Cert HE Introduction to acting

Qualification | Certificate of Higher Education

Course Leader | Bradley Hawkins

Validated by | University of East London (UEL)

Location | Woking

Course Length | 1 Year, Full-Time

Start Date | September 2024

Course Overview

The Certificate of Higher Education, Introduction to Acting, at Italia Conti will give you a taste of the rigorous training required to become a professional actor.

Students will learn from experienced faculty in a professional and disciplined environment at a leading drama conservatoire. Individual sessions on interview technique and monologue preparation will increase students’ chances of success in future auditions. The course emphasises the importance of respect, generosity, and shared passion in the rehearsal room and encourages independent, self-reliant working. Italia Conti aims to create a secure and nurturing environment that allows students to be creatively fearless. A range of workshops will cover additional actor skills as well as introduce students to other areas of the performing arts that might also be considered as a potential career prospect. Students on the CertHE Intro to Acting course will learn to evaluate their work, the work of others’ and express their ideas with clarity and confidence.

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Course Summary

Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) Introduction to Acting, at Italia Conti, is a one-year, full time foundation in actor training for anyone aged 18+ who wishes to develop their existing skills in Acting, with the view to moving onto a full-time, three-year actor training programme at Drama School or University level.
The course is validated by University of East London (UEL). Full government funding is available through Student Finance England for Home students.

Course Structure

The Certificate of Higher Education Introduction to Acting at Italia Conti offers a comprehensive foundation in the key principles of successful training and performance. 

Term 1

Students learn the fundamentals of Stanislavski’s system, which focuses on creating and communicating believable characters, situations, and relationships through work on text and improvisation. They also receive training in vocal and physical technique through voice and movement classes, as well as audition practice to help them select and prepare appropriate monologues and songs for future auditions. In addition, a series of workshops and tasters help students develop their understanding of the contemporary performance industry.

Term 2

During the second term, students build upon their skills from the first term, starting with an intensive period of audition preparation and practice. They refine and polish their speeches for drama school auditions and participate in mock auditions with an industry expert to improve their technique. They also take part in interview skills and professional preparation workshops to develop their personal and promotional skills. The remainder of the term is focused on continued skills classes and rehearsing a Scene Study which is performed at the end of the term. A series of short workshops covering a range of approaches, such as Meisner Technique, Acting for Camera, Stage Combat, and Clowning, are also included in the curriculum.

Term 3

The third term offers intensive projects focused on specific performance practices, including Acting for Camera, and a larger theatre project which consolidates skills learnt across the year into a production for family and friends. More advanced voice and movement classes support this project, helping students to work more expressively and with flexibility. These projects provide students with a solid base of knowledge and skills that will be useful in any future career in the profession.

All students on the CertHE course will also have the opportunity to audition for the BA (Hons) Acting course for the following year. However, it should be noted that attendance on the CertHE course does not guarantee a place on the BA (Hons) course. 

Fees & funding

Tuition Fees | £9250 per academic year, (paid in advanced termly instalments)
EU Student Fees | £11880 per academic year
International Student Fees | £15000 per academic year (approximately)
Audition Fee | £45 (non-refundable)
Deposit | £275 (The deposit is refundable within 14 calendar days of the payment being received by Italia Conti but will not be refunded thereafter for non-enrolment. It will be held by the School and will be refundable on completion of the course, without interest, less any outstanding sums owed by the student to Italia Conti.)

International Students

For further information, please see our International Applications​ page.

Terms & Conditions

Terms and conditions apply upon acceptance to Italia Conti.


The CertHE course offers the following funding options:

  • Student Finance
  • Private Funding

Audition Fee Waiver

Italia Conti welcomes applications for audition fee waivers for those who are eligible.

Deposit Fee Waiver

Italia Conti welcomes applications for deposit fee waivers for those who are eligible.

  • “I have just graduated from Liverpool Theatre School with a Level 6 Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre. I wanted to do the BA Hons (Top Up) in Professional Arts Practice course to further develop my skills for the industry. It is the perfect balance between academic writing and creativity. I already have seen improvements, both in my academic and performing work, and I now really value the ability to critically reflect on past experiences in order to improve my current skills.”

    - Sarah Collinge – Musical Theatre Performer Current Student, Class of July 2024
  • “I have found that my first term at Italia Conti has been better than I could’ve imagined. I am working with driven, passionate, likeminded people within all different realms of the performing arts industry. I find that the course is very tailored to each individual and the content is broad enough to apply to everyone but specific enough to challenge each person within their abilities. I find the course to be a place where I can collaborate and interact with people who I’d never had met otherwise. I only look forward to what the next few months of the course bring and feel more motivated than ever.”

