Acting Diploma Course (ATCL)


Looking to become a Professional Actor? Have you recently left school or reached a point in your career where it’s time to pursue your dreams?


A brief overview of the Acting Diploma Course by Acting Out Drama School Director, Clare Cairns
Check out what previous students thought about the acting course in this real-life video testimony!


Acting Diploma HND ATCL

Acting Out Drama School's Part-Time Acting Diploma HND Unit Equivalent with Trinity College London trains students in acting and prepares them for the professional world. It's a Part-Time, Distance Learning Acting Diploma Course which lasts up to One Year.  

Train in acting with leading acting coaches & directors during a minimum of 9 residential days plus approx. 4 hours per week home-study.

Gain experience and build your networking skills while working towards an ATCL Acting Diploma (Foundation Degree, England & equivalent to HND qualifications in Scotland).


More Details….

During the year you will cover the main skills of Acting and Performing, learning and practising theories from the pioneers of the acting world such as Stanislavski, Michael Chekhov, Sanford, Meisner, David Mamet, Uta Hagen and many more.

You will delve deeply into characterisation, relationships, actions and narrative.

You will have at least 9 full day lessons in acting and audition preparation throughout the year by expert acting coaches, directors and practitioners.

Practical lectures and advice in the acting business are also included so you are kept up-to-date with current industry requirements and practice.

As Acting Out Drama School is connected to new writers and directors, you will also get the chance to work with some highly successful and award-winning artists.  You will have opportunities for Industry based education, such as Professional CV writing, Professional Head-shots and visits or online sessions with Professionals. 

You will also have direct contact with all your coaches and directors throughout the 12 month period.


Acting Out Show WEB281.jpg


As well as the excellent training you would expect from an accredited Trinity College London and Acting Out Drama School Centre, you will also receive:


  • An ATCL Performing Qualification in Speech & Drama (a Foundation Degree in England, equivalent to an SQA HND unit)

  • Expert Training from professional performers and teachers in a minimum of 9 residential days covering a whole range of acting theories, practitioners and subjects.

  • The opportunity to Work with Award-Winning and Successful Professionals

  • A Highly Informative Audition Workshop with Casting Agents from Scotland and London

  • Get to Meet Professional Casting Agents from Scotland and London in a face-to-face Q and A session

  • A Specialised Shakespearean workshop with an experienced Shakespearean Actor and/or Director.

  • A Full day or night with a Professional Theatre company during a production to observe a professional show in a famous theatre.

  • Q & A session with a professional director, following the theatre company visit

  • A Specialised Stage Combat workshop for actors from a Successful Actor, Director and Stunt Co-ordinator (normally from L.A).

  • A Presentation workshop on how to gain professional performing work today
    (from professional and working actors and directors) 

  • The opportunity to meet the team from Equity and Learn about Professional Contracts, Networking & More

  • A discussion and meeting with a Professional Accountant to help start you off as a Self-Employed Actor

  • Work with and Discuss the Industry with a Successful Actor and Theatre / Film Maker from L.A.

  • Work with Award-Winning and Successful Professionals throughout the course

  • Equity Membership (payable to Equity)

  • Professional CV

  • Excellent Facilities in the centre of town

  • An NUS Student Card (payable to NUS)

  • Opportunities for Professional Head-shots with Award Winning and Agency Approved Photographers from London and Edinburgh  

  • Opportunities for Spotlight Membership



During your residential days of the Acting Diploma (HND Unit Equivalent), your face-to-face lessons will take place in the heart of Edinburgh at the Augustine Centre, George IV Bridge (opposite the cafe where J.K.Rowling wrote Harry Potter)! Near to shops, cafes, train stations and buses, it’s a great place to study.



The facilities are excellent with a large hall space, a newly refurbished theatre and smaller classrooms/breakout rooms. 

Your full day sessions will run from approx. 10am to 5pm on Saturdays. 

You are also expected to do around 4-6 hours private study a week, preparing you for each session and a follow up assignment after each session. You must pass your assignments and exam to complete the course. Extra morning/afternoon sessions may be added for Professional Visits and/or extra Tuition. Some weeks will be busier than others.


