2020 applicants
Undergraduate Course

Certificate of HE Theatre Arts

Certificate of HE Theatre Arts


The details
Theatre Arts
October 2021
9 months
East15 (Loughton) Campus

This course provides a foundation in acting and can prepare you for further study, either at East 15 or at other acclaimed acting schools. The intention is to help create actors who will have an intellectual as well as a vocational life in the theatre, introducing you to the concepts and mechanics behind each.

The Certificate of Higher Education in Theatre Arts is a highly focused exploration of acting techniques and aims to introduce you to the context that gives each theatrical era its distinctive identity. This includes (on a practical level) movement, music, improvisational skills and acting. Overall, it is an intensively practical scheme.

Throughout the three terms, students undertake a number of compulsory modules. These cover audition technique, movement, voice and singing. During the first two terms at the Southend Campus, you are also introduced to acting courses that specialise in Stage Combat, Physical Theatre, Community Theatre and World Performance.

In addition to exploring the history and theory of theatre and its relation to other arts forms, you have regular opportunities to attend performances of plays, music and dance, as well as to visit art galleries, films and relevant historic sites.

This course is taught at both our Loughton and Southend Campuses.

View more undergraduate courses from East 15 Acting School, including further Actor training programs as well as behind the scenes courses in Creative Producing and Stage & Production Management.

Why we're great.
  • One year intensive acting skills development.
  • Audition technique coaching.
  • Preparation for advanced acting training.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

Our training is by professionals and for professionals, allowing our graduates to work successfully across the globe.

Our international, outstanding teaching faculty is made up of professionals from all areas of live and recorded performance.

Learn more about our staff here.

Specialist facilities

Loughton Campus

Our Loughton Campus is perfectly located, providing access to both the rich, cultural diversity of London and an attractive and peaceful setting in which to study.

We are just a five-minute walk from London Underground station, Debden, where you can travel in only thirty minutes to Central London, West End theatres and mainline train stations including the Eurostar.

We have three sites at our Loughton Campus – Hatfields, Roding House and Unit Four. Hatfields is a beautiful Georgian dower house, set in five acres of lawns with orchards, flowerbeds and a small lake, providing an idyllic atmosphere for study, relaxation and performance.

Just a short walk from Hatfields is Roding House, a £1.3 million facility containing 10 rehearsal rooms, a green room/café, a sound recording studio and a video editing suite, and our costume department.

Next to Roding House, Unit Four is a £1.5 million facility which is home to the Stage & Production Management department. The Unit contains a large workshop, paint shop, prop shop, prop storage facilities and teaching spaces.

Our on-site Corbett Theatre is named in honour of Harry H Corbett, a key member of Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop and early benefactor of East 15. It is used extensively for student productions and is a practical training hub for our BA Stage and Production Management students.

The building is a medieval tithe barn that was dismantled and transported to Hatfields in the 1960s. These unusual origins create a unique performance space with a special atmosphere. Renovated to include full technical facilities, tiered seating for 130 people and fitted dressing rooms, the theatre provides an excellent resource for public productions, while the adjacent Bar and Café provides a social meeting point for students and staff.

Southend Campus

Our Southend Campus is based in the heart of Southend-on-Sea. A vibrant and modern British seaside town with excellent transport links.

Famous for its beach resort and pier, Southend-on-Sea stretches along seven miles of award-winning coastline. There are also over 650 acres of parks and gardens, a fun park, leisure centres, pubs, clubs, cafés and restaurants.

Southend Central railway station is opposite our Campus and the journey to central London takes less than an hour. Southend Airport, with flights to many European and UK destinations is just three miles away. We are also just one hour away from London’s Stansted Airport.

Our Gateway Building houses a purpose-built suite specifically for East 15 students. This includes fully equipped, state-of-the art rehearsal studios with panoramic views across Southend-on-Sea, plus seminar rooms, computer labs and media production resources including an Apple Mac edit suite for our BA Creative Producing (Theatre & Short Film) students.

A magnificent Victorian former church in the heart of Southend’s conservation area was converted into East 15’s Clifftown Theatre. It also houses a variety of unique spaces for rehearsals, technical and practical work and performances. The church nave, with its original organ and stained glass windows now provides an inspirational and atmospheric environment, re-designed to accommodate the needs of a twenty-first century performance space.

In ‘The Forum’ building, students have round the clock, secure access to the Learning Hub, which provides innovative IT and study spaces. The Forum also houses an integrated public and academic library, carrying books and other support materials. Students in Southend also have access to the East 15 Loughton Campus library and the University’s Colchester Campus library.

Outside of learning, the Students’ Union at our Southend Campus provides a dedicated space for students to meet, have a coffee, relax and watch films or sport. It runs a wide variety of entertainment throughout the term, such as international nights and open mic nights.

Your future

During the year, students may audition for places on one of the acting courses at East 15. Many students are also accepted at other drama schools or at university drama departments. Students will be helped to choose and prepare scenes for audition purposes.

“The CertHE course was one of the best years of my life, I learnt so much in a very intensive, safe and fun environment. The course is headed by an incredible teaching staff who all have or still work in the industry, giving the best possible up to date advice and training.”

“It’s an excellent course for anyone wanting to gain groundwork in actor training or wanting to further their studies to a three year course at drama school.”

Nadia Devereux, Certificate of Higher Education in Theatre Arts (who went on to study BA Acting at East 15)

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Successful audition, plus
A-level: E or equivalent qualification

IB: A Higher Level certificate grade 3

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If you do not require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK then we will assess your English language proficiency/ability at your interview or audition.