    - Kate Drummond – Actor Current Student, Class of July 2024
  • Current Student, Class of July 2024
    “The course is allowing me to reflect on my past practice, current position, and future endeavours. I really enjoy how flexible the course is, with regards to being able to tailor my studies to my own practice, enabling me to maximise the benefits of this on my future career. I expect my professional development to be impacted exponentially and I am excited to continue!”

    - Amy-Jo Sumner – Musical Theatre Performer
  • “Italia Conti’s BA Top up course was the one for me! Creating a business in under 9 months has been a massive accomplishment! The course really helps shape your future, enables you to meet professional contacts to support your research, and gives you lots of time to understand the area of the industry you want to specialise in.”

    - Rachel Ward – Performing Arts Tutor Graduate, BA Top up Class of Sept 2022
  • I’m a professional dancer but have taught only ballet. These classes are EXACTLY what I was looking for to show some basics of contemp for my students !! Absolutely love every single Video

    - @ginamusaelyan2307 – Italia Conti Virtual
  • I’ve watched a lot of your videos and I love every single one that she teaches. THANK YOU. Gorgeous movement.

    - @debbied3464 – Italia Conti Virtual
  • Amazing class, one of the best I’ve ever done. So easy to follow, thank you!

    - @yellowbeachgirl – Italia Conti Virtual
  • I’m a dancer in LA and can’t keep up with my peers on how often they take dance classes. This channel has been so helpful for me to keep up my training. Thank you for sharing this with the world. I feel like we are all dancing together even though we are all doing this at different times and in different spaces. 🖤

    - @SarahPaceSings – Italia Conti Virtual
  • Best ballet teacher on the internet Great explanation, enthusiasm and commentary throughout the exercise!

    - @annajones6805 – Italia Conti Virtual

Entry requirements

Entry to Cert HE Acting requires the following:

  • 18+ by the 31st August in the year of entry​.
  • Level 2 English and Maths at GCSE Grade 4 or above or recognised equivalent qualifications.
  • 64 UCAS points or admission through recognition of non standard entry qualifications/experience:
    • A level: CC
    • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: MPP
    • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma: MM
    • Access to HE Diploma: M = 15 credits, P = 30 credits
  • Legal right to reside/study in the UK for the full period of the programme.
  • Successful audition through Italia Conti, details of which can be found below.
  • Evidence in hard copy of all the above must be provided at enrolment.

Audition requirements

After completing the application process you will be invited to submit an audition tape where you will be required to demonstrate a variety of skills. Successful applicants will be invited to an in person recall audition at our Woking site. Information about auditions can be found below. At the audition, applicants for the CertHE Introduction to Acting course are automatically considered for the  BA (Hons) Acting course and vice versa. If you wish to be considered for the BA (Hons) Acting (Musical Theatre) in addition to the BA (Hons) Acting and CertHE Acting courses, please include the ‘Singing’ audition within your audition-tape.


Application to the Cert HE Introduction to Acting course is to be made through UCAS only. Please note that our listing on UCAS is shown as University of East London (UEL) – Acting.

UCAS Institution Code | E28
UCAS Course Code | W411

Once applicants have applied for the CertHE Introduction to Acting course through UCAS by the 31st January they will receive an email from UEL containing a link to Italia Conti’s  CertHE application form. Applicants must complete this form and pay the audition fee (£45) in order to be considered for the course. Applicants cannot apply through UCAS alone for this course.

Applicants should have completed Italia Conti’s application form and paid the audition fee by the 1st February in the year of application in order to be considered for audition.

Applicants who have applied through UCAS and who have not received an email containing a link to Italia Conti’s application form should contact before the 1st February in the year of application.

Audition fees are non-refundable. These fees act as both an administration fee for processing your application as well as a non-refundable deposit for a place on an audition day.

In line with our admissions policy, Italia Conti reserves the right to alter or withdraw offers at any point. Places on our courses are limited; it is usual for drama schools to make more offers than there are places. Acceptances are dealt with on a first come first serve basis and so early acceptance is advised.

Audition Criteria


ACTING AUDITION, including monologues, a creative task, voice exercises, singing and a brief chat to camera answering some questions.

