On this acting course, students attend classes at Shakespeare’s Globe in February-March and are in Moscow during May-June. You will be expected to commit a minimum of 35 hours per week to taught classes, rehearsals and lectures, with additional time spent preparing either by yourself or with fellow students. An extended unit dedicated to the skills of the actor lays a thorough foundation for your future study. You gain practical knowledge of the fundamental principles of English and Russian acting techniques as they apply to classical text. Classes are offered in Acting, Scene Study, Voice, Movement and the History of Classical Theatre in Britain and Russia. A section on the great masters of the European Renaissance enables you to engage with material drawn from the Spanish Theatre of the Golden Age and the Neo-Classical theatre of France. Having prepared for its challenges, you then spend six weeks exclusively at Shakespeare’s Globe, attending classes in acting, voice and movement. You work on a number of scenes and monologues, thus accumulating material from which a selection is made for a presentation at the end of the unit, to an invited audience, which takes place on the stage of the Globe. During eight weeks of study at the Vakhtangov Institute in Moscow you receive an intensive training in Russian classical acting methods, with particular emphasis on the tradition of 'fantastic realism’ and the strenuous physical work required to achieve it. You attend classes in acting, voice, movement (including acrobatics and dance) and the history of Russian theatre and at the end of your Moscow study you perform scenes on the stage of the Vakhtangov Institute in front of an invited audience. The final ten weeks of the course are spent back at the Drama Centre, integrating your learning experience at the three institutions, and focus on late 19th and early 20th century European drama.
An impressive list of famous performers and a number of world-famous directors have emerged from courses at the Drama Centre. Alumni include Paul Bettany, Pierce Brosnan, Simon Callow, Frances de la Tour, Paola Dionisotti, Colin Firth, Tara Fitzgerald, Anastasia Hille, Geraldine James, Helen McCrory, Jack Shepherd, John Simm, Colin Tierney, Lambert Wilson, Penelope Wilton and many more. Adrian Noble (for ten years Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company); film writer and director David Leland; novelist Esther Freud and television director Jan Sargent are some of the many directors, writers and instructors among our graduates.
The Centre’s links with the profession are extensive. In the advanced stages of their course, students are encouraged to undertake professional work whenever this is equivalent to course work. In addition, the Centre operates a 'mentoring’ scheme through which final year students are paired with graduates from earlier years who explain the realities of the profession; introduce them to agents, casting directors and other professional contacts; offer advice on audition material and presentation techniques and form a useful support network in the, often difficult, early years after graduation. The alumni network, The Friends of the Drama Centre, supports students financially and is increasingly involved in activities - such as support for advanced workshops - undertaken by graduates in the early years of their careers.