Acting Out performance photo by Jon Davy


You are also encouraged and able to enrol onto our vocational performing courses, such our Intermediate Acting Course and Advanced Acting Course where you will be apart of a performance in a professional theatre (agents are invited).




Your practical exam is an ATCL Performing Qualification in Speech & Drama (a Foundation Degree in England, equivalent to an SQA HND unit). You will be assessed, graded and awarded your qualification by Trinity College London. Your examination day will be held in the Acting Out Exam Centre in Edinburgh.



The residential dates for 2019-2020 year are as follows:

Saturday 12th October 2019

Saturday 26th October 2019

Saturday 16th November 2019

Saturday 18th January 2020

Saturday 22nd February 2020

Saturday 28th March 2020

Saturday 25th April 2020

Saturday 16th May 2020


The 2019-2020 Exam is likely to be on one of these dates:
26th, 27th, 28th, 29th or 30th May 2020


The Equity Visit and Acting Business Day with Agents is likely to be in July on a Wednesday.

Your Observation Theatre Day can be any time during the academic year and depends on the Theatre Company and touring dates. In the past, students have been involved with Ludens Ensemble (Traverse Theatre), Platform Company (Traverse Theatre), apart of the Chrysalis Festival (Traverse Theatre) and in house working with our elite Actors and Directors at Acting Out.


* We may add more residential days, online sessions and voice tutorials depending on the requirements of the course. 

* All dates/changes/extra sessions are at Acting Out Drama School’s discretion. 

* We can only put candidates forward for the TCL exam who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to the course. These are students who complete all homework tasks, assignments and have an excellent attendance record.

* While we will endeavour to run things to the above schedule, sometimes dates, companies or arrangements may change


Acting Out Drama School


Acting Out Drama School is a Private Drama School, accredited by Trinity College London and offering students professional and vocational courses in acting.

The Diploma Acting Course fees include the standard college tuition fee, professional expertise, small class sizes, excellent facilities, preparation for working in the industry, sound business advice, Equity Membership plus opportunities for professional head shots, CV and Spotlight Membership. 

The full fee is only £1595.

On acceptance of a place, full payment is due or your choice of suitable instalment plan. Paying in one lump sum works out cheaper. For last minute applications full payment may be due before the start of the course.


Once you have applied you will receive an automatic email detailing all your audition information. Our main auditioning methods are online via Skype and Self-tape options. 

For the auditions, you are required to perform (from memory and in character) one monologue, lasting no more than 2 minutes, either classical (preferably by Shakespeare and in verse) OR a contemporary. Some reworking of your piece or improvisation activities may also be required. This will be followed by a short interview. For Self-tape methods, we require you to film your monologue and answer questions to the camera that are sent beforehand via email. 

We will be looking for clear evidence of the abilities required for the course, evidence of practical and intellectual skills necessary for the nature of this course, and personal qualities that would contribute to the class and the school. More details will be given after we receive your application.

Decisions for audition outcomes are normally made at the end of each month.

There is a small fee of £10 which covers your application and audition.


Check out what previous students thought about the acting course in this real-life video testimony!


Is there funding for this course?

Most students pay for the course themselves as the cost is very small compared to higher educational qualifications. In the past, students who don't have the full payment upfront have paid for courses in instalments or made the most of student banking services such as the free student overdrafts or soft student loans (including career development loans). You can also contact your Local Education Authority or Charitable Trusts who help finance Performing Art Students. Check out your local library for more information. 

Will the SAAS pay for my fee?

Again, most students pay for the course themselves as the tuition fee is low. To build your connections to London (the place to be for actors and directors) Acting Out have chosen to work with Trinity College London for your certified qualification. Therefore as your qualification is an English qualification, the SAAS may not cover your tuition fee. You may still be entitled to a student loan. Check the question above about how students have paid in the past. 


I may need special assistance, is that possible?

Yes. Your coaches will be on hand to assist you if you need extra time, additional help, or more guidance. For the exam, as long as you can prove in writing that you are entitled to extra time, you should be able to secure it.


