School of Humanities and Performing Arts

MA Acting

MA Acting is a full time programme that works for you with innovative online modules and intensive advanced acting workshops culminating in a Solo Showcase supported by Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Integrated classes with final year students of our Equity and Spotlight accredited BA Acting programme enable intergenerational collaboration and make MA Acting students part of the rich cultural life of our vibrant, diverse and accessible Plymouth Conservatoire community.

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Join Plymouth Conservatoire

This programme is delivered through Plymouth Conservatoire - a unique collaboration between the University and Theatre Royal Plymouth, providing training and professional experience that will set talented students apart in today’s arts and creative industries.

Plymouth Conservatoire

Key features

  • Solo Showcase performance with Theatre Royal Plymouth.
  • Work professionally alongside your studies with innovative digital modules.
  • Train and study your craft with leading researchers in the field.
  • Integrated teaching with final year Equity and Spotlight accredited Acting programme.
  • World class and award-winning studios and theatre spaces.

Course details

  • Year 1
    • Dramaturgy for Actors: a digital module offering online task, exercises and fora as well as face-to-face expert tuition in techniques and tools of dramaturgy to support the research that you do on a role.
    • Advanced Acting Workshop: with discrete classes and integrated workshops with our fully accredited BA Acting programme this module offers intensive practical teaching in advanced acting practices.
    • Actor’s Digital Profile: year-long development of your online profile and multi-platform digital strategy using web-based tools to market yourself and your work, increase your employability and expand your creative networks.
    • Philosophies of Training: peer group fora and one-to-one mentoring support from the programme leader, John Matthews, in writing and publishing about your own research and practice.
    • Solo Showcase: supported by Theatre Royal Plymouth creatives you will develop and premiere your own one-hander show.

Entry requirements

Our audition process is inclusive and accessible, and completely free. Applicants should submit a ‘showreel’ (all common media file formats are acceptable) comprising footage of two pre-selected audition pieces (max. 3 minutes each) and a personal statement (max 2 minutess). Up to 10 minutes additional showreel material can be included professional projects. 

Applicants will normally hold a 2:1 degree or above from a UK university, or equivalent professional experience. Candidates without a first degree will have to demonstrate evidence of a sustained engagement in relevant professional practice. Applicants need not necessarily hold an undergraduate degree in a theatre-related subject in order to apply.

IELTS score of 7 or equivalent required for overseas students. 

Accredited Experience Prior Learning (APEL) and Accredited Certified Prior Learning (APCL) up to 60 credits /equivalency will be considered on a case by case basis. Submission of additional showreel and a professional CV, as well as 500 word contextualising statement would be required in this case.

Initial enquiries should be made to the Programme Leader, Dr John Matthews (

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2020 2021
Home/EU £7,800 To be confirmed
International £14,800 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) £450 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Plymouth Conservatoire

The only Conservatoire in the UK where students can benefit from the unique mix of expertise on offer when a theatre and a university combine.

Experts from the University of Plymouth and Theatre Royal Plymouth work together to give talented students training and professional experience that will set them apart in today’s arts and creative industries. Here, performing arts students – actors, dancers, and theatre-makers - will have the very best, up-to-date industry expertise, research and teaching practice as well as unrivalled access to professional opportunities.

Discover Plymouth Conservatoire

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<p>John Matthews teaching acting</p>
<p>John Matthews teaching acting<br></p>
<p>John Matthews teaching acting<br></p>
<p>John Matthews teaching acting<br></p>

Programme Leader, Dr John Matthews

John’s performance credits include BBC drama and radio as well as stage productions across the UK as both an actor and director. A recognised specialist in the subject of training, John is the author of three books in the field - The Life of Training, Training for Performance, and Anatomy of Performance Training. As the inuagral Research Fellow of the Stanislavski Centre, John taught and presented his research at the country’s leading drama schools and he has received an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship for his work in performer training.

Find out more about John's experience and research interests

MA Acting team