Award: MA Professional Acting (International)


Locations: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School - Operating on two specialist teaching sites (Downside Road and Christchurch Studios) and performing in the major producing theatre venues in Bristol.

Awarding body: University of the West of England (UWE)

Students who complete the course successfully will receive a degree from the University of the West of England (UWE). The agreement between the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and the University of the West of England is reviewed every five years for developmental purposes and was last renewed in 2016.

Duration: 1 year – 40 weeks (full-time)

Academic year: Full-time course: 24th September 2018 – 16th August 2019

PLEASE NOTE:The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has been approved for the US Federal Student Loan programme for the upcoming 2018 - 2019 MA Acting school year. We are currently in the final stages of preparation to accommodate this, and will have those systems up and running as soon as possible.. Information about the US Federal Student Loan programme can be most easily accessed through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) website at


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

“ 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. ”

Course Fees Term Dates Policies & Procedures

Entry requirements 2017-18

Please note: this course is only open to those who are NOT ordinarily resident in the EU/UK. This course is ONLY open for international applications.

All applicants meet the University’s minimum qualifications for admission, except where age, experience and alternative qualifications are contributory factors.

Selection for programmes of this nature are not primarily driven by specific qualifications, however a first degree is normally required or extensive practical professional express.

Those qualities which distinguish applicants from students enrolled on an undergraduate degree are the evidencing of intellectual capacity, and experience. Typically, successful candidates will have a first degree, often in Drama, Acting, Theatre Studies, or Performance Studies, or will have equivalent professional experience.

They should either have English as a first language or exceptionally good command of written and spoken English.

If offered a place, it may be necessary for some students to complete IELTS.

Applicants will be able to demonstrate a good standard of Acting at audition, both in terms of preparation and ability to take direction.

Applicants will be auditioned by two practitioners, at least one of which will either be a senior member of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Acting staff or a practitioner of high standing in the industry.

In addition auditions will be video recorded for final selection by senior members of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Acting staff.

Applicants will be given an opportunity to ask questions of at interview and via internet or phone contact.

Course overview

This one-year Masters level course gives up to 14 International postgraduate students from outside the EU the opportunity to study in Bristol on an intensive four term conservatoire course.

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 equip students with a range of techniques appropriate to the varied acting demands made within the current performance industry, including those appropriate to the recorded media and offer training which will provide graduates with the skills to work at a high professional standard in their country of origin

Module map

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course.

Each module is worth a specified number of credits: All modules are compulsory, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing your own interests.

  • Module Number: UATALA-40-M Module Name: The Actor’s Instrument (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UATALB-30-M Module Name: Applied Movement and the Classical Tradition (30 credits)
  • Module Number: UATALC-40-M Module Name: Text and Context (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UATALD-30-M Module Name: Performance (30 credits)
  • Module Number: UATALE-40-M Module Name: Professional Portfolio (40 credits)

Optional Modules: There are no optional modules.

Award: MA Professional Acting (for international students)

Credit requirements: Total 180 credits from the above modules at level M.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is practical and career focused.

It is integrated with the school’s other programmes during productions, as well as within the professional environment, as some performances take place in local professional theatres.

The programme features a high level of one-to-one teaching by specialist professionals and work is realised for professional standard performances.

The learning is immersive and singular in its focus on high level specialist professional employability as a main learning outcome.

Students are taught supervised by teaching staff at least 35 hours per week across the 40 weeks of the programme.

There are up to fourteen students accepted to this course per academic year.

Academic and Student Support

As part of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD), the School is committed to selecting, training and supporting students, regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion.

Applicants to CDD schools are chosen solely on the basis of their talent and potential to develop the skills required for their chosen profession. The School does, however, judge applicants on their suitability for a course and their potential to successfully complete the training, as the work is rigorous and requires high levels of energy and commitment.

Student Support on the programmes at the School covers a variety of areas such as support for disabled students, academic support, student finance and health and welfare.

Julia Heeley, Student Support Manager, is able to answer queries about support available for disabled applicants/students. Her email address is and she can also be reached by telephone on 0117 980 9247.

Our Academic and Student Support services team provides help in the following areas:

Support for students with disabilities including specific learning difficulties In our admissions process, we are committed to supporting students with disabilities.