Exactly how is the course structured?

The course is made up of around 25-30 learning outcomes over the year. You have approx. 9 sessions of face-to-face days (as well as some online tutorials depending on the course and students). These cover a variety of different acting training techniques from Stanislavski to Avant Garde Theatre. You also have other days and opportunities on top of this.

Your main sessions are conducted by expert acting coaches and award winning directors and theatre makers from all over the world who you will be in contact with throughout the whole of the course (and after too, there is no time limit as all the coaches love their job and are happy to help if they can).

The structure and content change from year to year depending on the students who have successfully gained a place on the course. Normally your core training is based around Stanislavski and Michael Chekhov. We also explore a whole host of other practitioners and theories so as encourage students to expand and develop their training, skills and acting tool belt.

There are approx. 10 assignments and pieces of homework to submit as well as many more to practice and explore in your own time. You must pass all the assignments to complete the course. Full details on all your learning outcomes and assignments will be given prior to starting your course.

There are additional benefits we include such as an Equity Membership (so you can start working and building networks straight away), business training days, including how to be pro-active and get work, meeting and working with Management Agencies, our recommended contacts for you in the industry, Q and A session with a professional actor, director or theatre maker, as well as a visit behind the scenes in a professional theatre company. 

What if I miss a session?

If you miss sessions due to illness or a prior commitment, we do everything we can to ensure you don’t fall behind. There is lots of contact between students and
coaches. It’s normal for coaches to send a breakdown of what was covered after each session as well as help students with assignments if they need it. So missing one or two sessions due to sickness is okay, as long as you can put the work back into your
course in your own time. 

Do I get an Equity Membership on completion of this Course?

Yes, this course has been vetted and approved by Equity. All students who pass the course and are present on the business day in July, not only meet Equity and gain a huge amount of knowledge about the professional industry and how to start your professional journey, but you will also be offered full Equity Membership. If you miss the business day, you can still gain Equity Membership. You will be given all the details you need at the right time.

How do I get my Spotlight Membership?

On the Business Day you will meet and work with a number of organisations including Casting Directors, Management Agencies, Professional Actors, Directors and Equity. One the biggest topics we cover on this day is Spotlight and how to get your membership. By attending this course, you will gain a professional qualification which you can use towards your Spotlight credits in conjunction with any credits you gain from other professional work.

If you do not have professional work yet, we would recommend you audition and try to gain a place in our Advanced Acting Course, so that you gain professional performing experience while you are training, making it easier to apply for your spotlight membership on graduation.

If you still don’t have professional experience by the time you graduate, don’t worry. This is where your Equity Membership comes in. Your Equity Membership is guaranteed on this course and will ensure your future experience is professionally contracted. You will also work with casting agents and meet industry professionals throughout your course, so you could also gain professional experience simply by networking.

If you follow the advice we, casting directors and management agencies give you on the Business Day regarding Spotlight, you will have a very good chance of being accepted and gaining that membership. Despite this being a part-time course, most of our students do go on and gain their Spotlight Membership.

Overall, you are in good hands!

Do I need a Visa?

If you are not from the UK, you don’t need a visa to enrol onto any of our courses (providing you are legally allowed to stay in the UK or are traveling in and out of the UK for your residential day each month). We have lots of foreign students and you would be very welcome to join us.

Will this course allow me entry onto the second year of an acting degree?

It all depends on how strong your application is when you graduate. Students have been very successful previously when wanting to gain further education or professional work. The course is a great place to start your education and your professional journey. This is a diploma course (which is the English equivalent of a foundation degree) but it’s not the first at uni (as it would need to be full time). Even so, many of our students are offered places on the second year of acting degree courses, and above. Around 30% of our students are offered MA places (Year 5, thus skipping 3-4 academic years). Overall, anything is possible and the harder you work within this course, the better your chances of academic success in the future.

Will this course guarantee me an agent?

Again, previous students have been very successful when gaining an agent after the course. It all depends on how strong you are and what agents are looking for when you leave the course.

How do I apply?

Just click below. There is a small application and audition fee of £10.