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MA/MFA Acting/Directing Classical and Contemporary Text

MA/MFA Acting/Directing Classical and Contemporary Text (CCT) is a course for actors and directors who find themselves looking beyond traditional and contemporary artistic approaches as they seek to broaden and deepen their individual practice. 

Overview

Individuality is at the core of this postgraduate programme. We work with artists who use their social, moral, and ethical values to animate their practice. This is a course where you will have agency over your own work and be responsible for driving your learning and creativity forward.  

It is this agency which makes the programme different from undergraduate study. With support from the staff team, you will write your own learning outcomes, determine your trajectory and ultimately, we hope, you will flourish as both a learner and a creative practitioner. 

It’s an intense programme where actors and directors work together, creating a dynamic community rooted in creative collaboration. Highlights include developing original digital work for the On the Verge festival, performing or directing contemporary performance working in proto-professional ensembles and completing a month’s residency at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London.  

At the end of this residency, after undertaking classes with the educational team at the Globe, you will perform or direct sharings on the mainstage of Shakespeare’s Globe, a unique and iconic playing space. 

If this narrative excites or inspires you, please get in touch with us to discuss how you can begin your artistic journey with us. 

The important details

UK Applicant Deadline:
29 January 2025

International (including EU) Applicant Deadline:
29 January 2025

Institution Code:
R58

Programme Code:
700F (MA Acting); 701F (MA Directing); 710F (MFA Acting); 711F (MFA Directing)

Audition Fee:
£55.00

Application Fee:
£28.50


Welcome to Classical & Contemporary Text

 

Watch our short video for an introduction to our department.

We spoke to some current students about what makes RCS special and how their time here has prepared them to graduate into a career in the industry.

Why Study MA/MFA Acting/Directing Classical and Contemporary Text at RCS?

Classical and Contemporary Text students performing on stage

Artistic Focus


Become the artist you want to be: the practice you study will be your own and your agency will fundamentally shape your learning and development as an actor or director in a changing professional and creative landscape.

Classical and Contemporary Text students performing on stage

World-Class Training


Our MA/MFA Acting/Directing Classical and Contemporary Text programme offers an intensive course of study supported by an experienced team of in-house and external industry professionals . We offer small class sizes, so you receive high contact time with our staff to focus on you and your practice.

Classical and Contemporary Text students performing on stage

Performance Opportunities


As part of your studies, you will have numerous performance opportunities throughout your studies, including classical plays, contemporary plays and original devised work.

Classical and Contemporary Text students performing on stage

Professional Partners


We have close links with a range of professional partners. As a student on the MA/MFA Acting/Directing Classical and Contemporary Text programme, you will take part in a month-long residency at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

Meet the Staff

Graduate Destinations

This Masters programme is just the beginning of a lifelong journey of creativity, exploration and development, led always by the values and agency of each student and graduate. Upon completing this programme, you will be equipped to make your own decisions about the next stages of your creative and professional life.  

This is just a snapshot of some of our graduates and their unique careers: 

  • Ayana Bey – Actor 
  • Jeremy Crawford – Actor (The Witcher) 
  • Alex Fthenakis – Multi Fringe First Award-winning producer 
  • Rachel Handshaw – Actress 
  • Debbie Hannan – Director 
  • Helen Katamba – Actress, National Theatre 
  • Eklovey Kashyap – Actor, Dundee Rep  
  • Noa Naamat – Director, Royal Opera House 
  • Emily Reutlinger – Director 

Hear from some of our graduates:

Diana Dizor, MA CCT

Calum Dwyer, MA/MFA CCT

Lawrence Boothman – MA CCT

Valerie Andrews – MA/MFA CCT

Class of 2023

Programme Structure

Classical and Contemporary Text Masters has two strands – acting and directing – with students working together as an ensemble throughout the year. If you opt for the MFA, you will study for an additional four months (16 months in total) where you will create a substantial piece of original work that will serve as a “creative calling card” for you to take to industry.

Each term, you will primarily engage in a single module that will run for the term’s duration. In addition, there is a year-long module concerned with your professional practice and development that runs across your studies. Through this module, you will have the opportunity to engage with the performing arts industry in a variety of ways beyond the programme’s performance opportunities. This engagement might include:

  • Mock castings with directors or casting directors 
  • Self-tape workshops 
  • Mock agent meetings 
  • Mock interviews with industry professionals 
  • Masterclasses on a variety of areas of professional practice 

Through these and other activities (along with all other content on the programme), you will be expected to consider and develop your relationships to and with the profession.

