York College links with York Theatre Royal for fast-track stage and screen degree

Burgeoning talents: Nigar Yeva, left, Aimee Powell, Olisa Odele, Kate Donnachie and Corey Campbell in Pilot Theatre’s Crongton Knights at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Robert Day

YORK College and York Theatre Royal are teaming up to launch a fast-track course for aspiring stage and screen talents from September.

The BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen degree has been created by York College, in conjunction with the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA), to offer students conservatoire-style professional acting training, plus month-long placements within the industry, including at the Theatre Royal.

Programme leader James Harvey, who developed the two-year course, bills the degree as being “different from anything offered before at York College”.

“There’s nothing like this anywhere in North Yorkshire or the North East,” he says. “It’s a collaboration with ALRA, one of the top drama schools in the country. It’s very much an industry-facing course and we want our students to work with professionals.  

“That’s why we’ve worked a month-long placement into the course. For some students, this will mean valuable experience at York Theatre Royal, a hugely respected producing theatre.”

James hopes the course will attract students from a wide range of social backgrounds and believes the two-year duration presents “maximum value for money”.

Theatre Royal producer Thom Freeth says: “This new partnership is such a brilliant opportunity for York Theatre Royal to help support and shape training for people embarking on careers in the theatre industry.

“At a time when arts education is under threat and the industry is changing rapidly, it’s really important that creative organisations connect with training providers and that people can access high-quality training regionally, rather than having to move to London.

“We’re so excited to be working with York College, not least because this partnership will enable York Theatre Royal to make established strands of our work, such as youth theatre and new creative projects, more accessible to communities across the York.”

To complement York College’s in-house tutors, students will benefit from regular visits from industry professionals and ALRA staff.  The course also offers specialist classes in improvisation, rehearsal and performance skills, voice, movement and professional development and will involve live performances at the Theatre Royal.

Kieran Sheehan, acting principal at ALRA, says: “We’re delighted with the partnership and will use our pioneering approach to actor training and offer advice on integrating traditional and cutting-edge techniques for screen and live theatre.”  

For more information on the course, including enrolment and auditions, go to: yorkcollege.ac.uk/study/ba-hons-acting-for-stage-screen-alra-endorsed