ALRA Acting Schools in London & Manchester

Overview

The ALRA Level 5 Diploma in Professional Acting (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 40 credit modules composed of two that include a mixture of workshops and taught classes of 18 hours a week contact time over 24 weeks and one self led independent project.
  • The 20 credit modules are taught practical classes of between 6 and 8 hours a week contact time over 24 weeks.

Acting

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 Classic Texts.

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.

Actor Voice

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.

Entrepreneurship and Acting

This module introduces learners to the various processes of preparing characters based on textual investigation. Learners will also learn how to use research and reflection to enhance their career prospects. Through embedding technology in the assessment submission format, the module will allow learners to use open source technology to prepare for showcasing their skills and explaining their knowledge and understanding of complex acting concepts delivered to a range of audiences. Assessment is through the creation of an actor’s website and the creation of a digital rationale.

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.

Personal Research Project 

Students will be asked to create an original 20 - 30 minute live performance for theatre or a recorded piece for film, television or radio which is presented to a peer group or outside audience.

Learners will be required to submit a 4000 word rationale or append a 15 -20 minute video or audio rationale, as part of the PRP submission. The rationale will contextualise their piece of work in relation to a range of practices or practitioners relevant to their performance. They will outline the process they undertook and explain the conceptual aim of their research. 

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 or journals, blogs, v-logs and podcasts. It is important to note that ALRA supports students who struggle with academic writing to establish critical and evaluative skills through alternative submission formats.

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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