Acting Diploma

Develop your skills as an actor with specific classes on improvisation, text analysis, voice, movement, devising and character development.

Acting diploma at Central School of Speech & Drama

    Course fee

    £3,500.00 (for 2020)


    Course attendance type


The Acting Diploma is a one year, part-time, evening and weekend course (January to August) that develops acting, voice and movement skills.

Although this course is not accredited, it is designed to act as a springboard for those wishing to undertake actor or performance training. The course develops your skills as an actor with specific classes on improvisation, text analysis, voice, movement, devising, and character development. All teaching staff are theatre professionals and work within the drama school sector as well as the industry. In the final summer term, you will rehearse and perform in one of Central’s fully equipped theatres. Please note that this is not an agents’ showcase.

On completion of the course you should expect to:

  • attain a practical skillset of the tools necessary to embark on an actor training
  • create and broaden your performance vocabulary and begin to constructively critique your own performance skills as well as other company members
  • develop a professional work ethic which enables you to work to the highest standard possible in a rehearsal/workshop environment
  • approach performance holistically, incorporating voice, movement, and text.

In line with the ethos of our full-time courses, full attendance is expected of all modules as well as the Intensive Weeks.


The Acting Diploma will not be taking place in it's current form in 2021. We are currently developing an online version and more details will be available later in the year. Register your Interest to keep up to date with the latest information. 

To be the first to hear, please fill out the contact form on the left-hand side of this page and we will be in touch with further details once they are available. 

For your audition, you will need to prepare a contemporary monologue from a published play, from the last 30 years of no longer than two minutes in duration.


Requirements for admission

  • Applicants must have IELTS score of 7.0 or equivalent in the English language. Please note, you will be expected to read texts/scripts that may have advanced vocabulary on this course. 
  • Minimum age for admission is 18.
  • You must audition for this course.

Who is this course suitable for?

This is a practical, part-time acting course suitable for people who:

  • wish to pursue your acting skills and knowledge without having to give up your day job
  • work in an allied area (e.g. arts management/administration, education and outreach) and wish to gain a more practical experience
  • would like to gain confidence and enhance communication skills
  • are considering studying acting at BA or MA level and would like experience within a drama school
  • enjoy acting and would like a practical experience in a professional environment.

What we’re looking for in applicants

We’re looking for people who:

  • demonstrate commitment to the subject
  • can work well within a team
  • are passionate about acting and theatre
  • are willing to work independently
  • show an understanding/respect for rehearsal room etiquette e.g. time keeping, discipline, etc
  • want to progress and learn about acting in a practical way.

Other requirements for admission

  • Applicants must have IELTS score of 7.0 or equivalent in the English language.
  • Minimum age for admission is 18.
  • You must audition for this course.

Dates and Duration

The following dates (for the 2020 course) are indicative and given as a guideline only:

Term 1: Improvisation, Voice, Movement
13 January – 18 March 2020
Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Intensive Saturday: 15 February, 12:00pm-5:00pm

Term 2: Devising, text, character
20 April – 1 July 2020 (No classes on Bank Holidays, 4 and 25 May)
Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Intensive Saturday: 23 May, 12:00pm-5:00pm

Term 3: Rehearse and perform a text

Monday 20 July 2020, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Wednesday 22 July 2020, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday 25 July 2020, 10:00am – 4:30pm
Monday 27 July 2020, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Wednesday 29 July 2020, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday 1 August 2020, 10:00am – 4:30pm

Intensive week: 10 - 15 August 2020

Intensive week: 14 - 22 August 2020

Performance day: 22 August 2020

What our students do after the course

As the course grows, our graduates’ destinations become increasingly exciting. Students from our Diploma courses have won places on:

  • BA and MA Acting courses here at Central
  • Guildhall
  • Rose Bruford
  • East 15
  • Mountview
  • ALRA
  • Arts Educational
  • other leading universities.

Students have also gone on to perform at The Royal Court, The Bush Theatre, and BBC, amongst others.

Structure of course

The diploma is divided into three terms. In the first two terms you will work for two evenings and one Saturday for a total of 55 hours a term. In the third term you will work on Monday and Wednesday evenings plus Saturdays and for an intensive 2-week period.

Example classes

Term 1:

Acting Fundamentals 

You will develop the precursors to acting: relaxation; trust; exuberance; discipline; response to criticism; a playful attitude; and the ability to work as part of an ensemble. You will learn the fundamentals of acting, including: concentration; pursuing an objective with actions; listening and responding; and working from moment-to-moment, using both improvised and scripted scenes.


Through physical and vocal exercises, you will begin to release your voice from habitual tensions and develop breath connection, support and stamina. You will begin to learn how to project your voice without strain, using the principles of general and specific resonance and develop vocal range. Articulation work will enable you to approach text with greater specificity, accuracy and muscularity.


This unit will allow you to explore and develop movement/physical vocabularies and begin to understand the significant role the body plays in expression. You will become aware of your physicality through experiential anatomy, articulation of the body parts, alignment of the spine and the three body weights. you will explore connection to breath, presence in space, neutrality and it's relevance to an acting training.

Term 2

The Actor and The Text 

This module will allow you to apply your acquired skills from Acting Fundamentals to script work. You will learn a clear process, including active and textual analysis, which will allow you to explore and realise monologues, duologues and scenes effectively.


