East 15 Acting School’s BA Physical Theatre course is for actors who want to specialise in a world of physical and visual performance beyond traditional theatre and television. We combine dynamic, exciting acting training with devised and ensemble work, offering all you would expect from a traditional British drama school coupled with modern European performance methodologies.
We are looking for actors and performance makers who are passionate about physical performance, creating new work and re-imagining traditional text whilst working in parallel with the traditional intellectual approach to acting.
You acquire a wide skills base by experiencing areas such as aerial circus, devised storytelling, mask, mime, puppetry and clowning. This is underpinned by a core training in acting, voice, singing and movement, enabling you to create challenging new shows and to re-imagine traditional pieces for public performance.
This course is taught at our vibrant and modern Southend Campus. With its lively, state-of-the-art facilities and close-knit international community, Southend is the perfect environment for living and learning.
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 Southend Campus is based in the heart of Southend-on-Sea. A vibrant and modern British seaside town with excellent transport links.
Famous for its beach resort and pier, Southend-on-Sea stretches along seven miles of award-winning coastline. There are also over 650 acres of parks and gardens, a fun park, leisure centres, pubs, clubs, cafés and restaurants.
Southend Central railway station is opposite our Campus and the journey to central London takes less than an hour. Southend Airport, with flights to many European and UK destinations is just three miles away. We are also just one hour away from London’s Stansted Airport.
Our Gateway Building houses a purpose-built suite specifically for East 15 students. This includes fully equipped, state-of-the art rehearsal studios with panoramic views across Southend-on-Sea, plus seminar rooms, computer labs and media production resources including an Apple Mac edit suite for our BA Creative Producing (Theatre & Short Film) students.
A magnificent Victorian former church in the heart of Southend’s conservation area was converted into East 15’s Clifftown Theatre. It also houses a variety of unique spaces for rehearsals, technical and practical work and performances. The church nave, with its original organ and stained glass windows now provides an inspirational and atmospheric environment, re-designed to accommodate the needs of a twenty-first century performance space.
In ‘The Forum’ building, students have round the clock, secure access to the Learning Hub, which provides innovative IT and study spaces. The Forum also houses an integrated public and academic library, carrying books and other support materials. Students in Southend also have access to the East 15 Loughton Campus library and the University’s Colchester Campus library.
Outside of learning, the Students’ Union at our Southend Campus provides a dedicated space for students to meet, have a coffee, relax and watch films or sport. It runs a wide variety of entertainment throughout the term, such as international nights and open mic nights.
In addition to working as actors and performers on stage, film and television in the UK and across the world, BA Physical Theatre graduates have worked as puppeteers, aerial specialists, street and clown performers, and have set up their own theatre companies creating and touring new work including the award winning ‘Outbound Project’, ‘Ditto’, ‘Moth Physical Theatre’ and ‘Project Lockout’.
Graduates are currently performing in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’, ‘Life of Pi’, ‘War Horse’ and ‘A Comedy About a Bank Robbery’ and work with companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, The Globe, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Told By an Idiot, Improbable, Les Enfant Terribles, Tangled Feet, Tall Stories, Graeae, La Fura Dels Baus, Theatre Royal – Stratford, the Barbican, Contact Theatre and the National Theatre of Scotland.
- Intensive acting training.
- Aerial circus and puppetry training in specialist facilities.
- Opportunity to develop individual and ensemble performances.
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 developing the basic skills that you will use throughout your career. You will:
- Develop fundamental voice, movement and singing techniques
- Focus on acting, improvisation, Poor Theatre, devising, mask, mime, bouffon, acrobatics and contextual studies
- Work towards classroom-based performance in contemporary scenework, Poor Theatre, narrative & story theatre, mime and expressive mask
- Present your own devised work to peers through East 15’s unique ‘Theatre Café’
Many modules culminate in performances among your peers and your practical classes are supported by contextual and historical study.
During your second year, you will extend and build on the skills developed through first year and continue core work in acting, voice, movement and singing. You will also engage with more technically demanding subjects, such as:
- Aerial circus
- Object theatre & puppetry
- Commedia Del Arte
- Acting technique
Technical skills work results in two major classroom-based performance projects per term.
Your final year concentrates on professional performance and career preparation. Alongside core classes, this includes:
- Employment talks and workshops with industry professionals from major companies
- Training in acting for screen, including filming material which can be used in a professional Showreel
- Working with industry professionals on full productions in our state of the art theatre, including an ensemble devised performance, a scripted play and a self-created small group devised performance. Since 2016, we have collaborated with the artist-led international theatre company, ‘David Glass Ensemble’ to create shows that can be professionalised and taken beyond East 15
Students also undertake an Industry Showcase for an invited audience of influential agents, casting directors, film, motion capture, 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.