Directing & Devising Diploma Course (ATCL)


Looking to become a Professional Director or Theatre Maker? Want to Work with the Traverse Theatre Directors, Award Winning Theatre Companies and Leading Expert Coaches?



Directing & Devising Diploma HND ATCL

Acting Out Drama School's Part-Time Directing & Devising Diploma HND Unit Equivalent with Trinity College London trains students in directing, creating and devising theatre while preparing them for the professional world. 

Train with award winning Directors, Coaches and Theatre Companies. Previous Directors include Artist Director of the Traverse Theatre, Orla O'Loughlin, Former Associate Director of Traverse Theatre, John Mitchell, Award Winning Theatre Maker, Philippos Philippou & Acting Out's own Founder and Director, Clare Cairns. 


You will have a minimum of eight residential days plus approx. 4 hours per week home-study.

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


Acting Out Nov 2016 by Jon Davy


You will also explore other Theatre Art Forms, including acting and writing.

You will have at least eight full day lessons throughout the year by expert coaches, directors and practitioners.

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

You will also have direct contact with all your coaches and directors throughout the 12 month period (and after for additional guidance).

As Acting Out Drama School is connected to new writers and actors, you will also get the chance to work with some highly successful and award winning artists.

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 Arts Qualification (a Foundation Degree in England, equivalent to an SQA HND unit)

  • Expert Training from professional performers and teachers.

  • Work with Award-Winning and Successful Professionals

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

  • 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 

  • Opportunities for Spotlight Membership


During your residential days of the Directing & Devising 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.


augustine church pic.jpg


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 Nov 2017 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 Performing Arts (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 2018-2019 year are as follows:

Saturday  20th October 2018

Saturday 17th November 2018

Saturday 26th January 2019

Saturday 2nd March 2019

Saturday 6th April 2019

Saturday 4th May 2019

Saturday 25th May  2019

The 2018-2019 Exam is on:
Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June 2019


The Equity Visit and Acting Business Day is likely to be on:

Wednesday 24th July 2019

Your Observation Theatre Day is likely to be in May or August. This depends on the Theatre Company and touring dates. In the past, students have been involved with Ludens Ensemble at the Traverse Theatre.

* 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. 

* While we will endeavour to run things to the above schedule, sometimes dates may change due to other external factors, which will be discussed with you in the unlikely event that this happens.




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 (1 Year) 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 £1400.

On acceptance of a place, an initial payment of £250 will be due. The balance can be paid using flexible instalment options.


Once you have applied you will be emailed with a decision based on your application. 

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.

Decisions will be sent to you via email within approximately fourteen working days after you apply.


Directing & Devising Diploma Application (HND/ATCL)

Entry to the Directing & Devising Course is by Application only. There is a small application fee.




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 learning outcomes over the year. You have approx. 8 sessions of face-to-face days (as well as some online tutorials depending on the course and students). These cover a variety of different directing, devising, writing and performing art training techniques. 

Sessions are conducted by expert directors, coaches and theatre makers from all over the world who you will be in contact with throughout 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).

There are approx. 8 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), a session on directing and business, including how to be pro-active and get work and 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. You also have opportunities for professional headshots and Spotlight Membership (depending also on your experience thus far). 


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. 


How do I apply?

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