Disabled students are encouraged to disclose their support requirements so that we can endeavour to meet them during the audition process and subsequent training.

The School welcomes all students regardless of disability. It is our aim to provide appropriate support so that all students are able to achieve their full potential.

Students with a disability will be provided with advice and support from the Student Support Manager. If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty we recommend you contact her either prior to starting your course or during your first few weeks at the School to discuss any support requirements you may have.

This may include support resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment, learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia or mental health difficulties.

We recognise that everyone is an individual and we will work with students to identify potential barriers to training and do what we can to remove those barriers. We will also make any necessary reasonable adjustments, to ensure that disabled students can train at the School.

Quickscan screening

At the School we put a great deal of emphasis on supporting students during their time with us.

We are aware that nationally there is a very high proportion of students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia, in institutions which specialise in art, design or the performing arts.

During your first week, the School encourages all students to take a short questionnaire known as QuickScan which has proved to be a useful piece of screening software for students and staff across the CDD Schools. It takes the form of an on-line, easy to navigate, questionnaire which will help to identify your learning style and specific areas of learning strengths and weaknesses. It is used in conjunction with other indicators, including student disclosure (as part of the interview and registration process), tutor feedback on practical and written work, and students expressing their concerns and any support requirements which may become apparent during their studies.

Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)

UK students with disabilities (including Specific Learning Difficulties and long-term Mental Health conditions) can apply for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

DSA usually provides support for students with the specialist equipment and tools necessary to support you with your studies, including software, hardware and study skills support. Unlike a student loan, DSA does not have to be repaid. However, it is rarely awarded in the form of financial support.

Applications are made through, Student Finance England (SFE), Student Finance Wales (SFW), or Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

In order to apply for DSA, Student Finance will require evidence of any impairment or disability. This may take the form of a doctor’s or specialist’s letter or, more often, a report from an Educational Psychologist (Diagnostic Assessment Report).

If you require a Diagnostic Assessment from an Educational Psychologist, the Student Support Manager can arrange this for you and can guide you through the process.

Personal Academic Support

Various staff members at the School can help in different ways if you need academic support. If you need help with the content of classes or assessment work, you can ask the relevant head of course, tutor or your pastoral care tutor for an appointment or you can ask the Student Support Manager to arrange a tutorial with the relevant member of staff on your behalf. If you make an appointment, you can prepare for the meeting and discuss your concerns away from class. Heads of courses, modules leaders and individual tutors can all help you with understanding aspects of your training and can offer overall guidance or advice about your programme of study.

Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)

Study skills support is usually arranged for students who have been awarded support through Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). However, the Student Support Manager will be happy to arrange one to one study skills support for you if deemed appropriate and necessary.

Mental Health And Wellbeing

Schools within the CDD recognise the challenges faced by students entering higher education and that training in a conservatoire institution can place great demands on a student both physically and emotionally. The CDD has published a leaflet aimed to help students identify signs of mental distress and where to go for support: click this text to go to the CDD website in a new tab


The School has a student therapy and counselling service,¬¬ which is organised and staffed by accredited, registered psychotherapists and counsellors and is there to help with any more deep-seated personal problems on which pastoral tutors are not qualified to advise. If students wish to have an initial assessment with a therapist or counsellor, they should contact the School’s Student Support Manager. A strict professional code of confidentiality is always maintained.

Student welfare and pastoral care

We actively encourage students to develop a pro-active and positive approach to their own ‘wellness’. We are preparing professionals to enter physically and mentally challenging professions and we work to enable students to sustain a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle.

Every student is assigned a pastoral tutor who monitors they progress throughout the year in addition to having access to the Student Support Manager. All students have tutorials with their head of course, head of year or allocated pastoral care tutor in which non-teaching issues can be discussed. A confidential tutorial can be requested of any member of the full-time teaching staff on your course.

