1 Year Diploma in Professional Acting

1 Year Diploma in Professional Acting

All places for 2017 entry have now been filled.

Drama Studio London graduates confident actors, comfortable in the skills necessary to secure regular, quality acting work. We have an exceptionally high success rate in the profession amongst alumni from all our courses. Alongside modern training, we thoroughly immerse the student in the traditional skills of classical language, with particular reference to voice. Each full time course covers all aspects of the modern actor’s professional needs. It is a classical training for today’s profession. 

If you are considering a full time acting programme we encourage you to look through all three courses and think about which might be best for you.

You might also consider coming to one of our frequent Open Days where you get the opportunity to try us out for free. The morning includes an acting and a movement class, a tour of the school and a Q&A session.

Who is it the course for?
• Applicants who have some acting experience either at University or elsewhere
• Those who have the energy and resources to work flat out for 40 weeks
• Actors who have considerable talent, no matter how raw, mixed with a passion, an enthusiasm, a sense of fun and a commitment to hard work.
• Applicants aged 21 years and above. We also welcome more mature students.


  • Course Overview
  • Course Structure
  • Performances
  • Tutorial System

CDET transparent pngfos logo positive cmykDrama Studio London is also ACCREDITED by the CDET, a governing body that accredits only the top drama schools in the country (this awards us industry recognition of achievement), and is a member of the Federation of Drama Schools.

Our courses are vocational and practical and upon graduating you will receive a recognised diploma in Professional Acting along with Spotlight and Equity membership and a full career launch to present you to professional agents and casting directors.

Should you wish, you can elect to take the Trinity College London Diploma in Professional Acting alongside the second year of your course with minimal extra time commitments and only a small additional fee. The Diploma is QCF/NQF Level 5, which is also equivalent to the first 2 years of a BA which you can top up later to a full BA degree.  

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Our 1 Year Diploma in Professional Acting started back in 1966 as a radical, new and vocational approach to drama training. The training is vocational and practical, is full time and runs over 40 weeks.

During the course we aim to take students through the three stages of learning:

1. Awareness: of yourself and the needs of the profession.
2. Skills: learning techniques which are relevant to you and for your career.
3. Application: using this awareness and these skills in performance and employment.

» Find out about our style of training here

Classwork 50%

We teach in groups of approximately 12-14 to ensure a balance of group and individual work. Classes are interactive and practical. These are vocational, not academic courses. We believe in classical training with a modern focus. We do not dictate a single methodology but offer several and encourage each student to find their own process. 

Productions 50%

There are between two and four productions each term. As the courses progress the productions become longer with an increase in production values. During the course students will perform in a variety of European and American Dramatic styles. In the graduation productions the students perform in full length plays with technical support. All of our directors are working professionals offering an invaluable gateway into the profession.

Text Blocks

The course begins with Scene Studies from modern plays before moving onto longer in-house productions of Chekhov, Restoration, Pantomime and Shakespeare before the final full scale graduation productions.

Our courses also include projects on Cabaret, Musical Theatre, Ensemble and Devised Work.

Student Progress

Before and after every block of work the Directors of Studies meet with Heads of Department along with outgoing and incoming directors and review every student's development. Casting for the next block is decided upon needs and development. Our strong Tutorial System supports this process, providing both educational support and pastoral care.

Film & TV

Core acting classes for screen and TV stretch throughout the year. You work with current professional TV directors on all styles of screen acting. You also have training in commercials and TV interviews, with sight reading on camera. The final exercise will be to produce a short film which you can use professionally for casting. You can see previous year's film clips in our Media Room.

Microphone Technique

As part of the Microphone Technique course, students record two extracts of approximately one minute each which are then uploaded to their Spotlight page, allowing casting directors, radio producers and theatre and television directors to hear examples of their acting and voices on mic.  A teacher from the department assists with the selection and direction of pieces which show the student to best advantage and these are recorded in our on site studio by an experienced sound technician. 

After graduation, there is the opportunity to record a longer voice reel - for an additional cost - to which these extracts can be added. 

Preparing for Work

Working professionals visit the studio throughout the year to share their knowledge and to answer student questions. Industry-oriented classes are added as the year goes on. These instruct you in auditioning skills, letter writing, CVs and photographs, culminating in a Work Week where students are seen by agents, casting directors, TV directors, professional employers and others.

Festivals & Competitions

Students are eligible to represent Drama Studio London in the BBC Carleton Hobbs Radio Competition, Spotlight Showcase, Sam Wanamaker Festival at the Globe Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company Workshops. 

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The Graduation Season

Presentation to the profession begins with the graduates' showcase in the Summer term. This progressing to Ensemble performances and final Graduation Productions in a central London theatre. Agents, casting directors and other industry professionals are invited to attend.

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Olivia Vinall Talks: The View From The National Theatre



After graduation, there is the opportunity to record a longer voice feel - for an additional cost - to which these extracts can be added. 

Download the Course Syllabus Overview 

Winter Term

During this time you will begin to understand the nature and the language of actor training and what it means to be a professional actor: exploring your creativity, gaining confidence, and losing any sense of fear or self-consciousness.

Basic skills are taught in technical classes of movement, voice and speech and a whole series of acting classes, followed by short scene study performances. In the TV and Radio studios, you begin to explore screen acting and microphone technique.