This module explores the creation of character in both textual and devised settings. The creation of character is fundamental to all forms of acting therefore you will concentrate not only on naturalistic character but also archetypes, commedia dell'arte and Brechtian characters. Using the techniques and methods of various practitioners you will develop and sustain your own character.

Devising and theatre-making

This module will give you the tools to start to develop ideas into ensemble-based performance. The acting industry is increasingly reliant on actors who can devise, write and perform in autonomous ways; you will create work using a variety of sound, light and text based stimuli.

Term 3

Performance Project: Rehearse and Perform

This unit culminates in a production wherein you will have gone through a full rehearsal process taking into account the text, character and knowledge of prominent 20th Century practitioners and their acting systems. The use of your acting, voice and movement skills will be evaluated in both the rehearsal process and final performance. You will be cast in extracts from a play and have an intensive rehearsal schedule. You will be expected to attend all rehearsal and also work in your own time. You will apply systems of rehearsal to your work, learn movement and be expected to take and adapt well to direction. You will perform the show in front of an invited audience.

Please note that this is NOT a showcase and agents will not be invited.



I can’t make any of the audition dates that have been emailed to me – do you have other dates coming up? We schedule 1-2 dates per month from April until November for entry in January of the following year for the Acting and MT Diploma’s, and April until late August for entry to the Gap Year Diploma starting in September. We normally schedule dates two months in advance. If you’re unable to attend any of the upcoming dates we will keep your details on file and get in touch when new dates are released.

Can I audition via Skype/Video? Not at this time. We’re only able to audition people in person for the Diploma courses.

Do you offer international auditions for this course? We accept international students (provided they're able to secure an appropriate visa to be here for the duration of the course) however, all auditions must take place in person at our main campus in London. Please note, as this course is classed as 'part-time, non-accredited study' it does not qualify for a Tier 4 Student Visa. 

Do you give out audition advice? Once you’ve booked your audition slot, our team will send you a list of tips to help you prepare for your audition with us.

After my audition, how long will it take for me to find out if I’ve been offered a place? We will let you know the outcome of your audition within 2 weeks. In the event that you’ve been unsuccessful we may be able to offer brief feedback on request, please note that this may take up to a month for us to respond to.

Can I be considered for more than one Diploma? Yes – you only need to audition once though. Please make sure our team are aware of which Diploma’s you would like to audition for when you call to book your slot. The Audition Panel will then decide which Diploma they think you’re most suitable for.


Is there a concessionary fee available for this course? Unfortunately not. The full fee applies to everyone.

When do I have to pay the fees by? If you’re successful in gaining a place, you will need to pay a 25% deposit of the full fee amount to secure your place within two weeks of being offered it. You will then be expected to pay the balance of the fees by the Thursday before the course begins. In exceptional circumstances we may be able to arrange a payment plan with you if you are struggling to pay the full amount before the course begins. The team will be able to give you more details of this if you are successful at gaining a place.

Do you offer any bursaries? Yes. In order to improve access to education for people who are from low-income backgrounds, we have a bursary fund you can apply to if you earn under £25,000 per year (or if your family earn less than £25,000 if you’re under 25 and still live at home). More details are available on request once you have been offered a place on a Diploma course.

Please note: applications to the bursary fund always exceed the amount of money available so there is no guarantee we will be able to offer you a bursary.

Attendance/Fitness to Study

How important is it that I’m available for every session?

Very important, vital, in fact. Our Diploma’s give you the chance to experience conservatoire-style training and as such we take attendance and punctuality as seriously as we do on our BA and MA courses. All of our courses are collaborative in nature and if you’re missing from class it impacts on your fellow students’ learning, as well as your own. If your attendance dips below an acceptable level, you will be asked to leave the course and no refund of fees will be given.

How demanding is this course? This course offers a practical, physical, hands-on experiential learning experience and you need to be prepared to fully commit physically, mentally and emotionally to that.

The Diploma is highly rewarding and a fantastic way to learn new skills whilst still being able to work during the day but it can also be taxing on top of your daily life. We urge you to think carefully about this and consider whether you currently have the time, energy and wellness levels to fully engage before applying.


Where does the course take place?

All of our Diploma classes take place at our purpose built, main campus at Swiss Cottage. It’s in Zone 2, and right next to Swiss Cottage tube station on the Jubilee Line.

How many students do you have per class?

We accept around 28 people onto both the Acting and the Gap Year Diploma’s each year (split into classes of 14). There are a maximum of 12 places available on the Musical Theatre Diploma.

Each year we audition around 500 people for the three courses.

How often does each Diploma run?

Once per year. The Acting and Musical Theatre Diploma’s start in January each year and the Gap Year Diploma starts in September.

Will this course help me get accepted to the BA Acting at Central or elsewhere?

Places on our BA and MA courses (and equivalent courses elsewhere) are highly sort after with hundreds of people applying for each place usually. There are no short cuts to gaining a place and completing one of our Diploma’s is in no way a guarantee that you will go on to be accepted for BA or MA study at Central or elsewhere. That said, you will learn a great deal on the Diploma and the skills learnt, coupled with hard work and talent, will be beneficial when it comes to auditioning. Each year there are usually a handful of students who are successful in gaining a place somewhere for further study.

Will this course help me get a Spotlight pin?

At the present time, Spotlight does not accept part-time, non-accredited courses as a way to get a pin. If you already have a pin, however, you’ll be able to list that you took one of our courses under the Education section.

My question isn’t covered here. Who can I contact? Please email the short courses team for more information or call 0207 559 3960 where one of the team will be happy to assist you.