Q & A with Head of Acting Training, Dave Bond
Is it possible to train to be a professional actor in
There's no denying that it's a considerable challenge for both
staff and student alike. The course is very intensive, requiring
great stamina and focus, and you can expect to be in classes and
rehearsals for at least 30-40 hours a week. However, having had a
little more life experience, we expect you to be able to develop
strategies for coping with a working week that will include classes
in voice, movement, combat, singing and Alexander Technique - and
that's just the mornings!
How many people are taken onto the course each
We have one of the smallest intakes of any vocational
postgraduate acting course in the UK, with just ten places
available each year. This is a deliberate policy because we very
much value the close working relationship this allows between our
tutors and their students.
Why is Cardiff a good place to train to be an
There is every reason to believe that, free of the many
pressures of London living, our graduates begin their career in
very good shape and ready to take on the very real challenge of
establishing a career in a tough profession, whether they decide to
base themselves in London, Wales or elsewhere. Cardiff is an
affordable, student-friendly, easy place to live, allowing
postgraduate actors to focus on their training during what is a
very intensive period.
Wales has become a lively hub for independent film and
television production companies - working in both English and
Welsh - and is a favourite location for big budget feature films
(Jurassic World 2, Show
Dogs, Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows, The Dark Knight Rises to name a
few). BBC Wales and S4C continue to show their
confidence in the College by employing ever increasing numbers of
our graduates (Doctor Who, Sherlock,
Casualty, and Pobol Y Cwm) - a position
mirrored by the National Theatre of Wales, Sherman Theatre and
The Other Room. Whilst leading casting directors and agents
regularly attend our productions and Showcase in Cardiff
and London, confident they will find the actors they are
It's a very happy College and the students often remark that,
for them, the time passes all too quickly!
What do you look for at the audition?
Potential. Passion. Enjoyment. Instinct. Willingness to take
Does the College use particular methods or systems of
No. Our strength is that we have a very experienced and
professional team of staff who will use whatever methods, ideas or
systems of work they think are in the best interests of a
particular student. What works for one tutor will not work for
another, and the same is true of each individual student. It may
well be possible to identify the ideas of key practitioners, such
as Stanislavsky, Meisner or Michael Chekov in the teaching,
but there is no single methodology which is championed by the
course. The best method is the one that works!
How much of the course involves
The work of the first term is centred on the self and making
essential relationships with other actors in the work space. The
key elements are practice and rehearsal - allowing an actor to
develop through risk-taking and moving outside of their comfort
In the spring term, postgraduate students join a cast of final
year BA (Hons) Acting students in one of three public productions.
In the summer term, the same students join to perform another three
productions. This is a unique and very successful element of the
course; the public expression of our belief that our students in
the final stages of their training should no longer be defined by
their 'one year' or 'three year' labels.
All in all, the College will mount over 15 fully-realised
performances each year - anything from a cutting edge three
hander seen at The Royal Court to a large classic and
specially commissioned new writing.
What kind of reputation does the College have within the
Our students are always well-represented in the UK's leading
theatre companies such as The Royal Shakespeare Company, The
National Theatre of both England and Wales, The Donmar Warehouse
and The Royal Court. We are also very proud of our students'
contribution to the success of Wales' own theatre industry, with
its strong reputation for community and specialist theatre. The
cast lists of major UK television, theatre and radio productions
also bear witness to our students' talent and training. Our
graduates regularly feature in leading roles in flagship television
productions including Line of Duty, Crazyhead, Gotham,
Casualty, Woldblood Secrets, Outlander, Poldark, Kiss Me First and
Close to the Enemy amongst others.
Radio, it should be noted, is a particular strength of the College,
as evidenced by a string of successes in the BBC Carleton Hobbs
Any final tips/advice/words of wisdom?
Which ever college you hope to train at, do your homework before
you apply. Find out everything you can about the college from
ex-students, current students and, critically, contacts within the
profession itself. Ask the opinion of professional actors,
directors, theatre and TV workers. Visit the college and imagine
how things might be over the year. As for the audition, try and
enjoy it. Sounds impossible, but it will make a great deal of
difference. Good luck!