School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Acting

MA Acting is an innovative programme for early and mid-career actors culminating in Solo Showcase supported by Theatre Royal Plymouth. Develop your digital promotion strategy and profile, enhance your creative and professional networks and hone your craft with expert professionals in award-winning facilities.

Key features

  • Solo Showcase performance supported by Theatre Royal Plymouth.
  • Continue to work professionally alongside your studies: 154 placements this year for directors, producers, practitioners and performers including with paid placements with Jermyn Street Theatre (West End), Kneehigh and at Theatre Royal Plymouth.
  • Train and study your craft with leading researchers and practitioners.
  • World class, award-winning and fully accessible studios and theatre spaces.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Core modules

    • Dramaturgy for Actors (MACT702)

      Integrated with level 6 online 'Dramaturgy' module, students on this module will share some learning resources and experiences with final year BA students of the Directing programme. Rich blended-learning utilising online tasks and webinars is complemented by face-to-face tutorials and the development of practical performance work from play-texts.

    • Actor's Digital Profile (MACT704)

      This module will focus on exploring the different digital strategies and platforms, which serve to challenge and extend students' existing knowledge base and digital practice. This module is employment focused, using a part digital blended learning model to teach students key online materials to enhance and support their professional profiles and their personal brand.

    • Solo Showcase (MACT705)

      Being able to conceive, develop, market, promote and perform a tech-light one-hander show suitable for any festival or small-scale theatre venue is an invaluable employability skill, and this module facilitates the development of this skill through a 'real world' performance opportunity. Working with staff you will develop a full length one-hander to be performed either at Theatre Royal Plymouth Lab or The House Studio theatre which will showcase your performance abilities and which you can parlay into further professional employment, extending your audience and collaborator networks.

    • Advanced Acting Workshop (MACT706)

      Advanced Acting Workshop provides students with a rich and highly practical learning experience with fora and tutorials alongside the practitioner-led training classes, teaching European laboratory theatre approaches to actor training and the craft and practice of acting.

    • Philosophies of Training (MAPT703)

      A seminar based, research focused module in which students digest and analyse critical theory and philosophy in relation to varied training practice. In addition to skills acquisition, engagement with a form of training is also regarded as a means of self-development and improvement, and this is perhaps the emergent ideology of the contemporary. Students will learn about the historical and ideological components of training regimes and examine the politics, ideologies and concepts that define the notion and activity of training.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Acting programme specification 6950

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

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 minutes). 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. View our English language requirements. 
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 Alex Cahill ( 

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,500 £10,000
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £530 £560
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. More information about fees and funding.

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 Inclusion Services
If you have an impairment, health condition or disability, learn about the additional support the University provides.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information 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 weeksof 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 in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.
John Matthews teaching acting
John Matthews teaching acting
John Matthews teaching acting
John Matthews teaching acting

The future of theatre

Our collaboration with Theatre Royal Plymouth is totally unique. It gives our students the best of both worlds and access to leading research, teaching and creative practice. It allows us to get on board with the latest developments in theatre as they are happening.
"Training at Plymouth in 2020 looks like training will look like everywhere in 2030 – inclusive, accessible and progressive."
The House stage.

Programme staff, 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.
John Matthews performing

MA Acting team

International applicants

Postgraduate scholarships for international students
We offer several scholarships for international students wishing to study on this programme, including the International Academic Excellence Scholarship worth 50% off your tuition fees and the Postgraduate Taught International Student Scholarship worth £2000 off tuition fees.
Study with us
At the University of Plymouth, we have a thriving international community made up of 2,000 students from over 100 different countries.
International students at a welecome event at the University of Plymouth