An Overview

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

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, determining 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.

Institution Code:


Programme Code:

700F (Acting); 701F (Directing); 710F (MFA Acting); 711F (MFA Directing)

UK Deadline:

31 January 2024

International Deadline:

31 January 2024

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.



What you will study

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.

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is consistently ranked in the World Top 10 for performing arts education (QS World Rankings 2023)

  • 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
  • Month-long residency at Shakespeare’s Globe, London
  • Future proof your practice so that it can respond to a changing professional and creative landscape
  • Focused, individualised attention on you and your practice
  • Performance opportunities throughout your studies including classical plays, contemporary plays and original work
  • Close links with a range of professional partners


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 might involve work as an actor, director, being a performance maker, forming a company, writing, teaching or moving into other areas of the creative industries and beyond.

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

Ayana Bey


Jeremy Crawford

Actor (The Witcher)

Alex Fthenakis

Multi Fringe First Award-winning producer

Rachel Handshaw


Debbie Hannan


Helen Katamba

Actress, National Theatre

Eklovey Kashyap

Actor, Dundee Rep

Noa Naamat

Director, Royal Opera House

Emily Reutlinger

Head of Musical Theatre, RCS

Shilpa T-Hyland

Artistic Director of Modest Predicament

Virtual Tour

Explore the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in our 360 virtual tour. You’ll be able to see our rehearsal and practice rooms, professional performance venues, production workshops, editing suite, ballet studios and more.


Admissions process

Our admissions processes are designed to be fair, transparent and efficient. The audition/interview approach serves the dual nature of allowing the panel to assess first-hand an applicant’s suitability for their chosen programme and it also affords the applicant the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the nature of that programme and the opportunities offered by the RCS.

In arriving at its recommendation, the audition/interview panel will take account of all aspects of the applicant’s profile i.e.:

  • Performance at audition/interview
  • Commitment to the particular programme
  • Potential to benefit from the programme
  • Academic qualifications
  • Personal statement
  • Performance qualifications
  • Performance/practical experience
  • References
  • Contextualised data
General academic entrance 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.

Language of study

The language of study is English. Applicants who 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.

Non-standard entry

We welcome applications from individuals whose academic qualifications or English language qualifications do not match (in terms of equivalence) or fall short of the normal entrance requirements, where specified*. Having satisfied the Audition Panel that they meet the selection criteria and demonstrated that they have the capacity to pursue the proposed course of study, such applicants will be considered through examination of contextualised data provided in accordance with the Non-Standard Entry Policy. The appropriate Head of Department/ Programme will make a case in support of the applicant for consideration by the Directors of the Schools and Convener of the Quality and Standards Committee.

*Note that UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) imposes minimum English Language qualifications in respect of international (non-EU) applicants who require a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK.

Mature students

RCS welcomes applications from mature students, i.e. students over the age of 21 at entry to the programme. Whilst the selection procedures will still be applied, consideration will be given to appropriate artistic experience not normally expected in school leavers, which is deemed to compensate for any lack of traditional entrance qualifications. Successful mature applicants, as for all other applicants, must convince auditioning panels that they have the ability and potential to cope with the demands of the programme. Their progress, especially in the early stages of the programme, will be closely monitored and appropriate advice and support given.


Apply via UCAS Conservatoires

Applications are made through the 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.

There is a UCAS application fee of £27.50 to register to use UCAS Conservatoires.

To begin a new UCAS Conservatoires application, you will need to register. You can read the UCAS Conservatoires’ advice on completing the UCAS Conservatoires application.

If you need assistance with your application, you can contact UCAS Conservatoires team by telephoning (Monday to Friday, 8.30 — 18.00). Phone 0371 468 0470 from within the UK or +44 330 3330 232 if you are calling from overseas.

Application deadline date

The deadline date to apply and submit your audition recording is 31 January 2024.

Once you submit your UCAS Conservatoires application, please then upload your audition recording to Acceptd –

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2024, you must apply next year.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland institution code is R58. You will also require the following programme code 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

Application Fee

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £27.50. In addition to the application fee, each conservatoire charges an audition assessment administration fee. For RCS, the audition assessment administration fee is £55 per programme applied for. Fees are not refundable. The fees are paid via the UCAS Conservatoires website and not directly to RCS.

Audition Assessment Administration fee
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland charges an audition assessment administration fee of £55 per course.

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.

We are committed to ensuring fair access to a conservatoire education for students who have the talent and potential to benefit from it, regardless of their background. In support of this, audition fee waivers are offered to applicants for whom financial hardship may be a barrier to auditioning. Please see the audition fee waivers document for more information.


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.

Selection process

The closing date for all on time applications is 31 March 2023. If you submit your application and/or audition recording after this date, we cannot guarantee that your audition recording will be reviewed by the audition panel.

Once you submit your UCAS Conservatoires application, please then upload your audition recording to Acceptd –

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.


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 New York in early 2023; for more information on these please contact us at


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 2023; for more information on these please contact us at



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




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 2023.

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 2023.

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

Seagull – Masha and Medvedenko

Seagull – Masha and Trigorin

The Cherry Orchard – Varia and Lopakhin

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.

Following your audition

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition via UCAS Conservatoires Track,  (you will need your username and password). You will also receive notification from UCAS Conservatoires when decisions on all your choices are available.

Please see below for an explanation of UCAS Conservatoires codes:

Guaranteed Unconditional (GU) RCS is satisfied from the information you have given, that you have already met the conditions for entry. Unless your application and/or qualification are subsequently shown to be fraudulent, a guaranteed unconditional offer is binding.

Guaranteed Conditional (GC) RCS has made the offer subject to you meeting certain conditions such as exa