Level 5 Diploma in Professional Acting

Acting Diploma (15 Month), professional acting training, Diploma programme

Course Leader Aly Spiro and Chris Hill
Course Location Wandsworth, London / Wigan, Greater Manchester
Study Level Postgraduate
Study Mode Full Time
Course Length 15 Months
Application £45
Awarding Body Trinity College, London
Validated from 2017 to 2022
  Apply Now

The Level 5 Diploma in Professional Acting is validated by Trinity College London merit and means-tested funding is available via the Dance and Drama Awards scheme.

This is the same curriculum as the MA Professional Acting Course but students who are DaDA funded qualify for the additional qualification from Trinity College London.

The Level 5 Diploma in acting is a full-time programme that has three taught terms followed by two performance terms which includes 2 theatre productions (one in collaboration with a professional theatre company), recording a short film and a showcase in London and Manchester.

Focusing on skills and techniques needed by today's professional actor, the programme of this professional acting training encourages you to view your practice as continual self-development.

The shortness of this course demands a strong professional focus, a good level of stamina and a very high level of commitment. We welcome all applicants and typical students are those with some performance experience or those seeking a career change.

The content of the MA Professional Acting course is delivered to qualify for the Trinity award and students work alongside with the MA Acting students in their training. This covers all aspects of Theatre, TV, Film and Radio.

This is a highly practical and vocational course with projects and classes designed to develop skills, teach acting strategies for stage, screen and microphone, and strengthen students individual vocal and movement performance techniques. The DaDa funded students benefit from all the industry facing elements of the ALRA MA Course and gain an understanding of how the industry works.

  • Overview
  • Entry Requirements
  • Fees & Dates
  • Admissions and Assessment

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.


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.


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.


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.

Selection is made by audition. 
See Audition Guidelines (How to Apply)

  • If English is not your first language you must be fluent in English (You may be asked for proof of this We need a level B2 in the CEFR system (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), a level 7.5 in the TEEP system (Test of English for Educational Purposes) or a level 6.0 in the IELTS (International English Language Test System).
  • You must be at least 18 years old at the start of the course, although ALRA welcomes older students, especially those who are thinking about a career change.

Please refer to the fees and dates as listed in the MA Professional Acting course here

Admission follows successful audition and interview. Candidates will be contacted as soon as possible to confirm their places.

For information on our Admissions Policy click here:
Admissions Policy

ALRA understands that choosing to go to drama school is a big decision. We have put together some useful information to help you through the application process and beyond.

Here is some useful information for applicants:

  • FAQs

  • Next Interview / Audition Dates

  • Audition Guidelines

    Auditions Guidelines

    For information on Free Auditions please see this page.

    • Your Audition
    • Audition Format

    For Acting Courses

    There are new guidelines for 2020 entry, set out below:

    Each applicant is asked to prepare three audition pieces.

    • a contemporary monologue (from a play written post 2000)
    • a piece of poetry OR spoken word OR a second contemporary monologue (this piece should be contrasting from your first and can but does not have to be self-written)
    • a classical monologue (this can be Shakespearean/Jacobean/Elizabethan or an equivalent text that may be from cultures other than western classical text but contain elements of rhythm and poetry

    Please make sure you have read the whole plays your monologues come from and that it works as a stand-alone speech, not requiring input from another character.

    Ensure that you:

    • Prepare and learn your pieces thoroughly
    • Choose pieces that are close to you in age
    • Do not use props or costume
    • Use only your natural accent
    • Wear clothing that's easy to move in (i.e. no tight jeans/skirts etc.)

    ALRA is assessing you on the following qualities and abilities throughout the day: 

    • Truth, focus and concentration
    • Potential to express thought and feeling through text, movement and voice
    • Openness and responsiveness to others, imagination and creativity
    • Ability to take direction

    For further help and advice, please see our FAQ Audition Advice Videos

    Other Courses

    MA Directing

    Applicants for the MA Directing course must sign up to an assessment day for the course here.

    On the application they must provide 500 words (in the personal statement section) on their interest and experience in Directing/Theatre.

    On the assessment day applicants will complete the following:

    • A workshop
    • A directing task
    • An interview

    In the workshop, the applicant will be assessed on ensemble, performance and skill.

    The directing task (with ALRA acting students or graduates) is designed to explore communication as well as investigate the applicant’s artistic concept. This task will be presented then artistic rationale of the task will be discussed with the Course Leader and other senior members of faculty.

    Finally, at interview, applicants will demonstrate sufficient potential to develop their personal creative process within the field of directing. The applicant will discuss their reasons for wanting to take the course and discuss their experience which demonstrates aspects of the relevant work.

