Audition Process - BA Acting

Above: Preparing for an Acting Audition at Central (click to watch)

If you are selected for an audition for a place on any of the BA (Hons) Acting courses - ActingActing (CDT) or Acting (Musical Theatre) - we will require you to prepare the following. All candidates will be considered for all three BA (Hons) Acting courses through the one audition, and should prepare all requirements, regardless of their preferred course:

  • Two memorised classical speeches – these can be of your own choosing, but you can see our classical speech lists for an indication of what applicants have used in the past. Neither speech should be more than two minutes in duration.
  • One memorised contemporary speech – written after 1960 and no more than two minutes in duration. Speeches are not to be chosen from film scripts.
  • Two memorised songs* – one song must be from a musical (please bring the sheet music for this song, in the key you wish to sing – this should be arranged for easy use by the pianist; i.e., pages joined together, not in book form). The second song can be of your own choosing and is sung unaccompanied. Neither song should be more than two minutes in duration. PLEASE NOTE: a trained singing voice is not required for admission.

* If you do not wish to sing, you will not be made to do so. We recommend that applicants do prepare these songs, as sometimes our panellists may see something in you that you were not aware of yourself; they may feel that you are more suited for musical theatre even if you have less experience in this field. It is also permitted to perform a poem instead of a song if you feel more comfortable doing so – this will also give our panellists an opportunity to evaluate your voice and performance.

For your speeches, we recommend that you do not select extracts from audition speech books. You must be prepared to answer questions about the entire play from which your selection is chosen. Therefore, an extract will not help in the preparation of the chosen piece, so please make sure you read the whole play. We are not able to discuss the choice of audition material prior to your audition date. Please note that the two-minute time limit for each speech and song will be adhered to, but do not let that affect your preparation and performance – it is better to not complete the full speech/song than to rush it.

Candidates are asked to wear/bring sensible plain clothes and comfortable flat footwear that provide for a freedom of movement (i.e., flexible and comfortable). Please do not wear jeans, skirts, hipster trousers or revealing tops. It is recommended that candidates wear minimal or only natural make-up and also wear only necessary jewellery (preferably only earring studs and no rings). We advise candidates to eat well before their audition day.

First Round Audition (All Applicants)

The First Round audition begins with a short morning talk, which provides information about the structure of the audition day and further information on the curriculum of the courses offered. During the talk you will be assigned to a specific audition group and asked to fill in a form indicating the speeches that you have prepared. Following the talk, you will be involved (in no particular order) in an orientation and tour, and a group audition session.

The group audition session will feature a panel comprised of representatives from each of the three BA (Hons) Acting courses. You will take part in vocal and physical workshop activities, and will perform your contemporary speech, one of your classical speeches and your unaccompanied song (if you wish to sing). This session, which may last for approximately two to three hours, will enable the panel to see you work in a group environment as well as your individual ability and potential.

The orientation and tour provides candidates with an opportunity to meet current students and to ask questions about the curriculum, and to see Central’s facilities.

Following lunch (not provided), candidates will be notified if we would like to see them for an afternoon ‘initial recall’ session.

Afternoon Initial Recall Session (Selected Applicants)

If you are asked to stay for the afternoon initial recall (until 6.00pm at the latest), the panellists will investigate your suitability for the course in more detail. You may be asked to do any or all of the following in your second round audition: repeat your audition speeches, perform your second classical speech, workshop your speeches, undertake improvisations, participate in a physical and vocal workshop, sing unaccompanied, participate in a vocal assessment, participate in a brief interview. Those candidates selected by the Acting (Musical Theatre) course for the afternoon session will be required to sing their accompanied song.

Not all of those elements will be applicable to, or required from, all applicants. The amount of time we spend with individual candidates at the initial recall stage will vary according to what further we need to see from each individual, and candidates should not read anything into the amount of time we spend with them in the initial recall session.

Candidates who are successful at the initial audition day will be invited for a final recall audition at a later date.

Final Recall Audition (Selected Applicants)

If you are called for a final recall audition, you will normally participate in further intensive workshop sessions involving voice, movement and acting, and focus further on your original choice of speeches. You may be asked to present a self-devised physical theatre piece and those selected for the Acting (Musical Theatre) course will be required to prepare two accompanied songs from the musical theatre repertoire. Selected candidates will be notified by email, which will also detail exactly what they will need to prepare for the session.

We reserve the right to vary the content and structure of the auditions without prior notice.

All applicants will be notified of the final outcome of their application through UCAS, which may be several weeks after their audition.

Criteria and Qualities for Acceptance

In auditioning and interviewing potential students, we look for:


Evidence of:

  • a serious, ongoing commitment to an acting career in the professional theatre;
  • fluent written and spoken English (equivalent to IELTS level 7.0);
  • a trainable vocal, physical and imaginative/emotional skills;
  • potential benefit from the study in acting offered at Central;
  • an ability to understand, interpret and embody a dramatic text;
  • an ability to participate actively in group or ensemble situations.


Presence of:

  • a readiness to take risks, and an open, receptive and enquiring mind;
  • enthusiasm and readiness for hard, rigorous work requiring sustained concentration;
  • a sense of language and rhythm, and the potential for identification with the thought process of a dramatic text;
  • the ability to portray and inhabit an imagined or fictional situation;
  • physical, vocal and imaginative/emotional skills with significant theatrical potential.

UK Regional Auditions

Central hosts auditions in Bristol, Leicester, Manchester and Newcastle for the BA (Hons) Acting courses. These will take place in February each year. The UK regional auditions will follow the same outline as the London interviews, minus the tour, though you will still have the opportunity to ask questions about finance, accommodation and student life.

International Auditions 

Central hosts international interviews for the BA (Hons) Acting courses. These will take place on selected dates in New York, San Francisco, Singapore and Sydney. The auditions will follow the same outline as the London interviews, minus the tour, though you will still have the opportunity to ask questions about finance, accommodation and student life.