Launch Your Acting Career


As an actor your individuality is your superpower. At The National Theatre Drama School, we celebrate and champion diversity, and our key values are inclusion and respect. We’ll support you to connect with, extend and hone your creative voice – this will be the launching pad for your acting career. During your three years of study, you’ll work with expert industry teachers to deeply engage with the craft of acting. You’ll be immersed in voice and movement training, screen acting and stagecraft. You will learn how to work within a script’s given circumstances to find a personalised version of each character and bring that character to vivid spontaneous life.  Throughout your journey you’ll develop your understanding of historical and contemporary performance, your critical thinking and ability to articulate your ideas.

Powerful acting is based on vulnerability, empathy and ensemble. An actor’s job involves being emotionally vulnerable, putting themselves into another person’s ‘shoes’, and connecting with their fellow actors. The National Theatre Drama School provides the supportive environment necessary for vulnerability, empathy and ensemble to thrive.  As you journey through your three years, you’ll develop a close network with your cohort, and learn how to communicate with professionalism, clarity and respect. You’ll develop practical techniques to support personal resilience and well-being.

Today’s most successful actors take the initiative to create their own work. Whether as a producer, writer, performance creator, or director, actors who develop a career with longevity fully utilise their agency and creativity.  At The National you’ll learn how to develop your creative ideas to make them a reality. You’ll engage with ethical industry practice, develop your skills as an entrepreneurial artist, and learn how to create and produce your own work.

You’ll engage with film acting, perform in showreels and self-tapes, and will perform in The National Theatre main house and ‘black-box’ theatres.  In your final year, you will be featured in a showcase that is filmed and circulated nationally to casting agents, and a mainstage performance directed by a leading industry director.

You’ll have the opportunity to apply for a number of industry pathways (including internships with Home and Away and Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre) and you’ll be connected with casting agents and respected industry professionals. There will be additional performance opportunities with the Ballet School and partner companies.

Join us at The National to launch your acting career!

Dr Jo Loth
Director of Drama

The Advanced Diploma of Acting (10884NAT) is a nationally  accredited, full-time, professional training course that  prepares students for careers as actors and performance makers in theatre, film, television and new media.

Students work closely with a range of  Industry professionals undertaking a rigorous program of  actor training.  Over three years students develop practical techniques for resilience, physical and mental well-being, ethical practice, personal agency. Students are encouraged to work with passion  and engagement, demonstrate a strong commitment to  develop their own individual approach, and to continuously refine their professional goals.

Course Outline

First Year – Connecting

The first year is focussed on connecting with and trusting your own instincts, tuning into your instrument and developing connections with your ensemble.

Movement and voice training will tune your awareness and facility for self expression. Movement techniques (including the Suzuki actor training method, Feldenkrais, and contact improvisation) will develop your physical sensitivity, presence, precision and power. Linklater voice training will free your voice and extend your range and expression.

You’ll explore realistic acting techniques through improvisation and scripted scenes.  Techniques will include: script analysis, playing actions, and finding a character within yourself. You’ll engage with performance history through practical workshops, and will develop skills to understand the historical and cultural context of performance texts.

The first year will culminate in two studio-based performances: a solo work and theatrical performance of a script.

Second Year – Extending

Second year focuses on extending into heightened performance forms, group devised work, screen acting technique and producing.  

Self-taping has now become the bread and butter of an actor’s toolbox. Working with industry experts, you’ll be guided through the process of breaking down a script, mastering technical requirements, and bringing authenticity to your self-tape performances. From this foundation, you’ll move to advanced screen acting techniques in preparation for your third year showreels. 

In voice classes you’ll learn how to master accents and go beyond your own speech patterns to extend your acting range. You’ll engage with stage combat techniques, and will work with heightened poetic text from a range of historical and contemporary sources including Shakespeare and Ancient Greek theatre. Your voice, combat and Shakespearean skills will be showcased in a mid-year Shakespearean performance. 

In the second half of the year, training in complicite and clowning will lead into a group devised process. You’ll work with your ensemble to create a contemporary performance and develop practical skills to produce your own work including project management, budgeting and basic technical production.

Third Year – Honing

Your third year prepares you to embark on your professional career.  You’ll work on showreels and perform in a Mainstage production with a leading industry director. The year will culminate with a showcase performance, consisting of monologues and scenes that will be filmed and shared nationally with leading casting agents.

Throughout the year, you’ll be nurtured and mentored by performance making experts to develop a new work. This could be a new script, a cabaret, clowning or comic performance. You will share this work (or work in progress) in an in-house showing. In the process, you’ll develop skills to apply for grants, festivals and venues to successfully take this work into the public sphere. 

You’ll graduate from the program with a series of professional headshots, showreels, professional-level performance experience and your own creative work.

Core Compulsory Units

CUARES601 Research and apply concepts of live performance practice
NAT10884001 Demonstrate a range of body awareness techniques in performance related activities
NAT10884002 Demonstrate techniques to physically release the voice in performance related activities
NAT10884003 Explore techniques to enliven and embody text in performance related activities
NAT10884004 Explore the key elements of the theatrical experience
NAT10884005 Create performance pieces
NAT10884006 Produce, promote and present an original public performance
NAT10884007 Prepare, rehearse and perform stage plays for public performance
NAT10884008 Rehearse and perform for the camera
CUAIND412 Provide freelance services
CUAPRF314 Develop audition techniques
CUAWHS312 Apply work health and safety practices
HLTWHS006 Manage personal stressors in the work environment


Acceptance is by audition only. This course is open to Australian and international students. Students must meet all requirements and pass all units of competency in each subsequent year to  obtain the qualification. Students must be 18 years or over by 1st January the year  their studies commence. Students must have completed Year  12 of Secondary School or have literacy skills at ACSF level 4. International students must show evidence of English skills at level 5.5 IELTS or another recognised English proficiency test.

Auditions for 2023 Auditions will be conducted in the School’s studios in St Kilda for students living locally, and via video in the first instance for interstate and international students.

Student information

Term 1 begins on Monday 30 January 2023 with a compulsory full-day Orientation Day. Classes begin in the week of February 6, 2023.

Term 1          6 February to 31 March 2023
Term 2          24 April to 16 June 2023
Term 3          10 July to 1 September 2023
Term 4           2 October to  24 November 2023

Campus Location The National Theatre, St Kilda, Melbourne.

Uniform Requirements Individual teachers may have specific clothing and equipment  requirements for their classes and students will be informed  of these in the first class. Comfortable loose clothing should  be worn (no jeans or jewellery). Towels, deodorant, and basic  hygiene product use are essential.

Resources Set readings will be provided during course of study. The school has a library with secondary sources that are available to be loaned to students. Computer and internet facilities are provided in the library for students to use whilst in the building. A diary or notepad is required for the journaling of class activities. Students will require access to a laptop and the internet to submit assignments electronically as well as access online lessons if changes to the delivery mode are required. Students will be required to purchase key texts for study at a cost of approximately $100 per year.  Texts have been chosen for their relevance to career development and will be the basis of students’ personal library.