The programme begins with classes focusing on the approaches to voice, movement, acting and directing. If you’re a director, you will work alongside the actors, participating in these practical classes. This will coincide with a project designed to empower you to take stock of yourself as an artist. Following this, you will learn about the processes of ensemble work, as well as learning how to get the most out of working collaboratively. Term one will culminate with an in-depth exploration of approaches to realism in performance. 

You will begin this term with an intensive month at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, working with the Globe Education faculty. This month culminates with a performance of scenes from a Shakespeare play on the Globe stage. Additionally, the directing students will have the opportunity to present scenes they have directed. 

On returning to Glasgow, you will generate work as a creative response to classical text. This will be followed by workshops and classes on new writing development, creating original work, and acting and directing for media. You will then begin creating original digital work for the On the Verge Festival. 

This term will focus on creating your original digital work for the On the Verge Festival. 

Term 4 will operate as a season for fully realized productions. You will begin with rehearsals for classical or heightened text theatre productions. You will explore the rehearsal process within the structure of a professional production. These are led by experienced directors, with the directing students working as assistant directors. 

Following these, contemporary plays go into rehearsal under the leadership of the directing students. They will receive public performances at RCS, to which the industry is invited. 

In the four months following term four, you will position yourself as an autonomous artist and collaborative performance maker. With support and mentoring, you will develop a substantial original performance which will serve as a ‘creative calling card’ as you move into your professional life. 


Entry Requirements

Academic Requirements

There are no formal qualification requirement for admission. Each candidate’s ability to fulfil the above brief holistically will be considered with due regard for training, qualifications, experience and other factors. 

English language requirements

The language of study is English. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. We accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Level 7.5 (with a score of 7.5 in speaking) is required. 


Fees & Funding

Tuition fees

MA Classical and Contemporary Text Acting/Directing (1 year) 

  • UK (including ROI): £17,688
  • International: £28,038 

MFA Classical and Contemporary Text Acting/Directing (16 months)

  • UK (including ROI): £23,583 
  • International: £37,387 

MFA Classical and Contemporary Text Acting/Directing (4 months) 

  • UK (including ROI): £5,895 
  • International: £9,349 

Funding & Scholarships

You can find out about the funding and scholarships available for studying at RCS by visiting our dedicated page:

Funding & Scholarships

Cost of Living & Programme Costs

In addition to tuition fees, it is estimated that you will need between £11,200 and £15,300 per year to live in Glasgow, plus programme costs. Much will depend on your lifestyle and whether your course runs for three or four terms. 

Programmes within the School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film have a range of associated costs related to the specific activities required and advised by the programme team. In order to ensure fairness and parity of experience in relation to certain core programme activities a one-off payment to cover a proportion of necessary costs is required of the student at matriculation. You can find these costs below: 

MA/MFA Classical and Contemporary Text Programme Costs


How to Apply

Apply via UCAS Conservatoires

Applications are made through UCAS Conservatoires website. The UCAS Conservatoires application system is separate from the main UCAS undergraduate application system. If you wish to apply to conservatoires and universities within UCAS, you will need to register for both services.  

You can read our guidance about using UCAS Conservatoires on our dedicated how to apply page. 

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2025, you must apply next year. 

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland institution code is  R58. You will also require one of the following programme codes to apply:  

  • MA Acting Classical and Contemporary Text: 700F 
  • MFA Acting Classical and Contemporary Text: 710F 
  • MA Directing Classical and Contemporary Text:  701F 
  • MFA Directing Classical and Contemporary Text: 711F 

The closing date for all on-time MA/MFA CCT applications is 31 March 2024.  If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that your application will be reviewed by the audition panel. If you do want to submit a late application, you must contact admissions@rcs.ac.uk in the first instance to check we are accepting late applications 

Once you submit your UCAS Conservatoires application, please then upload your audition recording to Acceptd – https://app.getacceptd.com/rcs. 

 

Application/Audition fees

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £27.50. In addition to the application fee, each conservatoire charges an audition/interview assessment administration fee. The interview assessment administration fee is £55.00 for this programme. Fees are not refundable. The fees are paid via the UCAS Conservatoires website and not directly to RCS. 

