Professional Actor Training Programme
The Gaiety School of Acting has been training actors since 1986 and continue to offer the highest quality actor training that will prepare you to work as an actor in Ireland and beyond. We are searching for the finest talent who will dedicate two years to our proven conservatory training programme. Your body, imagination, voice and intellect will be tested in an environment that is intensive, yet which prides itself on giving excellent individual support.
At the Gaiety School of Acting you will get the opportunity to work with tutors who are working industry professionals and experts in their field, as you are trained in all aspects of performance. At this school you will be rewarded and challenged, inspired and empowered to make the best possible work you can make. At the end of your time with us, we position you as close to the industry as is possible, while giving you the skills to make and create your own original and dynamic work.
The Gaiety School of Acting is rated nationally and internationally. Our alumni can be seen across every stage and every TV and film studio creating new work, both nationally and internationally. Our international reputation is built on our proven conservatory track record and our graduates are lauded across the globe garnering Tony and Oscar nominations and numerous UK and Irish awards.
Full-time students engage in an intensive regime of physical, emotional and intellectual training with grounding in core courses. Our faculty consists of top practitioners who have trained at a myriad of prestigious international institutions. In addition to the core teaching staff, we also invite visiting professionals to host specialist workshops over the course of your two years with us.
Your training at the Gaiety School of Acting will take in a number of core courses in addition to special projects. Many of these modules will culminate in the performance of public showcases and a graduation play.
First year consists of ‘learning the language’ of acting: inner and outer awareness, performance principles and a full-bodied preparation for physical, intellectual and emotional growth. Second year focuses on ‘speaking and practicing the language’: strengthening and tuning the actor’s instrument while maintaining a strong emphasis on performance, and beginning to present the work to directors, casting directors and agents.
This module aims to impart to students basic performance techniques, skills, and working habits to equip them for a future as an actor of professional-calibre diligence, responsibility, agency, and technique, as well as a confident personal grasp of process in the context of the theatre-making constellation of practitioners.
Areas of focus include: the actor’s process undertaking scripted performance, from first reading through performance; the exploration of text and character and how that translates to performance both in an ensemble and as an individual; the individual actor’s responsibility to self and others—an ethos of the ensemble and how to work with other actors; the discipline, concentration and drive expected of the actor at a professional level; a constructive vocabulary for thinking about one’s work and that of others, within a culture of circumspect reflection as an indispensable creative tool.
This module provides a detailed understanding of Shakespeare’s language; it seeks to develop a range of tools to appreciate and engage performatively with Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatic texts, in a technique that can be expanded to engage with other such ‘heightened texts’.
Techniques to inspire the imagination are placed at the heart of the work; students will aim to create acting that is believable, engaging and sustainable in either a theatre or film context.
Particular attention is placed on the application of a Stanislavski-based approach and on the interdependence of language, meaning and emotion.
The goal of this module is to instil in students a capacity for inspired acting based on a reliable technique, giving them concrete, definite steps towards the creation of convincing characterisation. The aim is to heighten within the students a sensitivity for the riches of inner life, and enable them to express accurately this inner life with increasing ease.
The module initiates training in psycho-physical work, to promote spontaneous and radiant performance in the actor. It then proceeds to explore Michael Chekhov’s techniques for creating convincing characterisation — techniques that deal primarily with images and sensations. This approach encourages the actor to access creative imagination in search of truthful performances, thereby equipping the actor to work artistically. Using the Michael Chekhov technique, students explore scenes from modern playwrights, rehearsed to performance level.
Improvisation contributes to the development of listening and communicating, as well as individual and group problem solving. In the context of improvisation, characters and situations develop organically and rely on each person being present and open to a range of response.
This module aims to help the actor discover and cultivate their individual voice as a performer through improvisation. It also aims to instil in students essential improvisatory skills for use both in the studio and in performance. Over the course of the module students will be engaged in how to watch fellow actors work, how to offer constructive feedback, and how in turn they can learn from that feedback. They will also seek to gain competency in following direction—including side-coaching and feedback—supporting growth in concentration, flexibility and sensitivity.
It should be noted, that while improvisation as a performance mode often seeks to prioritise laughter provocation in an audience, this module studiously retains a focus on improvisation in the studio as an essential strategy for creative exploration on one hand and augmenting all aspects of the individual’s instrument on the other.
The module aims to introduce students to, and guide them towards, an overall sense of the artist as actor, theatremaker and social agent via the personal, performative statement born and grown through the Manifesto process. By entering and enjoining a creative process, and under strong guidance from the primary tutor as well as various mentors, students work towards a final, fully crafted performance in Year Two. Through a series of prompts and exercises, students are encouraged to discover their own subject matter, voice and style in theatrical terms. The module includes research, reflective practice, and elements of dramaturgical practice. The focus of the module is a journey of discovery through self-expression and performance-making under the assured and supportive oversight of professional practitioners from various areas of specialty.
