Acting for Stage and Screen MFA



An unrivalled opportunity to develop your stage and screen acting skills in the world’s greatest festival city.

Overview

Our 2-year MFA is a unique vocational training that offers you a full run in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the end of your first year and extensive screen acting work and showreel opportunities in your second year.

You will be training within a vibrant, interdisciplinary postgraduate community of film and theatre directors as well as screenwriters and playwrights.

Classes are delivered by staff with extensive industry experience and our programme is respected within the profession. Our graduates have been featured on Netflix, Starz, BBC, Amazon Prime, Channel 4, and ITV, as well as working at the Royal National Theatre, The Traverse, the Lyceum Theatre, Dundee Rep, Bard in the Botanics, London Regent’s Park Open Air theatre, and have been nominated for Olivier and Ian Charlson Awards.

To ensure there is sufficient time to process your application, we encourage you to submit your application by the 30th of June.

a man acting on stage, in a costume

Mode of Study:

Full-time

Duration:

2 years

Start date:

Sep

Course details

The MFA Acting for Stage & Screen is a unique 2-year degree that will reflect the challenge for most working actors today, which is to work confidently both in stage and screen acting.  This is a practice-based course, and it aims to prepare students for an industry in which creative problem solving, advanced practical skills, business acumen, teamworking, and self-generated work are critical.  We hope to train students who will graduate with all these abilities and can thrive as freelance performing artists across a range of opportunities within the creative arts industries.

Your first year focuses on stage acting.  Alongside taught classes, you will be working with MFA Directors and Playwrights to workshop, develop and hone an original piece for production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

The second year begins with both stage and screen acting, and in the final two trimesters you will be working with MA Film Directors and Screenwriters to work on short films that will be entered into festivals around the world.  You will also have the chance to work with professional film directors and to create short films of your own devising.

  • calendar How you’ll be taught This is a practical course, and will be taught in workshop settings, rehearsals, one-to-one tutorials, and through independent research and practice.
  • note and pen Assessments Your assessments will be based on a variety of practical performances and are the culmination of workshops and focused rehearsals, supported by tutorials. 
  • briefcase Work placement Optional supervised work placement or overseas study module. Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study. Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Modules

Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Acting: Contemporary Scenes ( CLP11165 )

This module enables you to engage with a range of acting theories and approaches to performance, focusing on contemporary texts. A variety of scenes from contemporary plays, of increasing length and complexity, will be critically analysed and performed in a workshop setting, enabling you to develop knowledge of specific genres and styles. The texts chosen, and therefore the acting theories explored, will be dependent on the year cohort, but will allow you to explore and develop a diverse, yet specialised combination of skills and acting theoretical knowledge.

Further information

Acting: Heightened Text and Style ( CLP11150 )

This module will provide a practical setting for the application of theory specific to the interpretation of heightened dramatic texts and complex language.

You will explore the relationship between acting and psychology, acting and emotion, acting and character, acting and cognitive processes, and the many ways in which traditional theories of acting have responded to the question of how actors interpret, prepare and perform heightened dramatic text. Techniques for inspiring imagination and play will remain at the heart of the work, and you will be extending your ability to create acting that is engaging, believable and sustainable in a variety of challenging and historically varied texts.

Further information

Advanced Acting for Stage & Screen ( CLP11169 )

The class will combine intensive work on screen acting technique with an extended exploration of stage acting. Screen acting work will include work on a variety of increasingly demanding scenes. Stage acting work will allow students to concentrate on an extended role from an edited canonical work. This module will be divided between screen and stage classes each week.

Further information

Festival Preview ( CLP11167 )

This module develops the productions selected in the previous trimester by the festival panel (on the basis of quality and overall equality of student participation) to a public preview showing. Working in small theatre companies, you will rehearse a full festival production and perform this in a public setting. You will also work as a group to create a business and marketing plan for the production.

Further information

Festival Production ( CLP11168 )

This module develops the productions previewed in the Festival preview modules to be given a final public performance in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As well as performing, each company will research, develop and execute a marketing strategy which includes social media, live extracts from performance, PR, and face-to-face marketing throughout the run. You will also be expected to see other performances during the Edinburgh festival fringe to enhance your own understanding and critical appraisal of the Festival fringe context.

Further information

Festival Workshop ( CLP11166 )

This module commences the group projects which lead towards a final Edinburgh Festival Fringe production. You will be cast in a group, and you will work together as a collaborative team. You may also be working with an MFA Director if appropriate. The module will focus on strategies for enhancing creativity, setting the stage for innovative work, effective group communication, sympathetic listening and responding, and enhancing group problem-solving abilities. Along with classes, you will have scheduled rehearsal times with the directors (and possibly writers) and will be focused on creating and honing short sample scripts (15-20 mins each) and performances of a contemporary scene and for a Fringe Festival presentation proposal.

