East 15 Acting School’s BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre course is renowned not only for its pioneering, highly influential training program, but also as a creative hub that produces original, bold theatrical work.
This unique and highly challenging pathway is dedicated to training multi-talented actors. We combine developing your skills as a performer with experimentation in European physical theatre, devising, creative writing, composition and cross-media art, allowing you to expand into roles such as actor/musician, actor/writer and actor/choreographer. The training is inspired by leading contemporary international companies such as Complicite, the Schaubühe and the Wooster Group.
Our philosophy sees the actor as an independent, inventive and entrepreneurial ‘artist’, and gives you the confidence and the competencies necessary to realise your artistic inclinations.
This course is taught at our picturesque Loughton Campus which is located on the edge of East London and is just a short 30 minutes by underground train from the heart of the capital’s West End theatre district.
View more undergraduate courses from East 15 Acting School, including further Actor training programs as well as behind the scenes courses in Creative Producing and Stage & Production Management.
Our expert staff
Our training is by professionals and for professionals, allowing our graduates to work successfully across the globe.
Our international, outstanding teaching faculty is made up of professionals from all areas of live and recorded performance.
Learn more about our staff here.
Our Loughton Campus is perfectly located, providing access to both the rich, cultural diversity of London and an attractive and peaceful setting in which to study.
We are just a five-minute walk from London Underground station, Debden, where you can travel in only thirty minutes to Central London, West End theatres and mainline train stations including the Eurostar.
We have three sites at our Loughton Campus – Hatfields, Roding House and Unit Four. Hatfields is a beautiful Georgian dower house, set in five acres of lawns with orchards, flowerbeds and a small lake, providing an idyllic atmosphere for study, relaxation and performance.
Just a short walk from Hatfields is Roding House, a £1.3 million facility containing 10 rehearsal rooms, a green room/café, a sound recording studio and a video editing suite, and our costume department.
Next to Roding House, Unit Four is a £1.5 million facility which is home to the Stage & Production Management department. The Unit contains a large workshop, paint shop, prop shop, prop storage facilities and teaching spaces.
Our on-site Corbett Theatre is named in honour of Harry H Corbett, a key member of Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop and early benefactor of East 15. It is used extensively for student productions and is a practical training hub for our BA Stage and Production Management students.
The building is a medieval tithe barn that was dismantled and transported to Hatfields in the 1960s. These unusual origins create a unique performance space with a special atmosphere. Renovated to include full technical facilities, tiered seating for 130 people and fitted dressing rooms, the theatre provides an excellent resource for public productions, while the adjacent Bar and Café provides a social meeting point for students and staff.
Alumni of the BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre course are participating in the industry not only as actors in theatre, film and TV, but also by staging their own work to audiences worldwide. Recent graduates have gone on to work with major companies such as the National Theatre, Complicite, Cirque Du Soleil, The Globe, Frantic Assembly, BBC and ITV.
A highlight of the graduate year is the acclaimed ‘Debut Festival’, a unique platform dedicated to staging new work written, directed, produced and performed by students. Many works have transferred to professional production in Britain and abroad, winning awards such as the Edinburgh Comedy Award, The Stage Best Ensemble, Scotsman Fringe First, Best New Musical and BFI Best Short Film. Transfer venues include the Soho Theatre, Bush Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange as well as tours to Belgium, Denmark, Iceland and New Zealand.
Festivals to which BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre students work has transferred includes;
- Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- Brighton Festival
- Latitude Festival, Southwold, Suffolk
- Pulse Festival, Ipswich
- RADAR Festival at the Bush Theatre, London
- Greenwich and Docklands Festival, London
- Vaults Festival, London
- Camden Fringe
- HighTide Festival, Halesworth
- Incoming Festival, London Diorama
- Festival 45 at the Kings Head Theatre, London
In its short history, the course has shaped a number of exciting new practitioners including film and TV actors Lily Newmark and Adam El-Hagar, writers Charlotte Josephine and Somalia Seaton, directors Bryony Shanahan and Jesse Briton, as well as major theatre companies such as Fat Rascal and Police Cops.
- Intensive acting training.
- Industry showcase.
- Creation of independent Alumni theatre and production companies.
We offer dynamic and unique courses for actors, directors, producers, technical theatre specialists and students of theatre practice. Training at East 15 draws upon 50 years of tradition combined with a keen sense of the world of stage and screen today.
Our carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore and develop your specialist training.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
Your first year focuses on introductory acting, voice, articulation, singing and movement. You explore your own individual creativity and responsiveness to other actors. During the first year you will:
- Develop skills in observation and self-assessment
- Work alongside peers on the parallel BA Acting courses, following the traditional East 15 training and focus on the development of methodical characterisation work
- Realise your neutral starting point as part of rehearsal process and preparation
- Create individual character studies
- Learn to re-create through reflection, research and improvisation
- Understand how to act and react to emotional upheaval through a wide variety of texts
Your second year focuses on familiarisation with form and style, allowing you to explore and experiment with a range of areas, including:
- Physical expressionism, contemporary and classical text, Commedia Dell’Arte, the theatrical clown, script writing, devising, music and parody
- Exploration of form and style
You will also explore the relationship between film and theatre as well as theatre as a tool for social change. In addition, you will construct original works including an expressionist piece, physical comedy show and short film.
The year ends with a site-specific production of a classical text.
Your final year focuses primarily on staging new work. Led by visiting practitioners from the industry, students develop ideas and produce a range of different projects including new plays, burlesque and short films.
You will also receive guidance to prepare you for your post-training career with professional development classes in forming companies as well as casting exercises.
You also have opportunities to stage work in public, including a showcase event for an invited audience of influential agents, casting directors, film, voiceover, TV and theatre directors. East 15 continually liaises with industry professionals to ensure the format for the event accords with the changing landscape of the industry.