Actor Training and Coaching, MA/MFA


MA, one year, full-time; two years, part-time. October start. MFA, two years, full-time, October start. On-site attendance between July and October is not mandatory.


Master of Arts in Actor Training and Coaching (180 credits); Master of Fine Art in Actor Training and Coaching (240 credits)

About the course

Together with the MA/MFA Voice Studies and the MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching courses, Actor Training and Coaching is one of Central’s postgraduate degrees that exposes you to high-level training practice.

The course does not train actors, but develops a practical understanding of what it is to act, enabling you to work as an actor trainer, coach, theatre practitioner and a director of actors.

  • Create approaches through research and practice in training methodologies and through specialist teaching
  • Learn pedagogical tools for coaching and teaching actors
  • Benefit from wide-reaching placement opportunities.

See 'Course detail' for more information.

Course Detail

During terms one to three, you may expect to encounter work associated with, for example, Stanislavski, Chekhov, Meyerhold, Bogart, Lecoq, Grotowski and Meisner, and methodologies appropriate for acting for screen. Teaching methods include tutorials, group seminars and workshops.

You will develop advanced interpersonal, facilitation, coaching and pedagogy skills. These include:

  • how to research, plan and deliver courses;
  • obtaining knowledge of a wide range of acting methodologies and practices - as well as some movement and voice - in the education and support of actors;
  • research skills, both as an individual and through group research; presentation skills and an ability to plan, conduct and critically reflect on your own practice as an actor trainer/practitioner.


In the MA and the MFA first year, there is the opportunity for you to undertake a teaching/assistant directing/coaching placement, as well as placements to engage with different acting and production contexts with the duration ranging from eight hours to three months.

Placements are a vital part of the course and will enable you to develop experience and hone skills as a pedagogue/practitioner. If you are pursuing the part-time pathway, you will undertake placements in the second year of your course.

The MFA second year widens your opportunity to practise knowledge within a professional context. You will be expected to undertake one or two workplace attachments, as well as participate in tutorials and occasional seminars throughout the year as part of an ongoing process of pedagogical reflection and engagement leading to the submission of the final assessment. An MFA top-up year for those of you with an existing MA in this subject is also available.


Assessment during the first three terms of both courses is through written work, presentation and teaching practice. In the MA fourth term (part-time second year) you will work towards a final dissertation or portfolio. In the MFA second year, assessment is by means of an extended dissertation or portfolio (inclusive of case studies, reflective documentation and plans of work) manifesting responses to attachment/s and practice.

Download MA/MFA Actor Training and Coaching Programme Specification 2019-2020.pdf (1.18 MB)

Entry Requirements and Admissions

You will normally have a degree or an equivalent qualification in a subject that includes an element of theatre or performance practice; or have a degree and can provide evidence of previous training and experience with performance disciplines; or have a strong acting or actor training background and at least two years’ professional experience in the acting industry. An offer will normally only be made after audition and interview.

An MFA top-up year for those with an existing MA in this subject is also available.

We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented in higher education, such as students with disabilities and members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups. Find out more information on Central’s commitment to equality and diversity.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to prove their English language proficiency by gaining an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications. Applicants are advised to gain this certification as early as possible and more information can be found on the English Language Requirements page. 


If you are selected for an interview for a place on the Actor Training and Coaching, MA or MFA courses, we will require you to undertake the following:

  • you will be expected to lead/teach a warm-up or short exercise for 15-20 minutes, determined in negotiation with students at the audition. This will be for up to 6 students and/or auditioning candidates. You are also expected to participate in the exercises led by other candidates, so please dress appropriately."
  • hand in a short piece of writing (300 words) that evaluates your own working process as a practitioner
  • participate in a short interview in order to discuss your experience in relation to acting/actor training (including your perceived strengths and needs), your understanding of issues relating to acting and performance and your preparedness for the course.

The interview process will also give you an opportunity to find out more about the course and the School.

International Interviews

Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central travelling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.