Further information

Film Production I ( CLP11170 )

This is the first of two modules which will present you with opportunities to develop your screen acting skills by being involved in a variety of film-making projects. The module covers a wide range of screen related content including preparing screen audition material, the production context of short film planning and producing, as well as learning pre- and post-production skills for short film on smart phone video cameras. You will also cover topics on developing independent short film proposals, story structure, story-boarding and scripting. Short, self-generated films with a given script will be produced as preparation for the self-generated film project in the module Film production 2. These short self-taped projects will also be used as casting for 3- and 10-minute films being produced by the MFA Film Directors. You will develop work on these 3-minute film projects during the module.

Further information

Film Production II ( CLP11171 )

This is the second of two screen focused modules which will present you with a variety of opportunities to be involved in a range of screen projects. Building on Film production 1, you will develop and extend your skills in short film creation, exploring opportunities to create independent work for web presentation and developing screenplays. Working in groups, you will create a film artefact in any genre (short dramatic film/extended scene/sketches/mini-web series). In addition, you will be cast in two filming projects: the first will be a scene shot by professional staff and the second will be a 5 to 10-minute film, made in collaboration with MFA Film Directing students or other collaborator

Further information

Performance Skills ( CLP11159 )

This 40-credit, 2-trimester module is designed to deepen your knowledge of a variety of techniques that can help you find freedom, fluidity and ease of expression physically, vocally, and imaginatively. The module is designed to enhance and support the practical work you will be doing elsewhere within the course, and as material increases in complexity over the year, the technical work in this module will respond to that complexity. Your progress will be the subject of significant and continual communication with the course tutors and this module will require that you demonstrate initiative in research, presentation and leadership. You will focus on physical and vocal expression (both sung and spoken), and will explore selected theories of voice, movement, or singing theorists/practitioners (which might include, amongst others, Linklater, Berry, Rodenburg, Alexander, Houseman, Estill, Carey).

Further information

Professional Practice ( CLP11172 )

This module will focus on deepening your knowledge of the broad entertainment industry and the live and screen acting professions in particular. You will explore necessary skills appropriate to working as a freelance artist. Areas covered will include: exploring allied areas in which you may find work, mock interviews, auditions and establishing professional networks. You will be showing excerpts from your professional portfolio at set assessment points in the term and you will be expected to carry out directed and self-directed research into specific areas of the industry that represent particular target markets for you and your skills/abilities. The module also includes significant research time, which is designed to help you further understand the cultural and commercial contexts in which the live and recorded media performance industries operate. You will attend a series of classes, many delivered by visiting professionals, introducing necessary performance, business and self management skills. You will prepare a thoroughly researched critical reflection essay of the career path of the performer. You will have ‘mock-interview’ sessions in which you will be interviewed and/or present auditions and portfolios, and get immediate feedback from industry professionals. You will also be expected to produce a professional opportunities analysis, for which you will research and identify opportunities for your work once you have completed the course. Areas covered will include: The ‘business’ side of acting (agents, accounts, commission etc) -- Effective marketing, including online presence, social media, etc. -- Exploring allied areas in which you may find work -- Self-promotion and networking -- Mock interviews -- Establishing Professional Networks

Further information

Script Analysis For Actors ( CLP11163 )

Working in groups within your year, you will conduct appropriate contextual research and carry out literary analysis of form, style, structure, language and thematic ideas on a number of plays. Each play will be examined in terms of the very specific challenges it poses for actors in practical production. Then plays chosen will vary dependent on the cohort of students. You will work on two individual projects, the first focusing on the relationships between language, character and narrative and the second identification of challenges and character analysis.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Disclaimer

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above, with a background in Drama or Humanities.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient professional work experience within the industry.


English Language requirements 

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test.  The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with 7.0 with no individual component score less than 7.0.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact pgadmissions@napier.ac.uk

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult, Mental Health, Child, Learning Disabilities)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2022/23 2023/24
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £5,170 tba
Overseas and EU £13,765 tba
You study this course over two academic years, fees listed are per annum.

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next.
For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees

Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Careers

Two actors, in costume on stage

This course will give you the skills necessary to work in a variety of areas within the performing arts industry, as well as a wide range of transferable skills (confident communication, leadership, collaborative team working skills, and creative problem solving) that can take you into employment in many other fields.

Career opportunities include:

  • Stage and screen acting
  • Small-scale producing
  • Directing
  • Managing and launching small theatre companies
  • Theatre company management
  • Arts administration
  • Various roles in the entertainment industry which require initiative and creativity
  • Teaching
an actor getting dressed for a scene