This is our Acting Diploma, developed in association with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School - part of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, and one of the leading drama schools in the world.

We have created a unique course that draws on the richness and rigour of the drama training at the Old Vic Theatre School but makes it available for 16-18 year olds. In short, it will deliver the highest quality training that will equip you to take the next steps to be a professional actor.

The course is a full time two year Extended Level 3 Diploma (that’s the equivalent of up to 3 A* A-levels) at the end of which you can choose to progress to university or drama school. You’ll experience a comprehensive teaching programme of workshops, classes and productions taught by expert staff. Places are limited to a maximum of 30 students per year.

As a Professional Acting student you will be at the heart of Bristol’s creative community, taking advantage of the wide range of partnerships that boomsatsuma has built in the city’s vibrant theatre scene.

At Bristol Old Vic Theatre School there’ll be opportunities to visit the school, see student shows and gain insights into their training. There’ll also be occasional specialist sessions from Theatre School staff or alumni.

There’ll be theatre trips to see productions at the Old Vic Theatre and Tobacco Factory and talks by professionals working or touring to the city.

We have a network of contacts that extends right through the innovative companies that make Bristol a centre for the performing arts from Desperate Men to Myrtle Theatre, Show of Strength to Bristol Old Vic’s Young Company.

We’ll make sure that, as a student, you benefit from the widest possible experiences that Bristol has to offer.

It will be an intensive and challenging acting course, with the standards and expectations of a professional actor training.

It’s designed to:

  • Develop you as a young contemporary actor

  • Discover your individuality 

  • Equip you to be a creative theatre maker

As a student, you’ll have a personalised learning programme and you’ll work with your tutors to develop specific areas of skill. We’ll support your progression so we can best help you to achieve your ambitions beyond the course, whether that’s university, drama school or in some cases entry into the profession. 

As well as acting you’ll learn about careers in production and technical theatre and if that’s a route you want to explore we can broker learning and work experience with our partners. We’ll support your progression to a technical theatre course or into work and having an understanding of the acting process will stand you in good stead.

You’ll receive 24 hours a week of contact time over 38 weeks a year for 2 years. The weekly timetable is structured over 4 days leaving a day for independent study and assignments.



The course will help you to discover the actor you are, your unique voice, and how you find the truth to be able to create character.

The core of the programme is the acting class that runs throughout the course. There you will learn about searching for and communicating truth, find inspiration from exploring acting techniques from Augusto Boal to Meisner, and develop ownership of your work as a theatre maker.

The voice programme focuses on learning how the voice works, voice production techniques, speech and accent work and interpreting text.

The movement programme works to free the body from constraints and personal habits and develop a more conscious control of the body as the actor’s instrument. You’ll explore a variety of different approaches to character physicality including Laban, Animal Studies and Rasa Box. 

In addition you’ll take units in:

  • Physical Theatre

  • Masks and Puppetry

  • Comedy

  • Acting for Camera


Workshop and production

In Year 1 each term focuses on a rehearsal project that puts the skills work into practice. At the end of the year, as a group, you’ll devise an issue-based community piece for production.

In Year 2 the focus moves to performance with a TV and film project and major productions; one whole group ensemble piece that could be site specific and then the group divides to work on two final productions in professional theatres in Bristol.

Audition technique and support for drama school or university entry run right through to the second year of the course.



You will study the work of the artists who have influenced current theatre practice and how theatre genres have developed. You will learn how the performing arts industry is organised and how to build a career in it. You’ll have the opportunity to try out technical theatre skills and put them into practice as you learn about the production process.

You’ll be expected to work as part of a group, responding to a range of stimuli and challenging your personal and creative potential alongside your learning of acting and theatre techniques.  You’ll be required to undertake independent rehearsal, study and research to inform and enhance your learning and development.


How is the course assessed?

This is a very practical course and we assess you in a variety of ways:

  • Assessment is by coursework based on assignments set in each unit

  • Assignments will involve: performance projects, individual research, group work and project work- all uploaded to an online portfolio.

  • Assessments are graded at Distinction, Merit or Pass

On successful completion of the course, you will be awarded an overall Distinction, Merit or Pass grade.


The leap from enjoying drama at school to working as a professional actor is huge. The depth of craft to take on and the range of skills to develop require total dedication and extraordinary mental and physical stamina.

Many young people arrive at drama school ill prepared. boomsatsuma’s new Professional Acting Diploma is an excellent preparation for drama school so young people aged 16 can, for the first time, really experience what acting training is all about and can get a head start learning their craft.

It has a drama school curriculum and ethos and is taught by expert staff who work in the industry. It’s for young people who are serious about acting so I think it’s a really exciting addition to the industry and I’m delighted to be its patron.

  Charlie Cox


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RSL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative and Performing Arts (Acting)

Up to 168 points - Equivalent to 3 A levels 

2 years








We often get asked by prospective students and parents alike, "what can I do with this qualification?", "will it get me anywhere?' and "am I cutting off my options by doing it?".


