1 Year Foundation Course in Acting & Musical Theatre (level 4)



This 1 year drama school course in Acting & Musical Theatre is an intensive course based at Lighthouse, Poole. During your time with us you will begin to realise your true potential.  This combined 1 year course in Acting & Musical Theatre has been created for you to discover your path in the world of performing arts.  In just one enlightening year you will develop your core skills for performance and be prepared for the next step on your journey.  You will be given the tools to be become a professional performer whether you go on to further training or straight into the industry.

Over the 11 years we have been based at Lighthouse, students have been involved in professional productions, projects, workshops and Q & A’s along with free or discounted tickets for shows.  We also keep students up to date with all castings that come through to the school, giving them both professional and non-professional opportunities some of which can be used for show reels.

The course runs Monday – Wednesday 9.30am – 4.30pm (Free studio 4.45-6pm) and a typical week includes:

Dance (MT, Ballet, Contemporary, Commercial, Body conditioning) – 6 hours

Acting (Musical Theatre) – 2 hours

Acting (monologues, acting technique, scene study, duologues, poetry & prose) – 6 hours

Improvisation – 2 hours

Acting 1:1 within class – 30 mins on rotation within the first term

Voice – 2 hours (monthly)

Singing technique/portfolio prep – 1:1 – 30 mins on rotation

Singing ensemble – 2 hours (throughout the year)

*Please be aware that theatre visits are essential and can fall outside these hours.

Throughout the year workshops can include:

Theatre History

Acting for camera

The Secret to Success (the mindset to succeed)

Professional/industry preparation

Acting through song

Trinity preparation


Over the year we have at least one masterclass from industry professional/s.  These can range from physical theatre and create your own musical theatre pieces to specific acting technique workshops and professional/industry advice (how to get an agent and first steps in to the business).

*All timetabling and hours are subject to change


This course is vocational and also offers a ATCL in drama & speech which is a nationally recognised qualification from Trinity College London. To be part of the Dorset School of acting is to be become the next generation of fearless actors and performers.


Monday – Wednesday

September – June

30 weeks per annum




21 Kingland Road
BH15 1UG


  • Acting technique including approach to text and character using "The Process"
  • Acting for camera
  • 1:1 sessions
  • Tutorials
  • Improvisation
  • Devising projects
  • Monologues
  • Classical & contemporary text including Shakespeare
  • Scene study
  • Poetry & Prose
  • Trinity qualification preparation
  • Audition support
  • Vocal coaching
  • Group/choral singing
  • Voice work
  • Acting through song
  • Individual and choral singing
  • Ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre dance and body conditioning
  • Physical theatre
  • Performance
  • Masterclasses from major industry professionals
  • Theatre visits
  • UCAS support



Throughout the 1 year course you will rehearse for at least one main Showcase at Lighthouse at the end of the academic year.


You will be regularly taught by several teachers and coaches at DSA who have trained at Rose Bruford, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Oxford School of Drama, Performers College and Birmingham School of Acting. Their professional work is both national and international, West End, off West End, touring, TV, film and some have their own successful theatre companies. A number of coaches have taught at schools such as Central School of Speech & Drama, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Oxford School of Drama, Arts Educational, Manchester Metropolitan and RADA.



£37 minimum uniform fee due at same time as fees

£6650 + £250 Theatre visits. There are two ways to pay for this course.  Paying the full amount before commencement of the course entitles you to a £500 discount from the yearly fee bringing the total to £6150.  You can also pay in 3 instalments. The theatre visit fees of £250 are to cover the cost of several theatre visits both locally and in London. This money is non-refundable, negotiable, exchangeable or transferable. There is currently no government funding for any one year course.

We totally appreciate how challenging it is to fund courses of this nature and as such we are always striving to help students by offering limited bursaries of up to 15%  to exceptional students.  In order to qualify for these bursaries students are required to demonstrate that they have attempted to raise the funds by other means initially such as private grants, initiatives etc.

Audition Information

Minimum age for entry: 17 yrs Entry onto the Dorset School of Acting’s 1 year diploma course in Acting & Musical Theatre is by audition only. It is expected that candidates will have some experience in one of the three disciplines of acting, singing or dancing with potential to be coached in the other two. You will be asked to prepare:

  • 2 contrasting monologues, 1 contemporary, 1 Shakespearian/Jacobean.
  • 2 contrasting songs, at least 1 musical theatre with piano/backing track accompaniment in your vocal range.  Only one song can be unaccompanied.

The audition process may last all day and could also include dance and acting workshops. The audition will also include an individual interview where you can ask questions. Please wear appropriate and comfortable clothing and footwear and bring a bottle of water with you.



Speech & Drama ATCL As a registered centre, DSA students will also work towards their Trinity College London Diploma in Speech and Drama at Associate Level in May. This will provide you with a nationally recognised qualification at NQF Level 4, equivalent to the first year of a Degree course. The examination fee for this is included in the main fees.

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Students who have completed this course have gained places at:

RADA, LAMDA, BOVTS, RCSSD (acting & musical theatre courses), Rose Bruford College, GSA, LIPA, ALRA, East 15, Italia Conti, PPA, Millennium, Fourth Monkey

Being on the course at DSA has prepared me thoroughly for the next level of training. My time here has been insightful, challenging and has pushed my boundaries to the limit which has strengthened my physical and mental attitude toward a career in acting. The teaching staff are knowledgeable, thorough and the specific attention you receive is personal and they create a safe environment to discover and explore. The wide range of experiences and opportunities that have been offered have has been a massive highlight. The things I have learnt at DSA will stay with me for the rest of my training and beyond and I can’t thank everyone enough.

Liam Jefford - DSA student
Offered RADA, LAMDA, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Rose Bruford College & ALRA