MA Acting is accredited by the National Council for Drama Training, allowing graduates automatic entry to Equity, the actors' union. MA Acting is a challenging course that gives students a personal methodology based upon East 15's unique way of working. It is highly intensive as well as deeply rewarding. On one level it is a thoroughly practical vocational degree, and students are expected to have sufficient energy, discipline and motivation to work at an advanced level. On another level, it is a thought provoking, life-changing exploration of the art of the actor - exploring techniques from some of Europe’s most influential practitioners as well as innovative professional practice from the UK and internationally.
MA Acting is a specialist course of one academic year with an additional two week module for marketing students to the industry (see below). It is aimed at those wishing to become professional actors. Some students will already have a college or university degree, while others have established themselves in other professions and now seek to change the direction of their lives towards that of a professional actor. The course is also open to professional actors who feel the need to understand more about their technique, to extend their range and gain academic recognition for their skills.
In the first term, there are classes in movement, voice and singing, as well as contextual studies. The acting classes progress from an exploration of the body in time and space, through classes in the established techniques of building a character and playing actions, towards the application and integration of these with the technical skills in showings of short naturalistic scenes.
In the second term, skills classes continue with the addition of stage combat. The acting work begins with an intensive Shakespeare module which develops and strengthens the integration of technical skills with acting technique. This is followed by the Research Performance Project in which students engage with a topic or time in history and devise a studio performance based on their intellectual, emotional and sensory research. Students are given responsibilities in stage management and production to enhance their overall understanding of what it is to make theatre and prepare them for the realities of the industry.
In the third term, media skills in TV and radio complement the continued skills input. There is a full production of a text-based play, attended by agents and industry professionals. MA students then work in small groups on self-generated projects, in which they are given independence and autonomy as company members. These projects are performed in East 15’s Corbett Theatre at the end of the summer term. During the summer break, MA students write a 5,000 word reflective commentary on their process of making their projects.
In September, students return for a short intensive rehearsal preparation before the showcase performance held in a major West End venue to which the School invites agents, casting directors, film, television and theatre directors, and other industry professionals.
After East 15
On completion of MA Acting, students are qualified as actors and sufficiently equipped to pursue acting careers in theatre, TV, film and radio. They will also have a basic understanding of how to create their own work, including how to form companies and gain funding, as well as how to develop their own artistic practices.