    MA Teaching (Creative Performance Practice)

    Applicants can sign up to an interview date of their choice and once this is complete they will be emailed with a time. This can be done here.

    Applicants are asked to send their CV along with 500 words about their experience and interest in teaching to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at least 24 hours in advance of their interview.

    At interview, applicants will demonstrate sufficient potential to develop their personal creative process within the field of teaching. The applicant will discuss their reasons for wanting to take the course and discuss their CV and experience which demonstrates aspects of the relevant work. 

    MFA Linklater Teaching Practice (Voice and Theatre Arts)

    On the assessment day applicants will present the following:

    • A Classical Speech (this can be Shakespearean/Jacobean/Elizabethan or an equivalent text that may be from cultures other than western classical text but contain elements of rhythm and poetry)
    • A Contemporary Speech
    • A Song (unaccompanied verse and chorus of any chosen song)

    Applicants will then take part in a workshop where they will be assessed on ensemble, performance and skill.

    Finally, applicants will be invited to interview.

    ALRA offers various provisions for access to our full-time courses for applicants:

    • Auditions, Interviews & Workshops at ALRA North & South Campus
    • Workshops & Auditions at Private Outreach  Venues
    • Auditions, Interviews & Workshops at Regional UK Venues
    • Preliminary Online Assessments for International Students
    • Auditions, Interviews & Workshops at International Venues
    • Collaborative Partnerships

    ALRA follows the ‘Auditioning and interviewing for Dance & Drama Code of Practice’ as detailed on the CDMT and EFA websites.

    Audition Days (All Acting Courses)

    Selection is made by audition that takes place over one day. Applicants will be considered based on performance of text, vocal and physical suitability and individual interview.

    The day will consist of two stages.

    Stage 1 all applicants will perform their two contrasting contemporary audition pieces (see Your Audition tab above).

    At this point the panel will consider all applicants and decide who will progress to the next stage.

    Stage 2 applicants will participate in a workshop, perform their classical monologue and finally be invited to interview.

    There are opportunities to talk to staff and students throughout the audition process.

    Audition Day Format

    This is a rough format of how a typical audition day runs.*

    Stage 1

    • 9.00 – 9.30: Arrival and Registration
    • 9.30 – 10.15: Warm Up
    • 10.15 – 11.15: Audition Piece One
    • 11.30 – 12.30: Audition Piece Two

    Stage Two (for applicants who progress onto this stage)

    • 1.00 – 2.00: Workshop
    • 2.00 – 3.30: Audition Piece Three
    • 3.30: Interview

    *Please note that the times given may vary, dependant on numbers. 

    Audition Results

    ALRA operates an Equal Opportunities Policy: all candidates will be assessed on their potential to meet the demands of the course and considered entirely on the basis of merit. Those showing the most aptitude at audition will be considered for Dance and Drama Awards.  

    The audition panel for all full-time courses are run by Course Leaders, Lead Tutors and Senior Staff members, final selection is completed by the Principal and Registrar.

    Successful applicants will have demonstrated a significant degree of talent, ability, preparation, aptitude and commitment as well as the ability to make a positive contribution to, and benefit from training with ALRA. 

    Audition results are usually processed and sent out via email as well as available on the Audition Management System within ten working days of the date of audition. ALRA always aspires to inform applicants of the audition result within this timeframe but during busier times results can take longer and we ask for patience and understanding in these circumstances.


    Feedback from Auditionees

    • Thank you for the opportunity, and for providing a thoroughly enjoyable experience... even if I don't get a place I have loved the experience.
      Natasha Davidson
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  • Fees & Funding

  • International Applications

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Reasons to study at ALRA
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    ALRA is a leading conservatoire drama school with a reputation for training hard working, fully-rounded professional actors.
  • ALRA’s acting training includes specialist instruction in stage, film, TV, audio, comedy, voice and movement and is supported with contextual studies to prepare for work.
  • ALRA is a leading conservatoire drama school with a reputation for training hard working, fully-rounded professional actors.
  • ALRA has built strong relationships within the industry and our showcases and productions are directed and attended by agents, directors, casting directors, writers, producers and our own inspiring Alumni.
  • ALRA’s resident teams are dedicated, talented professionals with a wealth of knowledge and experience and a passion for teaching. Our students are supported in all aspects of their studies.
  • ALRA’s reputation of securing opportunities for students grows each year and our Alumni are working in the West End, Regional and Touring Theatre Productions, as well as in Film, TV and Comedy both in the UK and beyond.
  • ALRA recruits a comparatively small number of students each year so that everybody has our full attention and feels part of the school from the moment they arrive.
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Awarding Bodies

Trinity College | Accredited Acting Course

Institutional Accreditations

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CDMT Accredited School Award
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OFSTED outstanding provider | ALRA accreditation

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