In addition, BOVTS students have access to UWE’s Student Wellbeing Service, details of which can be found at:

click this text to go to the UWE Wellbeing website in a new tab UWE Wellbeing Service, 3F Reception, UWE, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY Tel: +44 (0)117 32 86268 E-mail:

For further information on support which the School offers, please see the Guide to Student Support which can be found at: click this text to go to the guide in a new tab

You can also find additional information for disabled applicants and students at all Conservatoire for Dance and Drama affiliated Schools here: click this text to go to the CDD website in a new tab

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

The team includes senior academics, Head of Acting Courses, Artistic Director, Head of Acting, Head of Voice, Head of Music and Singing, Head of Movement and other Acting Tutors and visiting specialist professionals.

You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles Here


Students are assessed through ongoing monitoring, analysis and feedback on their classes, workshops, rehearsal processes and performance skills and through the assimilation of the guidance and informed judgements of an extensive range of internal and external professional practitioners and potential employers.

Assessment also focuses on the development of self-reliance, intellectual and emotional engagement and initiative in creating growth.

Fees and Funding

MA Professional Acting (for international students)

Duration: 1 year - 40 Weeks (full-time)


For the academic year 2018-19 the tuition fees for this course are:

International Applicants - £23,010

US Federal Loans

Click the link to consult the BOVTS US Federal Loans FAQs

(Full-time route only)

It is not possible to confirm fees for future academic years, as these are dependent on Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes, but the maximum increase in each year will not exceed the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Accommodation and living costs not included in the fees

Sources of financial support:

Details can be obtained from our Student Fees home page available here Please see the BOVTS fees page.

Bursaries, scholarships and prizes

The University also provides a number of scholarships and prizes for undergraduate students, which you may be eligible to apply for. Some of these are available to students on any course (such as Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD) scholarships, Hardship Fund and bursaries offered by charitable trusts)

Audition Process

Auditions for the MA Professional Acting (for international students) course take place in New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney and Bristol.

Please note: N.American auditions (New York, Toronto, Vancouver and 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.

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.

How to Apply

To apply for entry to the MA Acting programme in October 2018, you will need to use the UCAS Conservatoires.

To apply for this course please click here: click here to apply via the UCAS website in a new tab

Applications open on the 1 September 2017 and close on 28th February 2018.

Please note that UCAS Conservatoires is a different application system to UCAS Undergraduate.

Applying Through UCAS Conservatoires

Although UCAS Conservatoires (previously CUKAS) offers many advantages, it was originally designed to handle applications for music programmes at UK conservatoires and is in the process of being adapted to meet the needs of drama applicants.

We are working with UCAS Conservatoires and other drama schools to ensure this happens as quickly as possible but, in the meantime, you may find the following notes helpful.

Application Codes

  • The UCAS Conservatoires Institution Code for Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is B65
  • and the Course Code for MA Acting programme is BOV6.

  • • When applying, you will be required to 'select an instrument', please select drama performance for the FdA Acting programme.
  • • In your application, you will be asked for details of your 'practical/music referee'. This should be a reference written by your drama teacher / lecturer, Head of Department, or any other appropriate person who can comment on your acting performance abilities.

The UCAS Conservatoires website will allow you to track the progress of your applications using a unique username and password. You will see details of audition dates and times as well as any decisions as they are posted.

You will find guidance on using this service at or you can contact the UCAS Conservatoires Customer Service Unit on +44 (0)871 468 0 470 (Monday to Friday, 08:30 and 18:00hrs).

Additional Guidance on How to Apply

Registration and Audition Fees

There is a one-off registration fee of £25 to register (for entry 2018) to use the service. The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School also charges an audition administration fee of £75 to cover the cost involved in arranging and delivering auditions. Both fees are payable through UCAS Conservatoires.

Personal Statements

We recommend that you pay particular attention to the information you provide in your personal statement on your application form in order to give us as full a picture as possible of your relevant experience and reasons for applying.

Application Dates

You can apply through UCAS Conservatoires from the 1 September 2017. The equal consideration deadline for applications to the MA Acting programme is 15 January 2018. However our applications for this course will close on 28th February 2018.

If you have any further queries please contact the Admissions Department to discuss:

Deferred Entry

We are unable to consider applications for deferred entry.

Application regulations

  • We will only accept one application per applicant, per year.
  • We will not accept applications if you have previously applied in four or more consecutive years.

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

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

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Conservatoire for Dance and drama University of the West of England