We recognise that auditioning and interviewing for conservatoires, drama and ballet schools can be costly. The audition assessment administration fee charge allows us to offer a thorough and positive experience to all applicants and we encourage you to get in touch to ask the panel questions and find out more about the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to see if it is the best place for you.  

Policy

We have a number of policies and statements which you should read when applying to study at the Royal Conservatoire.

Please select the links below to read each policy.

References

It is your responsibility to ask two separate referees to write references and ensure that these are sent to RCS.

The references must be written by two different people and we will not accept references from family, other relatives or close friends. You can submit your UCAS Conservatoires application form and send your references at a later date, but they must be received prior to your audition date.

UCAS Conservatoires provides reference forms for you to download and send to your referees for completion.

Audition Information

Acting Pathway 

All first round auditions will take place via audition recording. Recall auditions are currently planned to take place in Glasgow, London and live via Zoom. If you are recalled, you can tell us your preference for where you would like to do your recall. We have many years of experience of conducting online auditions and have a well-established format and process in place, so no applicant will be disadvantaged by auditioning in this manner. We are also planning to host auditions in the USA in early 2024; for more information on these please contact us at usaauditions@rcs.ac.uk. 

Directing Pathway 

Auditions can take place in-person (in Glasgow, London, or New York), via recorded submission on Acceptd, or live online on Zoom. We have many years of experience of conducting online auditions and have a well-established format and process in place, so no applicant will be disadvantaged by auditioning in this manner. We are planning to host auditions in New York in early 2024; for more information on these please contact us at usaauditions@rcs.ac.uk. 

For information on what to prepare for your audition, please read on to our Audition section. 

 

Audition 

Applicants should prepare the following for audition: 

MA/MFA Acting Classical and Contemporary Text  

All first round auditions will take place via audition recording, with recall auditions currently planned to take place both in-person and online dependent on the applicant’s individual circumstances. 

The closing date for all on time applications is 31 March 2024. 

Candidates for MA/MFA Acting Classical and Contemporary Text should record two pieces (one classical, one contemporary) whose combined length does not exceed 3 minutes. One of the speeches should be shot medium-long (from knees up) and one of the speeches should be shot medium-close. 

  • Contemporary – from a play written in the past 25 years 
  • Classical – from a play (or material meant to be acted) written before 1800 

Candidates are welcome to present pieces that are not part of the Western canon if they so desire. 

If you are successfully recalled, you will be invited for a recall via e-mail with the relevant information. For your recall, you should have both your speeches ready to be worked with, and the recall panel will select which speech to work on with you. 

MA/MFA Directing Classical and Contemporary Text  

Auditions can take place in-person (in Glasgow, London, or New York), via recorded submission on Acceptd, or live online on Zoom. 

The closing date for all on time applications is 31 March 2024. 

All applicants will be asked to direct one of the following three extracts from Chekhov’s plays: 

Recorded Submission

Applicants should prepare a 30 minute, uncut video of candidates directing two actors, and applicants must source these actors themselves. Candidates should be aware that, out of fairness to all candidates, the panel will stop watching videos after 30 minutes have elapsed. Candidates should work as they would in a real rehearsal process – they should not try to show a condensed version of a longer rehearsal approach they might take. 

In-Person/Online Live Audition 

Should you choose an in-person or online live audition, RCS will provide two actors with whom you will work in your audition for 30 minutes on one of the Chekhov extracts noted above.  Candidates should work as they would in a real rehearsal process – they should not try to show a condensed version of a longer rehearsal approach they might take. 

Please note that RCS is only obliged to offer one audition/interview date per application. Alternative dates will only be provided (subject to availability) in exceptional circumstances. If you are unable to make your allocated audition date, you should email us immediately stating the reason. 

More from the Classical and Contemporary Text Department

Why RCS?

We are the only place in Europe where you can study all of the performing arts on the one campus. There is a distinctive creative energy at RCS and you’ll be made to feel part of our inclusive and diverse environment from the very beginning of your studies.

Our graduates are resourceful, highly employable and members of a dynamic community of artists who make a significant impact across the globe.

At RCS, students develop not just their art but their power to use it.

Why RCS

A ballerina wearing a teal dress jumps over the Kelpies monuments in Scotland during a grey day.

World Top Ten


We were voted one of the world’s Top Ten destinations to study the performing arts (QS Rankings) in 2024, the eighth time we have been placed in the top ten since the ranking was established in 2016.