“I loved the intensity of the One Year Course and appreciated the level at which we were expected to work. It opened my eyes, it opened doors and gave me, not only a process but a key to how to navigate this unpredictable industry. You get amazing tutors and great insight from working professionals.”

Ella Bruccoleri, Graduate of the One Year Acting Course, 2017

One Year Acting Course

This is an intensive on year acting course that takes place across four terms in a full calendar year. It is designed for those who may have some experience in the performing arts and who are able and willing to reach their potential as a creative artist over a year of intensive activity. You will be taught in group classes and through individual tutorials that aim to address your particular needs.

It is important that you are open, curious and have a desire to experiment with new methods of working. We expect you to be prepared to be bold and fearless in your willingness to understand yourself and respectful and appreciative of the courage of others.

Three terms of the acting course take place at the School and then you have a final term in London where you will rehearse and perform a new writing commission and take part in your final Showcase performance. Throughout your year of training, you will have many opportunities to work with leading directors, writers and producers from theatre, film and television. This will give you the experience of working as a professional artist and support your transition into the performing arts industry.

At the School, we make no distinction between the graduates of our One Year Acting Course and Three Year Acting Courses. They all achieve at the highest level and are supported into the industry in the same way through an intensive London season.

Graduates of this course include Babou Ceesay, Jude Owusu, Claire Foy and Richard Gadd.

Available Funding

There is government funding available for students who are accepted on to this course. The Dance and Drama Awards Scheme and Advanced Learner Loans will support both course fees and living costs. Additional bursaries are also available. Please see all details on the Fees and Funding page. 

One Year Acting Course Content

Throughout the course you will have contact with, and feedback from, people working in the industry including Casting Directors, Agents and graduates.

Term One

The first term is a thorough exploration of the basic principles of acting alongside work on freeing the voice and gaining confidence in your physical expression. Our tutors are all specialists in their field and draw from the approaches and techniques of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, Michael Chekhov, Linklater, Laban and Lecoq among others. You will develop confidence in your imaginative skills through improvisation and the playful exploration of your physicality. During this term you start to develop your knowledge of the performing arts industries through tutor-led group research and talks with leading practitioners, including graduates of the School.

Term Two

In this term, you will be fully immersed in all aspects of the theatre rehearsal room in preparation for a full-scale performance in front of students and tutors at the School. You will continue to work through the Linklater progression to create a deeper connection between breath, voice and text. You will build confidence and skill in your physical life and you will be encouraged to be open, playful and imaginative within the movement curriculum. Acting through Song will support you in applying vocal technique to a piece of music and you will have the opportunity to use your performance skills in presenting a song to your peers at the School. In this term, you will be introduced to screen work and you will become familiar with working on a set through mock shoots that prepare you for filming a series of short films in the following term. Preparing you for the industry continues in this term with workshops to give you guidance on all aspects of life as a professional actor as well as with mock castings and auditions for theatre and screen work. At the end of this term you will have worked on your microphone technique and recorded a personal audio showreel in a professional recording studio.

Term Three

You will perform in two theatre productions in this term including a full scale public production at the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford with a full design team. At the other end of the scale you will be given the opportunity to exercise your creativity by directing and producing a piece of theatre within the student year group to share with students and tutors. Clown presentations will further develop your ability to be open and playful with an audience. You will build your professional knowledge by meeting bodies such as Equity and Spotlight, exploring the role of agents and casting directors and developing your business awareness. You will also showcase and develop your skills by performing in a professionally directed and edited short film shot on location. You will have further opportunity to build your ability to tell a narrative through song through ensemble and individual song work across a range of musical genres.

London Season

This term takes place in London and marks your transition into the industry. You will be in the rehearsal room working on a new play with the writer and director for performances at a London venue. This will be followed by an intensive rehearsal for your Showcase performance to agents, casting directors and other key industry professionals. A series of masterclasses, mock casting sessions with directors from theatre and film will develop your skills and experience of working with professionals in the industry.

Directors who have recently worked with students in their final term include:

  • Chelsea Walker
  • Alice Malin
  • Max Key
  • Paul Hart
  • Polina Kalinina
  • Hal Chambers

Writers who have been commissioned to write for students in their final year include:

  • Holly Robinson
  • Jodi Gray
  • Asitha Ameresekere 

As a School, we make no distinction between the graduates of our One and Three Year courses. They all achieve at the highest level. In recent years graduates of the One Year Course have secured their first acting jobs with employers such as BBC Television, ITV and BBC Radio and on stage for The National Theatre, Theatre Royal Haymarket, English Touring Theatre, Royal Court, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Chichester Festival Theatre, Theatre Centre, Barbican Centre, Bristol Old Vic, Glasgow Citizens Theatre and Eastern Angles.

Graduates from the One Year Acting Course include:

  • Ritu Arya in Genesis Inc at Hampstead Theatre
  • Rhys Bevan in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers
  • Victoria Blunt in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Watermill Newbury
  • Babou Ceesay in AMC’s Into the Badlands
  • Margaret Clunie in ITV’s Victoria
  • Paul Dodds Romeo and Juliet at the RSC
  • Claire Foy in The Girl in the Spider’s Web
  • Tom Gibbons in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers
  • Emily Hughes in Liverpool Everyman repertory company
  • Louise Marwood as Chrissie White in ITV1’s Emmerdale
  • Aoibheann McCann in Assassins at The Gate Theatre Dublin
  • Jude Owusu as Tamberlaine in RSC’s Tamberlaine
  • Gary Pillai in the national tour of The Kite Runner
  • Tanya Reynolds in Sky’s Delicious
  • Kiran Sonia Sawar in Sky’s Black Mirror

Meet the Tutors

Hear our Principal, Ed Hicks, talk about screen training at The Oxford School of Drama.

Meet Ashley Howard, Senior Voice Tutor.


This course is validated by Trinity College London and regulated by Ofqual. It is Level 5 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework. Equity membership is awarded to all students who complete this course.