2 Year Diploma in Professional Acting

All places for 2017 entry have now been filled.

Our 2 Year Diploma in Professional Acting began in 2005. It runs for 60 weeks over six terms. It includes all the tried and trusted elements of as the one year course, but allows us to offer a few extra components such as a fully devised production, some mask and clown work, a greater variety of teaching styles and more time devoted to developing techniques. There is also scope for longer classes and blocks of work, with more team teaching and greater flexible approaches to students' needs. The coursed is totally vocational and practical.

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 the course for?
• Actors who have considerable talent, no matter how raw, mixed with a passion, an enthusiasm, a sense of fun and a commitment to the hard work required for this intensive course.
• Those who may want to work in the evenings, weekends or during the long summer break in order to help fund their training.
• Students who have technical challenges, perhaps vocal or physical, which require an intensive two year period of development.
• Students with the attitude to maintain development over a Two Year period and who want or need a little more reflection time in their learning.
• We welcome applicants aged 19 years and above and encourage applications from more mature students for whom this course might be appropriate.

  • 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 courses are vocational and practical and 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
3. Application: using this awareness and these skills in performance and employment.

» Find out about our style of training here

More Time

With a standard working day and only occasional weekend or evening work, the course allows you to maintain a part-time evening or weekend job. Also, the 2 1/2 month Summer holiday allows you to work to build up funds for the second year. This is an advantage for people on limited budgets. However, you must bear in mind that the work required for the course will demand independent home study and research time outside of the scheduled timetable.

How to Study

Especially in the first term, there are more opportunities to look at how to study effectively. You will find out about coping with and managing the demands of the course, changing old learning patterns and building confidence. You will also discover why there are no right answers.

The two–year course is designed to turn you into a working actor, taking you into professional life with the full complement of skills and knowledge you will need. You only train once – it has to be right for the real world of acting; it has to be right for you. 

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, and Commedia del'Arte. 

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 (like the one above) 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

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 the 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



View the Course Syllabus Overview

Year One

Technique - Term 1 (Winter Term)

The Technique Term concentrates on the technical needs of individual students, using different approaches to identify problems and start correcting them. Most of the work takes place in the classroom environment. Reflective and diagnostic processes are introduced alongside the improvised and rehearsed. Classes last different times depending on the material. There is a mixture of whole group and individual activities.

Scene Study 1: Two or three–handed scenes from modern texts are used to APPLY basic acting techniques in rehearsal, culminating in a performance directed by your Course Tutor.

The Process in Rehearsal - Term 2 (Spring Term)

This term deepens the students understanding of specific acting methods in class and in application to a scene study performance. As the starting point to actor training, Stanislavski's system and related methods are used to explore the actor's vocabulary within the working process. 

Scene Study 2: Building on Scene Study 1 and working with a different Director, in a different group. The scene may have a more complicated atmosphere, relationships or style of writing.

Language - Term 3 (Summer Term)

The term starts with a Chekhov scene study followed by a workshop based on Shakespeare's First Folio and the performance clues he wrote for his actors within his extraordinary use of language and verse. The term then continues to explore his texts in scene studies, initially with minimal production values.

Scene Study 3: Chekhov
Scene Study 4:
Short Scenes from Shakespeare's plays. A one week intensive rehearsal period, working on very short scenes, in which the student can become comfortable with adjusting their acquired acting skills to the language, verse and style of Shakespeare. Please note that beginning your training with a regional/national dialect is a not a barrier to classical training.
Scene Study 5: Students rehearse an abridged version of one of Shakespeare's Histories/Tragedies, with an emphasis on speaking the verse.
Scene Study 6: Completing the first year is a devised piece at an appropriate central London venue to an invited audience of friends and family.

Year Two

Commedia - Term 4 (Winter Term)

Scene Study 7: The term begins with a "Clown & Mask" project and performance, exploring the physical, vocal and emotional demands of working with masks.
Scene Study 8: Scenes from Shakespeare's comedies and Late Romances.
Scene Study 9: Pantomime. You will rehearse a specially written pantomime in a week and then perform it in local schools.

Ensemble - Term 5 (Spring Term)

In preparation for the next text block, there is then a comedy workshop based on Restoration plays and incorporating the Commedia dell´Arte.

Scene Study 10: Restoration. You will work on texts from the late 17th century. Style, wit and language set within the context of gossip and intrigue.
Scene Study 11: Plays from the late–19th and early–20th century cannon, including works by Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward and George Bernard Shaw. From this point on you will have an opportunity to explore whole plays. Groups may not be exactly the same size. Parts may be shared or a student may take several roles as appropriate

The Finale - Term 6 (Summer Term)

Graduate Showcase: The graduates´ showcase takes place in a West End theatre early in term 6. Agents, casting directors and other industry professionals are invited to attend. The training then culminates in two projects to which members of the profession are 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 • Mask • Mime • Clowning

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

The first year focuses on class work and technique before students move on to perform short scenes from contemporary scripts. Work then begins on Chekhov and Shakespeare’s first folio and the year culminates in a Devised Performance in a small central London theatre in front of an invited audience of family and friends.

In the second year students start off with a mask and clowning workshop before moving onto Shakespeare comedy and finally, joining students from the 1 Year Diploma course, perform pantomimes which tour local primary schools.

Moving into the new year students on the 2 Year Diploma course progress onto Restoration and fully staged 19th century plays. The final terms begins with a film/TV project and the Graduation Showcase before students join their colleagues on the 1 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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• Actors who have considerable talent, no matter how raw, mixed with a passion, an enthusiasm, a sense of fun and a commitment to the hard work required for this intensive course.

• Those who may want to work in the evenings, weekends or during the long summer break in order to help fund their training.

• Students who have technical challenges, perhaps vocal or physical, which require an intensive two year period of development.

• Students with the attitude to maintain development over a Two Year period and who want or need a little more reflection time in their learning.

• We welcome applicants aged 19 years and above and encourage applications from more mature students for whom this course might be appropriate.

Key Facts

  • Start Date: Monday 23rd October 2017
  • End Date: Sunday 28th July 2019
  • Course Fee: £8,500+vat per year
  • 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

Ana Torre

2YR Professional Acting 2015

I had the most amazing time at DSL and I feel that I am leaving thoroughly prepared for the challenges ahead of me. The amount of support I received from the teachers throughout was incredible and I'll never be able to thank them enough.

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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My First Week at DSL

Amy Harris: 2YR Professional Acting 2014

"Rumours had been spreading about Keith O'Brien's legendary exercise warm ups since day one of the course, and today we got to experience the first small section of that. I'm pleased to report that I'm still standing, and although I was rather sweaty, and I know it's going to get harder, it wasn't the utter disaster that I had predicted it might be." 

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