An Overview

MA/MFA 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 new text in partnership with Playwrights Studio Scotland, 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 in September 2021.

Institution Code:


Programme Code:

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

UK Deadline:

31 March 2022

International Deadline:

31 March 2022

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 embark on fully-realised 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.

This term is devoted to exploring new writing and original work. Through our partnership with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland, you will learn about the process of developing new writing and have the opportunity to spend time in development with professional playwrights. You will then create original work of your own as part of the On the Verge festival.

Term 4 begins with classes in acting and directing for media. 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.

Class of 2020 and 2021

Shakara Carter

Eddi Asher

Valerie Andrews

Lawrence Boothman

Jaimee Aislyn de Witt

Georgia Figgis

Sophie Harris

Sydney Hymanson

Ilil Kish

Sarah Linnell

Megan Lovat

Miranda Elyse McCauley

George Knight Pond

Dylan Price

Emily Ross

Martin Searles

Katja Seasholtz

Ben Standish

Trevor Telesz

Marie Williamson

Raymond Wilson

Calum Lynn Dwyer (Director)

Diana Dizor (Director)

Calum Moore (Director)

Jaïrus Obayomi (Director)

Holly Cattle

Robyn Faye

Morgan Hooper

Daniel Kvoras

Tafar Chia Lewis

Connor McLean

Allison Mickelson

Shanae’a Moore

Kenichi Ri

Magnus Rook

Ana Sanchez

Andre Silva

Magdalen Vaughn

Oliver Watton

Katie Jackson (Director)

Ludwig Juhrich (Director)

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is recognised as one of the world’s top 3 destinations for the performing arts (QS World University Rankings 2021) 

  • 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

Additional teaching staff

Staff from the RCS Centre for Voice in Performance (Voice)

A full teaching team at Shakespeare’s Globe

Professional guest artists. Past guest artists have included:

  • Ewan Downie, Artistic Director Company of Wolves
  • Gordon Barr, Artistic Director Bard in the Botanics
  • Fiona Sturgeon Shea, Creative Director, Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
Visiting staff and practitioners
  • Michael Grandage
  • Ben Harrison — Grid Iron
  • Matthew Lenton — Vanishing Point
  • Nadine George — Voice Studio International
  • Anna-Helena Mclean – Moonfool
  • Candice Edmunds — VoxMotus
  • Dougie Irvine — Visible Fictions
  • Ewan Downie — Company of Wolves
  • Kate Sagovsky
  • John Kazek
  • Vanessa Coffey
  • Mark Thomson
  • Nick Bone — Magnetic North
  • Jemima Levick — Dundee Rep
  • Gordon Barr — Bard in the Botanics
  • Adrian Osmond
  • Lu Kemp
  • Graham McClaren — National Theatre of Scotland
  • Graham Eatough
  • Cora Bisset
  • Tim Licata — Plutot La Vie
  • Peter Collins
  • Liz Carruthers
  • Nicolas Lormeau — Comedie Francaise
  • Rick Kemp
  • Alexandra Silber
  • Rick Kemp
  • Debbie Hannan — Royal Court
Commissioned playwrights
  • Douglas Maxwell
  • Linda McLean
  • David Harrower
  • Nicola McCartney
  • Chris Hannan
  • Peter Arnott
  • Anne Marie di Mambro
  • Davey Anderson
  • Ian Finlay Macleod
  • Pamela Carter
  • Oliver Emmanuel
  • Rona Munro
  • Lewis Hetherington
  • David Ireland
  • Alan McKendrick
  • Mike Cullen
  • Jules Horne
  • Gary McNair
  • Steph Smith


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


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 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 £26.50 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 March 2022.

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 2023, 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 £26.50. 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 and

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

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 (for example, we are  continuing to offer recall auditions in an online format for those who are not able to travel to an in-person audition). 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 will continue to respond to ongoing governmental guidance as to how we can hold in-person auditions in a way that is safe for our applicants as well as staff, and these will be subject to change dependent on alterations in governmental advice. The closing date for all on time applications is 31 March 2022. 