The module aims to produce multi-skilled and energetic theatre practitioners, enabling students to develop an innovative and proactive approach to theatre making. Students will be equipped with the ability to find or create their own distinctly individual work, whilst also being able to suggest casting opportunities in the work of others. The Manifesto process offers students tools and approaches for generating material for performance, while at the same time developing and building confidence in the student’s own theatre-making process. It empowers students to explore how to situate and contextualise theatre by connecting with the world around them and understanding their place, and the place of performance work, in society. This aspect of the module may include non-theatrical assignments e.g. social, political etc.
The school employs a number of methodologies to ensure the actor has a rounded vocal education with emphasis on the individual’s development. With a particular focus on the teachings of Patsy Rodenburg, the module gives the actor an appreciation of wide definitions of voice and voice work, and of the interconnection between communicative forms, from verbal to non-verbal, sung to spoken, actor/player to writer/theatre maker.
This module aims to introduce students to the practice and ethos of an approach to Clown, rooted in the Mask of Four Temperaments and the Mask of Red Nose. The approach serves as a personal excavation and public opening out for self-expression as well as a technique for an actor’s centring and growth, a search for insight into the universal through the individual vessel. While drawing on the breadth of thought and practice in historic manifestations of the clown it is imperative these traditions are seen and practiced through a modern lens that is inclusive, diverse and gender sensitive.
The aim is to present a series of lectures on Theatre History in a roughly chronological fashion from early Irish Theatre to the present. Each topic is covered in terms of playwrights, plays and characters, genre, themes, influences, innovations, costuming, architecture, actors and theatre practitioners of the period. This course will foster the ability to envision a play as a live performance and to make the students conversant in the vocabulary of theatre.
This module centres on teaching mime techniques based in the practices of Marcel Marceau and Etienne Decroux, equipping students with a physical vocabulary for their development as physical performers and more broadly as actors-in-training. Students will become familiarised with the world of physical theatre, and the particular contribution mime makes to contemporary theatre. This expansion of the performer’s instrument will allow students to become a valuable member and contributor to any company, to the performing arts and cultural life.
This module aims aims to provide a practice-based introduction to the vibrant theatrical form of Cabaret Artistique. The module is based upon the founding premise of early cabaret, or more specifically ‘cabaret artistique’. At its inception cabaret was deliberately a ‘middle-brow’ form of entertainment which sought to address ‘high’ political, cultural and/or sexual themes while employing the ‘low’ forms of lively, short-form variety entertainment. Also connected to these historical roots is a strong, do-it-yourself, iconoclastic ethos in which the conventional artistic pigeonholes separating the disciplines of poetry, music, dance, performance-art, stand-up comedy, and mask could deliberately be transgressed through various combinations. Moreover, this form of cabaret pointedly breaks the fourth wall, with the performers presenting their own personas seeking to connect and interact with their audiences in small, affordable venues.
This module introduces students to technical and pragmatic aspects of theatre production, including producing and directing, for the purpose of building an awareness of the actor’s role and responsibilities in stagecraft. It looks at various positions in the theatremaking constellation, from Stage Manager to Director, Producer, Company Management and House Management. It also explores modes of theatrical staging, such as proscenium, thrust, end stage, theatre-in-the-round, and others, as well as conceptual approaches such as site-specific and interactive theatre. Introduction is also given to conventions for talking about staging in the rehearsal room.
The aim of this module is to improve the student’s core acting skills, through the medium of song, to continue to develop individual singing and general vocal technique, and to further develop the student’s singing skill and confidence, both solo and ensemble.
The Movement module in Year 1 is designed as an introduction to the interplay between anatomy, movement theories and performance qualities. Through exploration of physical techniques, improvisation and movement composition, students will be exposed to a fundamental approach to using the body as a responsive and expressive instrument.
The module focuses on the body as an essential part of the actor’s training. By introducing movement fundamentals that connect mind, body and breath, students will find themselves open to an enhanced range of physical and artistic expression. The movement module is rooted in a range of approaches and practices, including: Somatics; Body Mind Centering; Laban; Feldenkrais; Qigong; Contact Improvisation; Viewpoints; Animal Study; and Movement Observation.
The module requires students to be receptive, present, spatially aware, and able to listen and respond with the whole body. It is designed to support theatre training and future work in the industry.
This module aims to introduce the students to various performance combat routines and techniques. It will provide safe, quality training for actors in all areas of performance combat and will equip students with a basic set of skills advantageous for a future in the theatrical workplace.
