Unique in both the UK and the world, East 15 Acting School’s BA Acting and Stage Combat course provides a professional, vocational training in stage combat and performance. The course enables you to develop a variety of physical performance skills that combine discipline, focus and emotional connection. These include, but are not limited to, training in martial arts, gymnastics and multiple theatrical weapon systems.
Applicants must be able to face the strenuous physical demands of this course, which is ideal if you have a physical background and want to develop your skills in a creative context using your whole body to express character and story.
Students prepare to follow a career path in theatre, film, television and performance capture where they may choose to become actors, action performers or action directors, movement specialists or continue their training to become instructors in related fields.
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.
Why we’re great
- Advanced skills in multiple forms of stage combat.
- Intensive acting skill training by leading UK and international faculty.
- Acting for camera.
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.
Over the years, a number of East 15 graduates have gone on to become leading actors, fight directors and stunt and specialist performers. This work extends from performing and choreographing staged fights on film, television, in the theatre, opera and ballet, to re-enactments of historic battles, animal and mechanical costume operating work for films as well as motion capture and green screen performance for the film and games industries.
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 combines an intensive focus on stage combat and physical training along with acting techniques working from the East 15 philosophy, which is rooted in Stanislavski principles, character work and the creation of a fictitious yet truthful world. You will also:
- Acquire and practice skills in numerous theatrical weapon systems
- Train in physical skills such as martial arts, contact improvisation and gymnastics
- Experience methods of acting from the traditional inside-outside methodology, as well as exploring outside-in approaches
Your traditional performance training is supplemented with voice, movement, Commedia dell’Arte, devising and contextual studies which help you to understand the skills you learn in terms of their historical significance and contemporary potential.
Your second year continues to combine aspects of stage combat and physical training with the development of your acting abilities. This includes:
- Skills such as voice, singing, and movement for actors
- Different methods of rehearsal and further exploration into the scenic unit from a choreographic standpoint
- Introduction to film and screen work
- Exploring advanced weapons systems and continued training in martial arts
- Further gymnastics training alongside learning the principles of acrobatics and tumbling, as well as classical and social dance and storytelling using a variety of physical skills
Your core skills training is integrated into performance and refined through projects in Shakespeare, animal studies and devised work. In the final term, students have the opportunity to apply their skills in a professional performance environment.
All work is supported with classes in contextual studies covering 20th Century Performance and the History of Fights on Film.
Final year students will immediately notice the change in focus from the units of the first and second years. There is no longer an intense focus on building skills in specific weapon disciplines. The goal of the final year student is to combine combat training, acting skills and enhanced creativity to given circumstances.
You will move from being performers of stage fights and explore choreography, which will call upon a variety of physical and contextual skills. You will study the logic and progression of story line and character action within a stage fight and explore the different presentational requirements of a variety of performance venues in a range of scenarios and production briefs. You will be given opportunities to put your ideas into practice and will learn how to communicate your ideas to others.
You will be introduced to another group of theatre practitioners who will directly affect your practice: the technical department consisting of designers, costume and wardrobe, stage managers etc. and experience the demands of sustaining performance in a technical production.
Throughout the year you will:
- Perform in a number of public productions, including text-based performances and a devised show
- Harness and develop your skills through further study of stage combat in performance – looking specifically at choreography and fights for film
- Continue on-screen work by performing in scenes for camera
- Create your own devised work through a graduation project
You will also prepare for the professional arena with sessions in audition technique, personal management skills and the process of production preparation.
The year culminates with an Industry Showcase for an invited audience of influential agents, casting directors, theatre companies, and film, 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.