Part-time foundation course: Acting

Our Foundation in Acting offers a vocational and in-depth training that will give you the experience, techniques and confidence, invaluable either as preparation for drama school or to forge a career in the performing arts.


This unique course is designed to give you the competitive edge in a challenging and evolving industry, providing you with the tools to create original work alongside traditional Actor training.


The programme has been developed by experienced Actors, Directors, Theatre Makers and Practitioners to create dynamic and bold performers, who are risk-takers, collaborators and entrepreneurs. You will work and train as a contemporary theatre company, creating, producing and performing both scripted and devised works for in-class and public performance. You will also receive ongoing training in acting, voice and movement from our team of industry professionals.

Course content and delivery may need to be adapted throughout the year to allow students to continue to receive the best education possible, safely and seamlessly during the pandemic. 

Term 1

Acting Fundamentals 


Audition Preparation


Working towards performance

Term 2

Improvisation and Comedy


Stage Combat

(APC Unarmed Basic Exam)

Working towards performance

Term 3

Storytelling and Movement




Working towards performance

“When I was growing up in Swindon, I came through the traditional drama route, which is great, but the training at the Shoebox Theatre gives young actors alternative ways of developing skills, which is really, really exciting!” 

Billie Piper


Course features

  • ​Work and train at the same time. Our foundation in Acting and Theatre Making offers part-time training, which can work around your employment or study commitments.

  • 10 month course, September to June with performances potentially running into the Summer.

  • 10 hours per week intensive training and rehearsal, covering a wide variety of disciplines.

  • Equity recognised APC Basic Exam qualification in Unarmed Combat.

  • Highest quality actor training from industry professionals. Develop career skills, audition techniques and performance skills.

  • Discount on all Actors’ Institute professional master-classes.

Who should apply?

Our part-time foundation course is for students aged 18-28 who are serious about a career in the performing arts and/or wish to audition for Drama School or University.


The acting industry is increasingly reliant on actors who can devise, write and perform, during this course you will develop work using a variety of stimuli. Students should be self-motivated, disciplined and able to work creatively and collaboratively with others.

If you are planning on auditioning for drama school, you will also have the option to supplement with additional1-2-1 support throughout your audition process. We will help you with choosing the right drama school for you, selecting speeches, audition preparation, personal statements.

We have an excellent track record for nurturing the careers of young actors and have most recently seen students successfully audition for Drama Schools such as East 15, Central School of Speech and Drama, Rose Bruford, Fourth Monkey and Drama Studio, as well as Universities.

Course structure and fees

Classes take place over three ten-week terms on the following evenings and weekend days:

  • Monday - 7pm - 10pm

  • Wednesday - 7pm - 10pm

  • Sunday - 10am - 12noon and 12:30pm - 2:30pm

The total course fee is £2,000


A deposit of £200 should be paid on acceptance of your place on the course to secure your place. The remaining fee may then be paid in full on starting the course, or in instalments throughout the year.

Full scholarships funded by the John Lewis Partnership are available to students aged 18-25, who live local to Swindon and the surrounding areas. Awards are made to individuals on the basis of their talent, potential and personal financial need and can be applied for after a successful audition. Find out more here.

Apply now for 2021

For our course starting at the end of September 2021, we are holding our auditions digitally rather than face-to-face.


To apply for an audition, please complete and submit our application form and we will then send you an email confirming the next steps.

Our final audition date is Saturday, 11th of September, please submit your application form before 5pm, Sunday 5th of September.

We are a 'zero audition fee school' so there are no fees to audition for this course.


Workshops are delivered at the Shoebox Theatre - our purpose built, fully equipped studio located in Swindon’s historic railway village.

With numerous public car parks nearby and only a 10 minutes walk from the Swindon train and bus stations, access is a breeze wherever you’re coming from.

Swindon is conveniently located on the M4 and is easily commutable  from Oxford, Bath, Bristol, Winchester, Reading, Cheltenham and Gloucester.

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Stage combat

 APC Equity recognised exam courses in stage combat at basic, intermediate and advanced levels.​




Actor's workout

Masterclasses for Actors to refresh or build their skills.

Weekly sessions focusing on either scripted or improv work to keep your acting technique sharp and well-practiced.