Dance movement for the stage seeks to cultivate a strong and supple body, capable of expression in a variety of performative styles. Classes concentrate on body control, energy dynamics, and precision, encouraging students to express themselves through their bodies in realistic and non-naturalistic ways. These classes also provide students with an opportunity to learn about effective uses of space, relationship, and imagination through the creation of short choreographed pieces and the execution of a variety of social and musical theatre compositions. The module imparts to students how dance is framed within a cultural context with the choreography reflecting the social and ethnic traditions of a given era.
The primary objective of this class is to instil in students an active engagement of listening, as distinct from the passive engagement of hearing. Being present and engaged to the resonances within the theatrical process is essential to an actor. Being able to listen to the playwright, the director, fellow cast members and the audience is a fundamental skill, adding depth, integrity and truthfulness to an actor’s performance. Through rhythm work the student will begin the process of fine tuning their listening skills. Ensemble work will mandate that each member of the ensemble is listening to their part, their fellow classmates’ parts and to the overall orchestrated sound that all parts create all using very simple basic patterns. Developing rhythmic awareness is a core principal of this module.
Students are taught the basic repertoire of tap steps as a means of beginning their engagement with rhythm, then going on to explore various rhythmic variations. Emphasis is placed on articulation: clarity of sound, footwork and accuracy of rhythmic patterning as well as maintaining tempo and dancing with accompaniment. Students are given a basic tap warm-up consisting of fundamental tap steps highlighting musical measures, pulse and syncopation. They are thereby introduced to basic bar structures, rhythm patterns and ensemble engagement through a range of musical styles and traditions.
The aim of this module is to introduce the history of drama, theatre and performance by focusing on major theatrical developments from ancient Greece to the turn of the twentieth century. This module will introduce students to a wide variety of theatrical forms, conventions and movements, and deepen knowledge and understanding by positioning these within a range of political, social and cultural contexts.
We will also explore many extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the role of the audience. We will reflect on what theatre and performance tells us about different social values and cultural identities. Alongside this will be an examination of important texts and performances, with application and introduction to feminist analysis. We will also allocate time to discuss and analyse recently attended/viewed productions and frame them within a historical or relevant context.
This one-week intensive module introduces students to the basics of Voice Acting, concentrating on voiceovers for commercials, narrations, podcasts and animations. Basic concepts of using the voice in audio recording will be introduced and practised. Areas of attention include tone, voice placement, pacing, dynamics, articulation, breath control, plosives and proximic effect. The module also introduces and invites the students to explore the possibilities of ‘funny voices’, etc., which are often called for in the field of animation work. The module culminates in a one-hour radio script written by the course tutor and specifically tailored to the class.
This module is intended to equip students with the practical requirements of working as an actor in Ireland. The course will cover fundraising, the writing of funding and grant applications, budget creation and general industry knowledge.
This module aims to begin development of audition skills and abilities in a supportive environment for the purpose of preparing students for professional theatre auditions. The module will include attention to honing those audition skills and gaining confidence as well as working as an ensemble (a driving element of the school’s ethos). Students will be assisted in cultivating sightreading skills. They will be asked to prepare pieces each week and they will be assessed on their level of preparation and delivery of the work. All students are expected to attend each class and give feedback and observations to each mock audition, to work within the ensemble with openness and generosity while demonstrating individual skill and ability, and demonstrating openness and ability to take direction.
Delivered by a series of external and inhouse industry experts, this module will prepare the actors in training for the practicalities of the industry, from acquiring an agent to selecting a headshot.
The module takes on a diverse approach integrating a range of physical, vocal and ensemble exercises each day. This will allow students to draw from a broad spectrum of practises when working as an independent artist, giving them a toolkit of exercises that are needed to assist full readiness and expression. By starting BUA as the first class of the day, the students are taught how essential it is to have a structured and deeply disciplined work ethic as an artist.
The range of physical and vocal exercises aims to strengthen each student’s fitness, stamina, performance ability and focus, which will lead them to becoming a more versatile and embodied performer. Studio exercises and explorations will develop kinesthetic skills, spatial awareness and physical development of the body and voice.
Throughout the module, students will be offered a range of movement styles and be facilitated in physical improvisations. Not only will students expand their physical capabilities but will also gain tools of physical theatre making and in collaboration.
Acting in Audio
IMPORTANT DATES AND INFORMATION
Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out about GSA’s current response to Covid-19 here.
Applicants must be over 18 years old when the programme begins. Please do NOT apply if you are not turning 18 before 1st October 2023.
Applications now open for the class beginning October 2023. Apply here now.
- EU students €5,500 per annum
- Non-EU students €15,000 per annum
- Production levy: €500
- Theatre Visits: €350
- €65 application fee
Our graduates are prolific on stage and screen, both nationally and internationally. Graduates of the full-time actor training programme include Aidan Turner, Sarah Greene, Charlie Murphy, Colin Farrell. You can learn more about what our recent graduates have been up to here or puruse all our graduates here.