If you submit your audition recording after this date, we cannot guarantee that your audition recording will be reviewed by the audition panel. If you are successfully recalled, we will be in touch with you directly to arrange this.

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

If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that your audition recording will be reviewed by the audition panel.

If you are successfully recalled, you will be invited for a recall via e-mail which will provide further detail on this next stage.

Applicants for MFA/MA Directing Classical and Contemporary Text who apply on time (before 31 March) are invited by email, approximately three weeks before the audition date, to the Conservatoire to undertake an audition/interview. For MFA/MA Directing applicants who cannot attend in person, an alternative arrangement can be made.

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.

The 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.

We will continue to respond to ongoing governmental guidance as to how we can hold in-person auditions in a way that is safe for our applicants as well as staff, and these will be subject to change dependent on alterations in governmental advice.

Selected candidates will be recalled to a further round of auditions/interviews, which may take place in-person (health and safety permitting) or online. This recall will consist of an interview and you may also be asked to perform one of your pieces for redirection. Both methods of audition are equally considered by the panel, and we would like to know your preference if invited to the next round. While we will use this preference to initially plan and schedule the next round of auditions, you will have an opportunity to change your preference. For example, if you choose ‘London’ but later decide you would rather audition in Glasgow to have an opportunity to visit our campus and facilities, you can notify us and we will amend your preference.

The closing date for all on time applications is 31 March 2022.

Candidates for MA/MFA Acting Classical and Contemporary Text should record two pieces whose combined length does not exceed 3 minutes.

  • 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 which will provide further detail on this next stage.

MA/MFA Directing Classical and Contemporary Text 

Candidates for the Directing pathway will lead a workshop rehearsal session, either via recording or in-person. Please select one of the scenes below all of which are extracts from Chekhov’s plays:

Seagull – Masha and Medvedenko

Seagull – Masha and Trigorin

The Cherry Orchard – Varia and Lopakhin

Should you choose an in-person audition, RCS will provide two actors with whom you will work in your audition. These actors will have read the relevant play and have familiarised themselves with the scene but will not be off book.

You should lead an exploration of the characters and scene. This might include building of character, relationships, or intentions and objectives. Your audition could include exercises, tasks, improvisation, text analysis or other approaches with which you are familiar. If the audition takes place over Zoom, you should plan your session so that it does not require the actors to move about in their own space.

You will work with the actors for approximately thirty minutes and should therefore ensure that your plan is appropriately focused for the time allocated. Following this session, there will be an interview which will include inviting you to present your plan for the session, reflect on how things went and discuss next steps. The interview will also be our opportunity to learn more about you.

Directing auditions will take place in in April and May.

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 examination results. Conditions can be viewed via UCAS Conservatoires Track. Unless your application and/or qualifications are subsequently shown to be fraudulent, the offer is binding if you accept the offer and meet the conditions. You must meet the conditions of the offer by 31 August 2021, unless an earlier date is specified. If your conditions include obtaining IELTS (English Language test), you must meet this condition by 31 May 2021.

Reserve Unconditional (VU) RCS is satisfied from the information you have given, that you have already met the conditions for entry and you have been offered a place on our reserve pool.

Reserve Conditional (VC) RCS has offered a place on its reserve pool subject to you meeting certain conditions such as examination results. Conditions can be viewed via UCAS Conservatoires Track.

Unsuccessful (R) RCS does not wish to offer you any type of a place.

Replying to offers

As soon as a decision is made, UCAS Conservatoires will let you know. You must reply online via UCAS Conservatoires Track. Your reply date is displayed on Track. If you do not reply by the date given, your offers will be declined automatically. The reply date may be different to other applicants as it is based on when you receive your last decision.


Last decision by Your reply date is
3 January 2022 1 February 2022
15 March 2022 12 April 2022
15 May 2022 1 June 2022
12 July 2022 29 July 2022
2 August 2022 8 September 2022


Please see the UCAS Conservatoires website for more information on replying to offers. If you make an application through UCAS Conservatoires, UCAS or UCAS Teacher Training, you cannot hold more than one confirmed place. A confirmed place in UCAS Conservatoires is a guaranteed unconditional offer as your first choice (GU1) and in UCAS and UCAS Teacher Training it is an unconditional firm (UF) place. If you receive more than one confirmed place, UCAS will ask you to accept one offer and withdraw from any others.