In the second half of the term you will start with a Chekhov text block and end with ten days of full-time rehearsal for a traditional English Pantomime, which is then taken on tour by bus to schools in and around Ealing.

Spring Term

The term begins with a two-day Shakespeare Workshop followed by a series of verse tutorials. Please note that beginning your training with a regional/national dialect is a not a barrier to classical training.

With your growing understanding of text and performance, you progress to a Shakespeare serious text block, followed by a Shakespeare comedy text block with increasing production values.

Your TV and microphone work continues with such things as period drama, soap operas, radio plays and commercial voice-over work.

Following a two day workshop, this term is completed with a Restoration play performed in full period costume. A familiarity with these difficult texts will be needed should you ever work in this genre and if you can master them in your training, you will feel more at ease when you audition for anything (from Shakespeare to Sitcom) during your career.

Summer Term

Following a week of workshops with industry professionals you will film and record TV and radio clips with external professionals. The graduate Showcase takes place in a West End theatre to which agents, casting directors and other industry professionals are invited. The training then culminates in two projects to which members of the profession are again invited: firstly, short Ensemble 'Open Space' plays and secondly, fully staged graduation productions. Both projects are presented in appropriate Central London venues.

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*NB: Course details and structure are subject to change if necessary.

Teaching includes the following classes. Click here to see our teaching staff.

Acting Classes

• Impulse • Emotional dynamics • Character • Improvisation • Drama based training • Classical text • Class scenes work • Stage craft • Storytelling • Sightreading • Approach to text • Text into performance •

Movement Classes

• Movement • Dance • Combat • Laban • Period movement • Physical theatre • Yoga • 

Voice Classes

• Voice production • Speech • Singing • Accents • Phonetics • Public speaking

Media Classes

• Screen acting (TV & Film) • Commercials • Microphone technique • Voice overs • Corporate work

Education Classes

• Auditions • Special education needs • Theatre history • Work Week 

Throughout both courses we balance our teaching with performances. The teaching in each department relates to the performance blocks in rehearsal.

At the beginning of the course all students work on a number of short scenes from contemporary scripts before moving onto Chekhov.

Students then join those from the second year of the 2 Year Diploma course to perform pantomimes which tour local schools.

In the new year students begin with a Shakespeare workshop, exploring his first folio, before moving onto Shakespeare comedy and serious performances. The final performance block of the spring term is Restoration.

The final term begins with a film/TV project and the Graduation Showcase before students join their colleagues on the 2 Year Diploma course for the Graduation Productions, playing at least one major role as close as possible to their likely casting in the profession.

Throughout the course there is the opportunity to hone talents which an actor may be called upon to use. There is an annual cabaret, singing concerts and a dance and singing performance.

As an acting school we focus on just that. As the courses progress we add more and more production values. At the start of each course, the performances are ‘bare bulb’ shows without sound or costume. These are added to steadily by our directors and our in house technician and wardrobe mistress, until we reach the final public performances when we have a large crew of freelance technicians from all specialisms to mount full productions.

Students at the Graduation Productions


This is one of the strongest features of Drama Studio London. Each student is assigned a personal tutor who will work with them right up to graduation.

The personal tutor has three responsibilities:
1. To support the student throughout the course and be their advocate at staff meetings.
2. To give feedback after a performance and relate the thoughts of teaching specialists.
3. To have a pastoral role.

Every student's progress is reviewed by the Principal, the relevant Director of Year, the Heads of Department, the recent director and the tutor at least twice a term. Immediately after these staff meetings the tutors meet each of their group in a one to one session.

There are also regular one to one tutorial sessions with the specialist Department Heads of Voice, Movement and Media, as well as termly meetings with the Director of Year and the Principal.

Feedback is honest and encouraging; and frequent and there is a constant correlation between performance and class work. How a student works is as important as the end result.

Despite these numerous tutorials and coaching sessions, we never lose sight of the student's own responsibility. A strong work ethic is encouraged from the very beginning.


We are committed to creating an environment that is safe physically, emotionally and psychologically. There are always opportunities for students to discuss concerns with senior staff, as well as their tutor, and appointments can also be made with our fully qualified external student counsellor. These appointments, as well as any contact with our eating disorders help line, are kept totally confidential. 

Safeguarding is a two way responsibility. A student who has concerns regarding Safeguarding, Diversity or Equality has a responsibility to bring this up with any senior member of staff with whom they feel comfortable.

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Key Facts

  • Start Date: Monday 4th September 2017
  • End Date: Sunday 29th July 2018
  • Course Fee: £12,000+vat
  • Audition Fee: £47.50
  • Certificate of Study: Vocational Diploma in Professional Acting
  • Academic Qualification: Level 5 Trinity College Diploma in Professional Acting (optional)
  • Accreditation: Drama UK
  • Career Launch: Showcase, Ensemble Performance, Graduation Show
Keyton Frances

Frances Keyton

1YR Professional Acting 2016

For people who have tried life but keep coming back to acting, this school is the perfect fit. Every day the intensive lessons challenged and drew something unexpected out of me. At DSL you're expected to be brave. I was at my best physically and spiritually during my training, and still use many of my notes daily. A life investment.

Visit our alumni pages


Thinking of Applying?

Read Robert Hazle's (2014 graduate) blog about his experiences Applying and Auditioning for drama schools. "If you're reading this, you're either applying or considering applying to DSL or another Drama School. If that's the case, you're in the right place. Here's my experience of the process..." 

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