Distance Interviews

Central does allow applicants to undertake a distance interview for these courses. If you live abroad and are unable to attend an interview in person you may, at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor, be offered the opportunity of a distance interview. If you are selected for interview in this manner you will be contacted (normally by email) in order to arrange a suitable time for an interview. This will be conducted on Skype, telephone or by ‘live’ email exchange and will normally be based upon material you will have been asked to submit in advance. The interview will be conducted by the Admissions Tutor in liaison with a colleague who will have sight of your submitted materials.

For further information see the How to Apply section.

International Students

Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.

Industry Links

In the past, students have benefitted from working both on other courses (undergraduate and postgraduate) at Central and in external institutions. These have included various roles at:

  • the Central Film School
  • London Film Academy
  • Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
  • Arts Educational Schools
  • East 15 Acting School
  • Guildford School of Acting
  • Drama Centre London
  • Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
  • Academy of Live and Recorded Arts
  • Rose Bruford College
  • Kingston University
  • Royal Holloway University of London
  • London Metropolitan University
  • Tricycle Theatre
  • The Actors Centre
  • London Bubble Theatre Company.

Recent Visiting Professionals

Recent visiting professionals on the MA/MFA Actor Training and Coaching course include:

  • Alison Hodge (Twentieth-Century Actor Training)
  • Ally Cologna (director and teacher)
  • Lucinka Eisler (joint artistic director Inspector Sands Theatre Company)
  • Mike Alfreds (founding director Shared Experience and author of Different Every Night)
  • Bella Merlin (performer, director, Professor of Acting and Directing UC Riverside, author of The Complete Stanislavski Toolkit and Facing the Fear)
  • John Gillett (director, teacher and author of Acting on Impulse: Reclaiming the Stanislavski Approach)
  • Peta Lily (performer/theatre maker, workshop leader)
  • Izumi Ashizawa (director and faculty member of Theatre NYU Stony Brook)
  • Brian Astbury (teacher, director and founding Artistic Director of The Space, South Africa, and The Forge Initiative, London)
  • John Wright (co-founding Director of Trestle Theatre and Told by an Idiot, author of Why Is That So Funny?)
  • Mel Churcher (acting coach and author of Acting for Film)
  • Brigid Panet (teacher, workshop leader and author of Essential Acting)
  • Peader Kirk (director and performance maker)
  • Irina Brown (director, teacher). 

Notable Graduates

Notable graduates of this course include:

Miriam Lucia (2010) Founded the Clerkenwell Actors Studio, which operates as an ongoing training for professional actors.  

Owain Rose (2015) is a freelance Theatre Director and Acting Lecturer. He has previously worked for Camden Youngstarz Theatre, Identity Drama School and The University of Northampton.

Lowri-Ann Richards (2012) is now a freelance Acting Coach and has previously worked with, Cambridge Performing Arts College, The International School of Screen Acting and ArtsEd.

Juanita Mora (2010) Has previously worked as an Artistic Director for, BEinspired Entertainment, West Avenue Theatre Company and The British International School.

Teresa Grimsditch (2007) is now a freelance Tutor and has previously worked for a number of arts institutions such as, The Actors Centre, The National Film and Television School and The University of Arts, London. 

Graduate Employment

Graduate employment and career pathways have included:

Acting Tutor

Arts Educational Schools, Central, Drama Centre London, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Rose Bruford College, Kingston University, London Film Academy, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, East 15 Acting School, National Theatre Education, Drama Centre London, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, National Film and Television School, The Actors Centre, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, St Mary’s University Twickenham, Method Studios, Northampton University, Falmouth University, University of St Mark and St John Plymouth, Brunel University London, Bangkok University, Toronto University, and institutions in the USA, Malaysia, Korea, Albania and Greece.


National Theatre, The Watermill Theatre and other regional theatres, London Fringe and West End.


at Central, Exeter University, Kent University, Queen Mary University of London, Kingston University and Oxford University.

Founder members of companies and acting studios working as freelance actor trainers and coaches. 

Staff on the Course

View profiles of the academic staff who teach on these courses. Click on each staff member to find out more about them.

Amanda Brennan, BA, MA

Principal Lecturer, Course Leader MA Acting for Screen

Prof. Geoffrey Colman, BA, MA, FRSA

Head of Acting, Programme Leader BA (Hons) Acting

Dr Jessica Hartley BA, MA, PGCE, PhD, SFHEA

Lecturer, Theatre and Performance Studies
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