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.

Fees and scholarship

Information for Scottish students

New Scottish domiciled students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan. All eligible students will be able to apply directly to Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a non-means-tested loan of up to £3,400. See the SAAS website for further details of the PSAS scheme.

Scottish domiciled postgraduate students on eligible courses can also apply for a Postgraduate Living Cost Loan up to £4,500 towards living expenses. This is in addition to the existing loan available towards the cost of their tuition fees.


Postgraduate students from England can benefit from a postgraduate loan of up to £11,222 (in 2020/2021) to be used towards tuition fees and/or living costs.

Northern Irish

Students from Northern Ireland may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan of up to £5,500 to help with the cost of their course fees. Please see the Student Finance NI website for more details.


From 1 August 2019, students ordinarily resident in Wales (and those from the EU studying at a Welsh institution) may be entitled to a combination of loan and grant as a contribution to costs while studying a postgraduate Master’s degree course. The total amount of support available is non-means-tested and is paid directly to the student. The total support available to an eligible student is £17,000. A grant of up to £6,885 is available, depending upon household income. The balance of support is a loan.

Support comprises of the following elements:

  • A non-means-tested contribution to costs base grant of £1,000 is available to all eligible students.
  • An additional means-tested contribution to costs grant of £5,885 is available to eligible students with a household income of up to £18,370 per annum. For every £6.937 of household income per annum above this threshold, the amount of additional means-tested grant will be reduced by £1.
  • A non-means-tested contribution to costs loan is available to all eligible students. The amount of loan available will be equal to the level of total support (£17,000 in 2019/20) less the total grant (base grant plus additional grant) a student is eligible for.

For part-time study, support is allocated over the number of years the course is studied. Support is capped in each academic year; for example, £17,000 for a one year course, £8,500 per year for a course lasting two years and £4,250 per year for a course lasting four years. Full-time courses between one and two years are eligible for support. Part-time courses of up to four years are eligible for support.

EU students

The Royal Conservatoire is resolutely international in outlook and we celebrate and are enriched by the diversity of our community of students and staff. Students from across the globe are -welcome and valued members of the RCS community and we continue to welcome applicants from across the EU and throughout the world.

Q: What is the fee situation for EU students?

A: On July 9 2020 Scotland’s Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead announced changes to the fee regime for EU students studying in Scotland. From next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.

Q: I’m an EU student looking to start my studies in 2021-22. How does this impact me?

A: From the next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.

Only EU nationals who are ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ in the UK will remain eligible to apply for home tuition fees providing they meet the residency conditions.

Other EU nationals and associated groups, starting a course of study in academic year 2021-22 or later, are not eligible to apply to SAAS for tuition fee support.

Because of a long-standing agreement between the UK and Republic of Ireland, new students from the Republic of Ireland starting their studies in 2021-22 will be eligible to pay the UK fee.


Any potential student who auditions for a place at the Royal Conservatoire will automatically be considered for a scholarship. They are awarded on a combination of talent, potential and financial need. More information about Scholarships is available on our Fees and Funding page.

Sources of external funding

For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit Fees and Funding.

The Conservatoire’s International and Student Experience team are available to advise and assist applicants and current students in respect of queries about funding your studies at the Conservatoire. Please email or telephone +44 (0)141 270 8281/ +44 (0)141 270 8223 for further information.

Cost of Living and Associated Programme Costs

Investing in your future is important and you need to consider the cost of your tuition as well as the cost of living during your studies. In addition to tuition fees, it is estimated that you will need between £10,000 and £12,000 per year to live in Glasgow, plus programme costs. Associated programme costs can be found on our Finance page.

Tuition fees for 2021-22

MA Classical and Contemporary Text (Acting/Directing) UK students


MA Classical and Contemporary Text (Acting/Directing) International students (including EU)


MFA Classical and Contemporary Text (Acting/Directing) UK students


MFA Classical and Contemporary Text (Acting/Directing) International students (including EU)