Acting BA Welcome Pack

Welcome to Acting BA 2022.

Congratulations on making it onto the course. On behalf of the staff here, we would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to your studies onto the Acting BA (Hons) programme in the Faculty of Arts Science and Technology (FAST) at the University of Northampton.

Acting BA (Hons) at the University of Northampton is one of the most intensive actor training programmes available within a Higher Education Institution. With classes ranging from technique, voice and movement over all three years of the course, screen and radio technique and certification in stage combat, alongside opportunities to work with industry professionals throughout, you will graduate with the skills required to compete at the highest level of this very difficult and demanding industry.

You will have the opportunity to study – in depth – a number of practitioners, from Stanislavski to Meisner, to Yat Malmgren in six purpose-built studios in the heart of Northampton Town Centre.

We train actors, and if this is something that you need to become, then this programme is for you, and we welcome the opportunity to work with you!

I hope you really enjoy the next three years in Northampton. It will be hard work but both fun and rewarding too. You will make life-long friends and learn life-long skills.

The course will:

  • Give you a foundation that positively impacts the rest of your life
  • Prepare you for the future with valuable employability skills
  • Build on your creative strength, ability and technical performance skills
  • Expose you to Real World Application – Understanding of the world of work and society
  • Develop your leadership and other valuable transferable skills

The holistic approach we take to training actors means that from the very first day of Welcome Week we expect the highest standards of punctuality, discipline and professionalism, and this should permeate through everything you do, from your appearance to your communication with each other, the staff and the wider public.

Your programme involves a full-time commitment. As with any high-level training, it involves repetition and considerable practice. Your commitment to the hours designated and additional rehearsals are an expectation of the programme. Your total student experience is the sum of the timetabled hours, personal exercises, warm-ups, rehearsals, performances and theatre visits.

Your audition day will have provided you with a good insight into the positive working environment you will experience as a student. We are very proud of our very successful graduates and this journey begins from day one.

You can access further detailed information with regard to resources you need to obtain prior to commencing studies on NILE.

This site contains details of any timetables and information about Welcome Week which we would advise you to read before the start of term.

I look forward to learning with you.

Your Programme Leader

Gemma Boaden Programme Leader in ActingGemma Boaden

Programme Leader Acting BA (Hons) and Senior Vocal Lead Lecturer






To help you prepare for the academic year ahead below is a list of materials that you will require for your first term:

  • Writing paper/note pads
  • At least 2 A4 ring binders for workshops/seminars
  • Pens, pencils (fitted with eraser)
  • Yoga Mat

You will need to have appropriate clothes for your classes, we recommend:

  • 3 x Plain black, comfortable fitting t-shirts (not baggy)
  • 2 x Plain black, comfortable track/dance bottoms (not too tight but not baggy)
  • Females will also need a long black rehearsal skirt

For your dance classes:

  • Females – leotard combined with tights/dance shorts/dance leggings. Sports bras are essential.
  • Males – unitards or dance vests & men’s dance tights/shorts.
  • Completely flat soled ballet shoes (leather or canvas) – jazz shoes which have a small heel are not permitted.
  • Close fitting cover-ups/warm-ups are permitted as layers but must be removeable.
  • Males will also require a dance belt for support when wearing a unitard/tights (essential)

All items required are available from Dance Direct, Dancewear, or any dancewear retail store.

You are not permitted to wear outdoor shoes in any of the studios; instead you can either work in bare feet, black plimsolls or black jazz shoes. Outdoor trainers are not permitted.

Jewellery and fake nails are not permitted for health and safety reasons.

For Stage Combat:
If you do not wish to work in plimsolls for stage combat, you should purchase some indoor trainers to wear for this class.

For Movement Classes:
It is advisable that you all purchase your own yoga mat for the floor work you will do as part of these classes.

For Voice Classes:
It is essential that you purchase your Level 1 and 2 Estill Workbooks prior to beginning in October. Information on purchasing these books can be found via the welcome week NILE page above.
There is an inclusive fee of £55 for both books. We are lucky enough to be one of only 9 institutions in the world to have the prestigious Estill voice training recognition and the workbooks are an essential part of this.

Reading list

Once you start with us, all of your core reading will be available from the University Library for free. You will not have to buy any core textbooks and with access to countless books, eBooks and journals there’s enough to keep you busy for your entire degree.

Below you will find a list of books that we suggest you read for each module. These are texts that are essential you read prior to commencing the course and re-read during the modules to aid your success within each module. They are books we as Academics believe you will find of great benefit to own and therefore if you can purchase them, we strongly recommend that you do.

Acting Methodologies 1 module
  • Stanislavski, K. (2010) An Actor’s Work. (Translated by Jean Benedetti) Oxon: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-415-55120-5
  • Hagen, U. (1991) A Challenge for the Actor. U.S.A.: Scribner. ISBN: 0-68419040-0
Vocal Technique for Actors 1 module
  • Houseman, B. (2002) Finding Your Voice – a step-by-step guide for actors. Bodmin: Nick Hern Books. ISBN: 978-1-85459-659-8
  • Estill, J. Level 1 and 2 Workbooks. Can be purchased via: TBC
Improvisation for Actors 1 module
  • Clements, Paul (1983) The Improvised Play. ISBN:9781854597823
  • Johnstone, Keith (1981) Improv: Improvisation and the Theatre. ISBN-13: 978-0713687019
Actors Body and Movement 1 module
  • Snow, J (2012), Movement Training for Actors. ISBN-10: 1408128578
Theories and Histories of Acting module

The only texts you need to buy for this module are listed below, and the full overview of readings is in the Module Overview section on NILE.

  • Baldwin, J – The Blues for Mr Charlie
  • Ibsen, H – A Doll’s House
  • Fugard, A – Statements After an Arrest Following the Immorality Act
  • Soyinka, W – Death and the King’s Horseman

I hope this helps you to prepare and should you have any further questions or queries, please feel free to contact your PAT tutor Mr Emmett Tams or myself

Enhancing skills, building networks and engaging in the wider University community

​Five top tips before you get started
  1. See as much theatre and performance as you can, whether it’s the local pantomime in your village hall, big budget shows in London’s West End or everything in between!
  2. Read plays – lots of them! As an actor, you should be able to read a play a day. Get those reading skills exercised now. Once you have your student ID, you will be able to access Drama Online which will give you free access to thousands of plays. When reading plays, make sure you read them aloud – an actor should get used to reading aloud, it helps you to experience the language in a more embodied manner.
  3. Exercise your memorisation skills. Challenge yourself to learn a poem or a speech a week!
  4. Get as fit as you can. This programme is highly practical and involves a lot of physical activity. From simple things such as walking around your local park to more complex activities such as yoga, martial arts, high intensity exercises, all will help you to thrive in this exciting training. If there is nothing locally available in your area, there are a wealth of free resources online that you can engage with in preparation. Making sure you get your fitness levels up over the summer will help your transition more easily to week 1 of your training.
  5. Learn how to cook simple, nutritious meals. Being healthy is vital for actors so will benefit you in staying the course in this demanding environment. Meals from the simple baked potato to the student staple – spaghetti bolognese – will help you to maintain the energy that is required of our student actors.

We recognise that it is impossible to be 100%, 100% of the time but it is something that we can strive towards and we as a staff team will do everything we can to help you achieve your goals!

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