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MFA Acting (The British Tradition)

Course Description

MFA Acting (The British Tradition)

This course is rooted in practice, designed with international graduates in mind. Studying here will help you to develop a conceptual understanding of the practice of the British tradition, providing you with a progression route to an acting career or to further study at MPhil or PhD level.

It is delivered through various modes of study, such as research through practice, practice-based learning, workshops, performances, lectures and seminars as well as private study. This provides you with the experience of working in a range of styles and genres.

You will study modules taking you through the British tradition of theatre from the Middle Ages to the modern day exploring a range of acting techniques.

Modules include:

• Acting, Movement, and Voice Skills
• Shakespeare/Jacobean
• Contextual Studies
• Well-made play
• Contemporary Playwrights
• Professional development

There will also be a final research project which may be either practice or dissertation based.
This professionally oriented course has a high number of contact hours and requires students to be highly motivated and committed.


Graduates of the course will return to careers in the performance industry or in education with additional skills and a clearer understanding of British actor training and style, which will increase employment opportunities and give graduates a competitive edge in a highly competitive field.

Visit the MFA Acting (The British Tradition) page on the Birmingham City University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Danielle Pinnock

2460.jpg Danielle aged 24, from New Jersey in the USA, has gone from strength to strength after graduating from Birmingham School of Acting (BSA) in February 2013, taking home the ‘Best Actress’ award at a prestigious New York theatre festival.

Following graduation from the MA/PG Dip Acting programme Danielle entered her university dissertation project into The Strawberry One Act Theatre Festival in America in the hope of raising awareness of the varying perceptions of body image.

The Festival is a competition in which a theatre audience and a panel of notable theatre judges cast their votes to select the best play, director, actor and actress of the season.

Twice a year, hundreds of plays from across America are submitted for the popular competition.

‘I’ve always had an awareness of my body’ Speaking of her play, entitled ‘The Body Image Project’, Danielle said: “Body image has been a topic of interest of mine ever since I was a child. I’ve always had an awareness of my body for as long as I can remember.

“I recall hilarious memories of my grandmother squeezing me into church dresses and having the misfortune of wearing tights in school ballet recitals.”

‘The Body Image Project’, which Danielle produced, performed in and co-directed with Tony Award nominee Da’vine Joy Randolph, follows Danielle’s quest to find people in the US and UK to share their personal stories on their bodies, and is based on verbatim interviews.

Recalling her creative journey, Danielle said: “I’ve been into the English pubs of Exeter, into the embracing arms of Afghanistan war veterans, the hallways of New Jersey hotels and inside the most beautiful homes of Ireland.

“Even though I’ve always been the ‘chubby’ girl in school, it has never affected my love and passion to perform. Body image is a topic that I feel needs to be addressed in theatre.”

Danielle admits there was keen interest in her after her performance. “When I did the show the New York, a lot of the audience members came up to me and asked me where I trained. I loved my time at BSA. “

The ‘Best Actress’ doesn’t deny the impact her time at BSA had on her journey. “The teaching at BSA is incredible! The professors are truly amazing. With the BSA teachers I was able to accomplish more in a year than I would have at a three year programme.”

(Student Profile)

Faye Maughan

2461.jpg It is a great achievement to be acknowledged for your academic work. Acting MA graduate Faye Maughan did just that after being recognised by the British Music Hall Society for her thesis in 2013.

The prestigious society which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, holds an extensive collection of all types of music hall memorabilia including sound recordings, programmes, posters and costumes. With the anniversary coinciding with Faye's graduation it was a great honour for her MA thesis to be added to their collection.

Her final module of the course comprised of independent study and performance. Faye’s chosen subject was comparing the lives of two Victorian actresses; Ellen Terry and Vesta Tilley. While researching her project Faye contacted many invaluable sources. Due to the value of her work, Max Tyler, historian and archivist at the British Music Hall Society requested a copy of her thesis for their archives.

The MA project was supported by a performance reflecting practical skills learned throughout the year recreating the on and off-stage personas of both Ellen Terry and Vesta Tilley. Having previously trained as a professional dancer the fast-track training course has been an invaluable learning experience to Faye, providing the essential skills needed to embark on a professional acting career.

No stranger to Victorian Music Hall, Faye has performed for The Players’ Theatre Company as a soloist singing “The boy she loves is up in the gallery” as a celebration for Queen Victoria’s birthday. Another Music Hall related performance that Faye was involved in was dancing the can-can for the BBC programme “National Treasures”, at Wilton’s Music Hall, the oldest surviving Music Hall in the world.

Since graduating, Faye has starred alongside another BSA graduate Pip Barclay in a new play entitled “Kays at the Hive”. Faye regularly performs in plays and performances at historical locations with Nonsuch History and Dance Company. Faye recently returned to the Victorian era, dancing the waltz in a ballroom scene for the forthcoming feature film, “Queen of the Desert”.

Faye is looking forward to furthering her acting career wherever it may take her.


Entry Requirements

You should have some previous performance training in order to come on this course. A first degree in drama, acting or performing arts, or performance experience will be required in addition to an audition and interview.

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