If your first language is not English and you are an international student that requires a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK then you will need IELTS 5.0 overall, with a minimum of 4.0 in each component. IELTS tests must be a UKVI IELTS taken at an approved IELTS test centre on the UKVI’s list, available here, in order to be accepted for entry to below degree-level courses. Tests must be taken within two years of the start of your course.

Please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.


Example structure

We offer dynamic and unique courses for actors, directors, producers, technical theatre specialists and students of theatre practice. Training at East 15 draws upon 50 years of tradition combined with a keen sense of the world of stage and screen today.

Our carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore and develop your specialist training.

Narrative and Story-Telling

This acting module takes place during the first term of the course. The module aims to encourage students to explore imaginatively various means of communication. It teaches students the roots of theatre and its functions of story-telling and celebration. The work of this first term module is designed to further your understanding of yourself by stretching your emotional, physical and vocal range and to encourage spontaneity through improvisation.

View Narrative and Story-Telling on our Module Directory

Acting 2: Approaches to Text

Use of research: You explore the uses of research to stimulate and inform imagination and to help create the world of a play. Use of improvisation: You learn how to improvise truthfully and to give and take with others. You also learn the value of improvisation as an aid to the rehearsal process. Approaches to text: This part of the module introduces you to the use of the text to discover information – about the play, its themes and characters. Approaches to relationships: Focussing on play texts from Shakespeare and others, you learn how to demonstrate truthfully expressed relationships.

View Acting 2: Approaches to Text on our Module Directory

Acting 3: Performance Projects

Understanding the structure of a play: You learn how to break down a play into ‘units of action’ and how to apply this learning to the rehearsal process. Approaches to deeper characterisation: Character analysis, characters’ objectives, finding a character’s ‘through line’. Incorporation of skills. Rehearsal processes, recreating rehearsed work.

View Acting 3: Performance Projects on our Module Directory

Acting and Audition Technique

This module is fundamental to the CertHE programme’s aim to prepare you to enter the next level of full-time acting or similar training for the professional theatre. Work begins in Term One with an overview of drama training provision, focussing on ‘accredited’ schools and courses. You learn how to find audition pieces and explore criteria for assessing their suitability. You begin the work of acquiring a repertoire of audition pieces specifically aimed at drama school audition environments. You work on general presentation skills, including interview technique, for drama school auditions. You begin rehearsal of material selected in Term One. Under the guidance of your tutors, with regard to your preparedness in terms of audition pieces, you select suitable courses and apply for further training in Term Two. The work of the final term continues the expansion of repertoire and rehearsal of speeches. As you progress your applications for further training you are encouraged to share your experiences of audition practices at other institutions, your successes and rejections, so that collectively you deepen your knowledge and understanding of audition technique.

View Acting and Audition Technique on our Module Directory

Movement for Theatre Arts

Work begins with an introduction to basic anatomy. You begin the work of developing suppleness and stamina. Techniques for the release of emotion in movement are introduced. You develop balance, co-ordinations and rhythm, linking movement and dance with acting. You learn a range of styles and carriage. Finally work covers preparation for physical demands and the extension of physical and dance vocabulary.

View Movement for Theatre Arts on our Module Directory

Voice for Theatre Arts

The module begins with an introduction to the anatomy of voice production. You begin the work of acquiring good vocal habits through the use of basic vocal exercises. Techniques for direct communication with voice are introduced. You develop the structures used by voice. You work on improving articulation and explore accents and the voices of others. Finally you work on the vocal demands of acting, on developing clarity and power. By the end of the module you will have the ability to assess critically your own vocal capabilities and will have in place vocal exercises and a regime for future use.

View Voice for Theatre Arts on our Module Directory

Singing for Theatre Arts

The work begins with an assessment of vocal range, introduction to singing techniques and group songs. Later you begin to identify personal needs in terms of performance preparation and audition requirements. You select and work on solo songs and work on improving approaches to singing. You also work on achieving audition standard in two contrasting songs. Finally you work on integration of character into singing, increasing confidence in solo work and extending your personal repertoire.

View Singing for Theatre Arts on our Module Directory


Term 1

In the first term you explore different means of communication imaginatively while learning about the roots of theatre practice. You will:

  • Focus on acting, voice, singing and movement studies
  • Begin to study yourself in the same way you will learn to study a character, deepening your understanding of what it means to be human
  • Work on audition technique

The term culminates in an assessed performance.

Term 2

Your second term focuses on:

  • Working with heightened, poetic and classical texts and characters
  • Understanding different approaches to analysing texts
  • Introduction to improvisation

The term culminates in an assessed performance.

Term 3

Your third term brings together the skills and experience you have developed through the course.

The course culminates in two productions in our Campuses’ theatre spaces.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

We don’t currently offer Open Days for this course but if you would like more information, then please email us at east15@essex.ac.uk.


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

You also need to complete and send us an East 15 application form, including a copy of your audition payment receipt so that we can schedule your audition.

For full details, please see the East 15 website.

Apply now


Applicants to this course will need to book an audition. If you apply to us through UCAS we will send you information on how to do this. Alternatively, you can apply to East 15 directly. If you’re resident in the UK you’ll visit our campus to take part in the audition, where you’ll meet some of our staff and sample our teaching. Please see our website for more information about preparing for auditions.

Our staff travel the world auditioning applicants so if you’re not resident in the UK, it’s likely that we’ll be in a location near you at some point. This will be a one-to-one audition. If you still can’t make a physical audition, we are sometimes able to accept video auditions.

Offers for these courses will only be made after a successful audition.

For full details, please see the East 15 website.

Loughton Campus

Visit Loughton Campus

You’ll be in intensive training at one of the most prestigious and internationally respected conservatoires in the country, gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in the performing arts. But fear not! It’s not all work and no play at East 15 Acting School in Loughton.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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