutors at the school and visiting practitioners. There is a strong emphasis on developing the actor’s voice and body and a commitment to building performance through close text work.

As well as working on the core actor skills, there is a focus on the classical British and European repertoire, with close attention given to a practical exploration of Shakespearean text in performance.

In their final term international students are directed in a fully-mounted production, supported by professional design, stage management and costume students or practitioners.

The main thrust of the course is to offer a training which will provide graduates with the skills to work at a high level in their country of origin. Don’t think of it primarily as a gateway to entering the already overcrowded UK industry.

In a one year course the opportunities for showcasing can be limited, but we endeavour to create the best opportunities that we can. Showreel and Audio reels are important marketing tools – during the year, and particularly in their final term, students will develop material for these.

To view 2016 graduate scenes CLICK HERE

Depending on the makeup of any particular year, opportunities for agent showcases may arise and we explore these when we can. For example, at their own expense, this year’s American graduating student took part in a BOVTS organised series of agent/casting director panel auditions in new York.

The course is ideal for the recent graduate or the actor wanting to hone his or her skills.

The School, has a large international reputation, but remains intimate - no more than 42 Acting students, including International Acting students, are admitted each year. This enables us to provide a great deal of individual attention, with progress carefully monitored, assessed and discussed. Students typically live close, often within walking distance, and there is a strong community ethos in the school, as well as a commitment to the maintenance of professional industry practice standards.

The course is ideally suited to post graduate candidates with English as their first language or, in exceptional circumstances, with a very high standard of spoken English.

You may find the UK Visas and Immigration and UKCISA websites useful.

NB The degree is validated by The University of the West England

Tuition fees for NON EU/UK applicants for MA Acting (International) for 2017 entry: £22,000.

PLEASE NOTE: US Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is not currently available for this course.

“The tutors are so passionate and supportive. It's more of a family than a school."

"The intensity and quality of the course means that you will get more from a year's training than you would think possible. ”

Applications Closed Course Fees Term Dates Policies & Procedures
International Acting at BOVTS

The Training

As with all the courses at BOVTS, actor training is rigorous and demanding – particularly on the intensive One Year MA for International students.

You will start each day at 8.45am with a physical and vocal warm up and then contact hours continue until 6.30pm or 7.00pm (5.30pm Friday). Your mornings typically are taken up by class: Voice, Accent, Movement, Period Movement, Combat, Acting Technique, Singing and Alexander, etc, with afternoons more focused on working on Text Projects.

This means that you will be in practical sessions for approximately 36 hours each week. On top of that you will have to undertake a great deal of private work: line learning, vocal and movement practice, class preparation, reflection.

The course is 40 weeks in duration and comprises of 3 terms: Autumn – 12 weeks; Spring – 11 weeks; Summer – 17 weeks, during this term there will be a reading week.

The course is divided into 5 Modules.

In practice these are integrated throughout the course:


(Movement, Voice, Alexander)

Equipping you with the knowledge and practical technique to meet the physical and vocal demands of classical stage performance


(Combat, Period Movement)

Training you in the Movement, Dance and Combat associated with different Classical contexts.


You will take part in a series of Intensive Text project workshop rehearsals and performances, typically Classical, Shakespeare, Comedy of Manners, Chekhov.


Towards the end of the course, you will rehearse and perform in the International students’ own fully mounted production with the support of the School’s technical staff and students. This will be conducted under professional working conditions.


The 5-Week Mid-Summer term will be largely taken up with the preparation of a personal portfolio of material that should enable you to link your development during a classical British training to the industry circumstances of your own country. We aim for you to leave with a selection of well-prepared Classical and Contemporary audition speeches, experience in sight-reading (cold reading), good quality Video and Audio material suitable for a showreel and a marketing plan of action.

In total this amounts to 180 UK Credits. Perhaps more usefully you should consider that there are approximately 36 Practical Contact Hours per week for 40 weeks – 1440 hours in total. There will, of course, also be much private preparation in addition.

Modules are assessed both discretely, in class, and interdependently, in performance.

Progress is closely monitored and assessed through continual feedback, tutorials, mock auditions, presentations, informal termly assessments, formal Assessment of three of the five modules at the end of the third term, Assessment of the remaining two at the end of the fourth term.


Auditions for the MA in Professional Acting (International) Course take place in New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Sydney and Bristol.

Please note: N.American auditions (New York, Toronto, San Francisco) normally take place in late January/early February. Sydney auditions are held in early to mid March. Bristol auditions run from November to May.

Applications for auditions in North America and Sydney should be submitted by mid January.

Please Note: this is a post-graduate course. Students should have a first degree or, in exceptional circumstances, equivalent professional experience.

Audition Process

Each audition lasts for roughly forty five minutes

At your audition, you will be required to present:

  • A speech from a classical English play (written before 1800 - Elizabethan, Jacobean, Restoration or Eighteenth Century – Shakespeare is always appropriate).
  • A piece in prose from a modern play (written in the 20th or 21st Centuries).
  • A short, unaccompanied song – we suggest avoiding contemporary pop songs.

Each piece should last no longer than 2 minutes; if you exceed this time limit you may be stopped. For the song, you may wish to perform a verse and chorus from your chosen piece.

Offline Applications

Please contact:The Admissions Office, 1-2 Downside Road, Bristol BS8 2XF.

Tel: 0117 973 3535.


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Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Ltd, 1-2 Downside Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XF
Admin: 0117 973 3535 | Box Office: 0117 973 3955 |

Photos: Craig Fuller, Farrows Creative, Graham Burke, Stewart McPherson.

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Conservatoire for Dance and drama University of the West of England