Cygnet Theatre

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Cygnet Theatre - 40 years of training actors. Learn on the stage as working ensemble.

“The Cygnet’s method is eminently practical and reminded me of my own early invaluable experience as an actor in regional repertory companies, tackling play after Read More play through the year. Audiences taught me more than any academic class could. In future, when I am asked what an aspiring actor can do to advance their hopes of a career in live theatre, I shall recommend applying for a place at the Cygnet.” Sir Ian McKellen

Nestled in the heart of Exeter, just above its beautiful quayside, Cygnet Theatre has been training actors and entertaining audiences since 1980. Originally founded by Monica Shallis and Mary Evans, our ethos has always been to train actors by throwing them into the footlights and performing to the public from day one. Our patron is the renowned theatre and film director Peter Brook.

“An actor must be able to do, in an understanding, controlled and totally exceptional way, those things which other people do every day without the actor’s awareness of quality: to stand, to walk, to sit etc. and in the process of this, to love, to hate, to laugh, to cry, and sometimes to kill or to die.” Monica Shallis, Founder.

Cygnet’s training takes a learn-while-doing approach, giving live performances as an ensemble to paying audiences from term one. All students should expect to be part of at least one touring production and benefit from the direction of multiple directors, both in-house and visiting. Our students graduate with a working knowledge of how to enter the industry. All drama school students receive tutorials and group work as well as masterclasses with industry professionals. Stage combat training is offered to all students with third year students being offered the opportunity to continue on to advanced level training. Because our training is focused on live performance, students engage with other aspects of the industry such as stage management, lighting and costume. Read Less

Remote Auditions

Foundation in Acting

Audition Fee: Free

Three Year Professional Acting

Audition Fee: Free

Postgraduate Course in Acting

Audition Fee: Free

Course & Program

Qualification Level: Three Year Professional Diploma

Cygnet’s training takes a learn-while-doing approach, giving live performances as an ensemble to paying audiences from term one. All students should expect to be part of at least one touring production and benefit from the direction of multiple directors, both in-house and visiting. Our students graduate with a working knowledge of how to enter the industry.  All drama school students receive tutorials and group work as well as masterclasses with industry professionals. Stage combat training is offered to all students with third year students being offered the opportunity to continue on to advanced level training. All students are expected to take an ATCL Diploma (Trinity) with the potential to move on to the LTCL (equivalent to a third year at a university). Because our Drama School training is focused on live performance, students engage with other aspects of the industry such as stage management, lighting and costume.

The three-year course balances classwork with rehearsal for the ongoing programme of productions. Tutorials and group classes cover acting, voice, singing, movement (including Alexander Technique and dance), text, film, radio and stage combat. All students in their third year present their work in a London Showcase to an audience of invited industry contacts. Third year students will also benefit from industry preparation and guidance to launch their careers successfully as well as leaving with a professionally produced show reel and voice reel.

Course Duration: Three Years

Course Fee: £ 7500.00 For Year

Qualification Level: Foundation

Cygnet’s training takes a learn-while-doing approach, giving live performances as an ensemble to paying audiences from term one. All students should expect to be part of at least one touring production and benefit from the direction of multiple directors, both in-house and visiting. Our students graduate with a working knowledge of how to enter the industry.  All drama school students receive tutorials and group work as well as masterclasses with industry professionals. Stage combat training is offered to all students with third year students being offered the opportunity to continue on to advanced level training. All students are expected to take an ATCL Diploma (Trinity) with the potential to move on to the LTCL. Because our Drama School training is focused on live performance, students engage with other aspects of the industry such as stage management, lighting and costume.

Foundation year students follow the same pathway as a first-year student. Most foundation students will be offered the opportunity to continue into the second year if they wish, providing they meet the expected standard. Whether or not they choose to stay with Cygnet, Foundation students will have a solid grounding in acting technique as well as the chance to ‘test drive’ some other aspects of the industry such as stage management to consider how they would like to move forward with their career. They will also have the opportunity to take their ATCL, which is equivalent to Level 4 QRL, or a first year at a university.

Course Duration: One Year

Course Fee: £ 7500.00 For Year

Qualification Level: Post Graduate

Cygnet’s training takes a learn-while-doing approach, giving live performances as an ensemble to paying audiences from term one. All students should expect to be part of at least one touring production and benefit from the direction of multiple directors, both in-house and visiting. Our students graduate with a working knowledge of how to enter the industry.  All drama school students receive tutorials and group work as well as masterclasses with industry professionals. Stage combat training is offered to all students with third year students being offered the opportunity to continue on to advanced level training. All students are expected to take an ATCL Diploma (Trinity) with the potential to move on to the LTCL. Because our Drama School training is focused on live performance, students engage with other aspects of the industry such as stage management, lighting and costume.

The one-year postgraduate programme offers a detailed and flexible training leading to a London Graduate Showcase performance. In addition to the ensemble-based technical training in Voice, Movement and Acting, post-graduate students will receive career mentoring from industry professionals. They will join the third year acting students, leaving with a professionally created show reel and voice reel and will be given the option to take qualifications including the ATCL Diploma (Trinity) with the potential to move on to the LTCL.

Eligibility: Candidates should have completed a first degree and/or have relevant professional experience to qualify.

Course Duration: One Year

Course Fee: £ 8000.00 For Year

Awarding Bodies
Students are entered for Trinity College London Diplomas Performance (Speech & Drama)
British Academy of Dramatic Combat