Applicants will be requested to submit a self-tape with the following:

  • Identification – name, UCAS number and programme you are applying for
  • Speech 1 – Shakespeare Speech from the list on the website and audition pack
  • Speech 2 – Contemporary Speech – A piece from a modern play (we define this as 1970-present day), of your choice but no more than 1min 30sec long.
  • Object Story – Redefine and everyday object and tell us all about it.
  • Voice Exercises – exercises as per the audition pack
  • Singing Audition (Only if wishing to be considered for the BA (Hons) Acting (Musical Theatre) in addition to the BA (Hons) Acting and CertHE Acting courses)‘– ‘Song 1 – One Golden Age Lyrical Song (pre-1965); Song 2 – One Traditional or Contemporary Musical Theatre Song (post-1965)
  • ‘About You’ – Brief chat to camera answering the questions in the audition pack

Speech guidance:

  • Ensure speech is from published plays. They should not be extracts from poems, novels, films or television scripts.
  • Please choose characters close to your own age.
  • Please perform your speeches in your native accent.
  • Auditionees should wear comfortable fitted rehearsal wear that best represents you and/or helps with your characterisation.


In a minority of instances, the panel may require a further tape or live-online audition responding to direction

Each of these elements will be explained in more detail within the audition pack that is sent to auditionees with the audition submission date.

The self-tape should be compiled into one video and then submitted – help and advice on this can be found in the ‘How to Submit Your Self-Tape’ section of the audition pack.


We require applicants to perform a Shakespeare speech from the below list and audition pack (of any gender), please note that we annually review these.

Measure for Measure – Act 2, Scene 4 – Isabella
“To whom should I complain?… And fit his mind to death, for his soul’s rest.”

Macbeth – Act 3 Scene 1 – Macbeth
“To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus……Who’s there!”

Romeo & Juliet – Act 2 Scene 5 – Juliet
“The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse………”

Othello – Act 4 Scene 3 – Emilia
“But I do think it is their husbands’ faults…..”

Othello – Act 1 Scene 3 – Iago
“Thus do I ever make my fool……”

Othello – Act 3 Scene 3 – Othello
This fellow’s of exceeding honesty,…….”

Merchant of Venice – Act 3 Scene 2 – Portia
“You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand…….”

King John – Act 4 Scene 1 – Arthur
“Have you the heart? When your head did but ache………”

Julius Caesar – Act 2 Scene 1 – Portia
“Is Brutus sick? and is it physical…….. who did hide their faces Even from darkness ”

Henry IV Part 1 – Act 1 Scene 2 – Prince Hal
“I know you all, and will awhile uphold……”

Henry VI – Act 1 Scene 4 – Queen Margaret
“Brave warriors…….. may sing and dance”

King Lear – Act 1 Scene 2 – Edmund
“Thou, nature art my goddess………”

King Lear – Act 1 Scene 3 – Goneril
“By day and night he wrongs me………Prepare for dinner”

King Lear – Act 2 Scene 3 – Edgar
“I heard myself proclaim’d………”

Much Ado About Nothing – Act 2 Scene 3 – Benedick [Prose]
“This can be no trick: the conference was sadly borne… I do spy some marks of love in her”


Successful first round applicants will be offered a recall audition which may be either online or in-person depending on the requirements of the recall.

Recall auditions may include:

  • duologue/partner work
  • speeches/redirection
  • improvisation, movement, voice and singing workshops
  • an interview

Applicants are encouraged to use the same speeches as their first-round digital audition, but are welcome to prepare additional speeches which can be offered to the panel (although they may not hear these).

Recalls may fall after the institution’s deadline for updating applicants’ status on UCAS, which may result in being ’rejected by default’ on the UCAS system. Please note that application will still remain live on Italia Conti’s system until the applicant’s audition/recall is complete and UCAS will be updated accordingly.

By applying for the W410 BA (Hons) Acting Course or W411 CertHE Intro to Acting Course you are automatically considered for both acting courses. If you wish to be considered for the BA (Hons) Acting (Musical Theatre) in addition to the BA (Hons) Acting and CertHE Acting courses, please include the ‘Singing’ audition within your audition-tape.



Career Prospects

Graduates of Italia Conti’s CertHE Introduction to Acting course either continue their actor training at Italia Conti or other established drama schools, change performance course and pursue Musical Theatre or Dance, or move into other creative fields such as Writing, Directing, Producing, and production roles. Some graduates pursue more formal academic routes within their chosen disciplines, and some graduates change course completely and take up other subjects and pursuits, but still continue to utilise the transferable skills gained on this course. 

Alumnx & graduate success

With over 107 years of Italia Conti history, our graduates populate the performance industries and include many famous faces. Recent graduates can be seen working on prestigious productions in all areas of the industry.

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