The truth is there are a lot of careers advisors, heads of sixth forms and subject teachers who can't answer those questions. There's also a lot of mis-information out there,  so we thought we'd give you the FACTS.


Here are the common misconceptions;


1. Diplomas aren't worth as much as A levels. UNTRUE

Level 3 Extended Diplomas (such as the ones we offer) have exactly the same UCAS points value as A levels. If you want to pursue a traditional academic subject route at university then you'll need A levels and our courses aren't for you.


2. If I want to study drama /theatre studies at university I'll need an A level in Drama/ Theatre Studies. UNTRUE

While some older universities whose BA programmes are very academic, such as Warwick and Manchester, will ask for an A level in a relevant subject , there are many who will accept an Extended Diploma, for example Falmouth University Acting BA (Hnrs), Middlesex University Theatre Arts BA(Hnrs) and Royal Holloway College University of London (one of the most prestigious university theatre departments in the UK).


3. I would like to go to drama school but I know it's very competitive and I need a fall back in case I don't get in. My school says I will have cut off all my options by doing a boomsatsuma course. UNTRUE.

First, you could access a university drama/ theatre studies course as outlined above.

Secondly, Extended Diploma qualifications can be used to access a whole range of degree programmes.


We have selected just a few of the possible range of courses that could be accessed with our Extended Diploma in Creative and Performing Arts


  • BA(Hnrs) Sociology  University of Birmingham

  • BA(Hnrs( Education. University of Swansea

  • BA (Hnrs) Law. University of Liverpool

  • BA (Hnrs) Anthropology or Philosophy. University of Sussex

  • BA (Hnrs) Creative Writing or Architecture. University of Arts Bournemouth


...and there are many, many more


In general Russell Group  universities will ask for an A level or relevant Diploma in the subject that you want to study but there are 130 UK universities and only 24 are in  the Russell Group.


Universities are often more interested In your ability to study at Level 3 (A level or Diploma) and the skills our courses develop in you are highly prized by universities. 

  • Independent and critical thinking

  • Self analysis

  • Research skills


So, by choosing this course you have the best chance of progressing into the industry AND you will have an extensive variety of other options.


If you want to contact university departments to find out more you should tell them you'll be studying on a Level 3 Extended Diploma Creative and Performing Arts that's BTEC equivalent. BTEC is a brand like RSL, but BTEC is more widely known.




Term 1: 05/09/18 - 25/10/18

Term 2: 05/11/18 - 13/12/18

Term 3: 02/01/19 - 15/02/19

Term 4: 25/02/19 - 04/04/19 

Term 5: 23/04/19 - 23/05/19 

Term 6: 03/06/19 - 18/07/19

Term 1: 05/09/18 - 26/10/18

Term 2: 06/11/18 - 14/12/18

Term 3: 02/01/19 - 15/02/19

Term 4: 26/02/19 - 05/04/19 

Term 5: 23/04/19 - 24/05/19 

Term 6: 03/06/19 - 19/07/19


Kiran Raywilliams


Entry requirements

You’ll need to be on track to get at least five GCSEs grades A*- C or a BTEC Level 2 Diploma (at merit or distinction). In exceptional cases we can take students who don’t have GCSE English or Maths at grade C or above and we can provide tuition in those qualifications alongside the course. Though experience of dance, drama or expressive arts subjects are advantageous in giving you a sense of what’s involved, we are more interested in raw talent and welcome your application even if you have had little or no experience. We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion in the way we recruit.

Application process

Go to and complete the short online application form. The team will review the information you provide and decide whether to invite you to an audition. We’ll be holding audition dates throughout the year at evenings, weekends and in the school holidays. Each audition will be 3 hours and will involve group work and a solo audition for which you’ll need to prepare a speech from a modern play of a maximum 3 minutes in length. If we think you have the potential to succeed on the course we’ll either offer you a place straight away or put you on a shortlist from which we’ll make offers in the May preceding the September of entry.

Course costs

16 to 18-year-olds

If you are aged between 16 and 18 when you start your course, the tuition and exam fees are free. However, there may be some additional costs for trips and recommended text books.

19-year-olds and over

If you’re aged 19 or over, you may be eligible if you have specific circumstances or an EHCP. Please contact boomsatsuma for further information. 


The Station

Silver St

Bristol BS1 2AG

The Professional Acting Diploma is based at The Station, right in the heart of Bristol next to Broadmead Shopping Centre. The Station has some of the best facilities for drama training in the city with a sprung floor dance studio, showers, a 400 seat studio theatre and rehearsal space, IT suite, and a café and a lounge area.

Next to The Station are more rehearsal rooms in the Island arts complex as well as Rough Trade just across the road. The Station has plans to expand and create more arts spaces and a new studio theatre, and we’ll be a key partner in that development.


boomsatsuma HQ

Engine Shed

Station Approach

Temple Meads

United Kingdom

0117 942 8429

boomsatsuma education Ltd. adheres to the existing policies and procedures held by Digitech Studio School (part of the Cabot Learning Federation) with which it is partnered to deliver its educational programmes.


Read policies.

Company Number: 09950816

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