ALRA Acting Schools in London & Manchester

Overview

The ALRA MA Professional Acting Course (15 months) is a full-time actor training programme that has three taught terms followed by two performance terms; including one theatre production, recording a film scene and showcases in both London and Manchester.

ALRA’s postgraduate modules focus on the skills and techniques needed for professional acting today. The MA Acting programme encourages you to view your performance practice as continual development and as a means to further your particular strengths.

This acting course includes most aspects of a Drama School BA (Hons) Acting module but is delivered at a fast-tracked pace. Students work individually and as an ensemble with projects in screen acting as well as radio and theatre acting, movement, voice and other vital techniques of the performing arts with opportunities for audition practice to a professional panel.

The brevity and intensity of this programme demands a strong professional focus, a good level of stamina and an excellent level of commitment. Whilst we welcome all applicants, typical students are those with some performance experience who perhaps have already had a taste of the acting profession, or those seeking to change career or study at Postgraduate or Masters level.

This is a highly practical course with a comparatively high amount of contact hours which reflects the demands of the industry students are preparing to enter.

Teaching Patterns and Methods

There are six modules including a public performance module affording students four separate performance opportunities and a self-directed practical research project which culminates in a performance in an area of speciality.

  • The 30 credit module is a mixture of workshops and taught classes of 18 hours a week contact time over 24 weeks.
  • The 20 credit modules are taught practical classes of between 6 and 8 hours a week contact time over 24 weeks.
  • The 10 credit module is a taught class with occasional seminars of between 2-4 hours a week contact time over 24 weeks.

Acting and Performance Studies 1

This module is a combination of practical and theoretical classes covering accepted methodologies of (not exclusively) Stanislavski, Hagen and Johnstone in Acting Technique and Scene Study and then applied and furthered in Acting for Camera and Acting for Radio. Students work on a variety of texts from Ancient Greek to Contemporary scripts.

Six Scene Study presentations are assessed in studio conditions in front of a peer audience. An Actors Working Notebook from one of the scene studies is assessed. This is supported by a theatre visit each term and relevant workshops with outside practitioners at the end of each term.

Voice Studies

This module is taught by voice specialists, qualified in voice to Masters level. Using accepted methodologies including, although not exclusively, Linklater, Berry and Houseman. The module covers voice production and application to text and is assessed through three vocal presentations to peer audiences over the 24 weeks, and vocal articulacy is assessed through a phonetics test and 2 x 300 word essays. This is supported by a theatre visit each term and relevant workshops with outside practitioners at the end of each term.

Actor Movement

This module is taught by movement specialists qualified in movement to Masters level or equivalent in conservatoire international training programmes. This module ranges from a core understanding of how the body works to application of movement to character through the methodologies of, although not exclusively, Laban, Lecoq and Chekhov. Supported by an intensive experience of stage combat, the module is assessed through one solo movement presentation and one group presentation. A critical and reflective blog is also submitted as a formative assessment.

Contextual Studies

Lectures and seminars explores an actor’s Approach to working with text (script analysis from the actor’s point of view) and character development. Methodologies of, although not exclusively, Stanislavski, Hagen and Johnstone, are applied. Employment opportunities and career pathways are also considered. Assessment is through the submission of an Actor’s Working Notebook (preparation based on an actual text) and an essay on Character Development (3000 words).

Performance

Acting for Camera

Actors work under professional conditions with professional directors who are current in the acting profession. The Film Project is led by a professional film or television director, using a professional director of photography and sound engineer. Students rehearse and record a ten-minute bespoke script over the period of three weeks.

Acting for Stage

Working with a professional director and supported by a stage management team, students prepare and rehearse an extant script which is performed to the public and industry for at least four performances.

Showcase

Working with a professional director or casting director, students select short scenes which are rehearsed over a period of three weeks and performed in a London and Manchester theatre to an audience of industry specialists.

Assessment is through the final performances of the Film Project, Public Production and Showcase.

Practical Research Project

Students choose between research into a specialised area or production of a theatre company.

In the area of specialisation the student researches practitioners and/or companies in order to develop a substantial performance which can be live or recorded and is presented to a peer group audience. The research is supported by a rationale. Assessment is on the performance of specialisation (20 – 25 minutes) and a supporting rationale (4000 words).

The theatre company option allows students to work individually or as a group, taking on the necessary roles in order to produce their own theatre production (develop the performance, find a venue, publicise the event). The event will be recorded for assessment purposes. The work will be supported by a business plan and evaluation. (4000 words.)

Students are supported with rehearsal space, studio time and specialist equipment as applicable. Studio technicians offer instruction in the use of equipment and software. For live work, students are allocated a technician 2 days before the performance to aid with technical and dress rehearsals.

At the start of each year there is an intensive induction which introduces the students to teaching methods, research methods, facilities and resources.

Assessment Strategy

Students are assessed through performance and presentations and also through essays, journals, blogs, v-logs and podcasts.

Assessment is weighted around public performances which is an intense learning experience, allowing the student to apply skills and strategies acquired on the module and indicating suitability to practice as a professional actor.

Formative assessment tasks which happen throughout the module are marked as Pass/Fail only. This is to encourage students to focus on the experiential and experimental nature of the work over the need to achieve impressive marks.

As is usual in theatre training, students are given constant formative feedback in practical classes as well as more formal feedback on their written assignments and practical projects in tutorials.

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