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Try a short course and train with Helen Mirren or Samuel L Jackson

Samuel L Jackson teaches on MasterClass. Photo: MasterClass Samuel L Jackson teaches on MasterClass. Photo: MasterClass
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There are many excellent short courses in acting and musical theatre, some of which are taught by leading professionals in the industry. Whether a beginner or a professional, there’s a wide range of intensive learning opportunities to improve your craft. Here is a selection of what’s available.

The Actors Centre

Location: Covent Garden, London

The Actors Centre supports actors throughout their careers. Whether you are looking to start a career on stage or screen, or develop and learn new techniques, the Get Into Acting course is a taster of drama school training and a broad introduction to the craft of acting.

Get Into Screen Acting is a five-day intensive course for newcomers that is an introduction to acting and auditioning for camera.

For those wanting to go to drama school, the Drama School Audition Intensive course is a new one-day workshop. Billy Barber, a participant in the Get Into Screen Acting short course, says: “I learned so much from this course and have taken away many skills that I will apply for the rest of my life. This course exceeded all my expectations.”

Giles Foreman Centre for Acting

Location: Soho, London

GFCA is a boutique centre for acting, with its own studios that specialise in method acting. The school provides intensive short courses for beginners and professional actors. Classes are taught by regular and visiting tutors, many of whom are internationally renowned. This includes Christopher Fettes (joint founder of Drama Centre London) and Lorrie Hull, the only instructor chosen by Lee Strasberg to teach his course Understanding the Method.

Currently there are evening classes on: the Meisner technique, improvisation, voice, movement and acting. The next four-day intensive workshop runs from December 17-20.

Goldsmiths University of London

Location: New Cross, London

Goldsmiths offers a six-week evening course called Comedy Improvisation: Commanding Your Audience. The teachings encourage students to uncover their funny side, while becoming more confident, creative and collaborative. It draws on a range of methods and theories, including psychologist Albert Bandura’s research on self-efficacy and agency, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory and autotelic enjoyment ideology.

There is also a new 10-week short course in musical theatre. West End practitioners teach students techniques in acting, singing and dancing. It aims to give students an understanding of international musical theatre, as well as learning musical routines taught in the bespoke dance and movement studio.

Independent Centre For Acting Training

Location: Manchester

ICAT’s courses are designed for adults of all experiences to train under respected working artists. The school offers short courses on Shakespeare, artist development and the action principles of Mike Alfreds. All of the staff have trained and worked professionally. Principal and teacher Simon Trinder has appeared in 13 productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at Shakespeare’s Globe and at the Royal Court. His TV credits include Ordinary Lies (BBC) and Without You (ITV).

Helen Mirren teaches on Masterclass. Photo: MasterClass
Helen Mirren teaches on Masterclass. Photo: MasterClass


Location: Online

Materclass is an online platform where students are taught by leading professionals. Helen Mirren and Samuel L Jackson both run courses on acting. Topics in Mirren’s masterclass include: choosing roles, breaking down a script, Shakespeare, creating characters and film acting techniques. She also invites students to join her on a case study of some of the parts she’s played, including the Queen. Jackson’s masterclass include: creating characters, physical characterisation, breaking down a script, voice and character, auditioning, and enriching your acting practice. Jackson works with students in the studio on using their voice and body, emotional depth, and making a character their own.

National Youth Theatre

Location: Nationwide

The National Youth Theatre is a registered charity and is committed to the development of young people. Many renowned actors have been a part of NYT, including Idris Elba, Daniel Craig, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helen Mirren and Rosamund Pike. NYT offers intensive skills-based courses. It will be holding six-day masterclasses in London and Manchester this month, and in London and Norwich in February 2019. Subjects include acting for screen, Shakespeare and audition technique.


Location: Goodge Street, London

For beginners, there is A Taste of RADA workshops. These offer a sample of RADA’s training in voice, movement, improvisation, acting techniques, devising and scene study. For professionals, there is the advanced-level acting Shakespeare, in which experienced actors expand their awareness of Shakespearean text over several weeks. The school also offers short courses in specialist stage combat and musical theatre.

Previous summer school student Patricia Magno Arizu says: “RADA never disappointed. From its academic and dramatic depth and breadth to the generosity of its teachers, it offered a safe place to explore and grow.”

Students on a RADA short course
Students on a RADA short course

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Location: Swiss Cottage, London

Central’s wide portfolio of short courses provides part-time opportunities with training available for all levels. Evening courses run on a termly basis for two evenings a week. These courses cover: voice, acting for camera, text, Shakespeare, audition technique and directing. The school also offers summer short courses. These range from a week-long stage combat course, to a three-week summer theatre company. Acting and musical theatre diplomas also run part-time from January to August.

Other notable schools providing short courses

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

• The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art, Dublin

Met Film School, London


Arts Educational Schools, London

• The International School of Screen Acting, London

Identity School of Acting, London

City Academy, holds classes in more than 40 London locations

Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting, Leeds

Central Saint Martins, London

City Lit, London

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Both Feet, Leeds and Manchester

Actor in Session, London

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