The information here is for publicly funded university-accredited degrees in Ireland and the UK. See the second information sheet for other courses (private and fee-paying ones, Post Leaving cert ones etc).

FIRST – the courses

Look at the websites of the following universities and colleges (I have selected only the BA Acting courses – you can browse around each college and find other courses like Musical Theatre etc):


Post Leaving Cert Courses

These colleges offer Post Leaving
Certificate courses in Acting and in Performing Arts.

All details are on their websites. They are
much easier to get into than BA courses. A year or two at one of these might be
a good fit for you if you feel you are not yet ready for, or haven’t yet
decided to, study at third level.

11- Theatre Performance, Cavan Institute, Cavan

Private, fee-paying courses and degrees:

1- Gaiety School of Acting

2- American College, Dublin: BA Performing Arts and BA Musical Theatre

3- Bow Street Academy, Dublin – Acting for screen

Degrees that are not acting ones but have elements of acting or performance in them:

1- Theatre and Performance Practices, UCC, Cork

2- Drama and Theatre Studies, NUI Galway

3- Performing Arts, IT Sligo

4- Bachelor of Arts in Drama, TU Dublin

Become thoroughly familiar with the following sections in each:

  • BA Performing or BA Acting – what’s involved? What is the course content in Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3?
  • The Audition process for each (When? Where? What speeches? Length of speech? etc)
  • Fees, deadline, and application forms for each (some have ‘early bird’ offers)
  • The alumni – who has studied here and is now making a career from acting.

Make note of the ones you like. Check who we have there, or who has been there. Our former members have either graduated from or are currently in most of them. We can link you later to them for a chat.

SECOND – the fees and funding

Check out the funding process. Look at:

1- Maintenance Grant Scheme

and here

2- Higher Aducation Authority Student Finance 

and here:

3- Higher Education Access Route


1- Student Finance UK

In general, publicly-funded universities in the EU have supports in place for students to pay fees. Most university courses in acting cost upwards of €10,000 per year. In the UK you can apply to Student Finance as an Irish resident for a loan that will pay for your fees. This loan becomes repayable after you graduate and when you are earning above a certain amount per year. Full details are on their website. The deduction is phased from annual salary in the same way taxation is deducted. In some cases, the loan is ‘written off’ if the student does not earn above the required income after a certain number of years.

This information may change due to Brexit, so make sure to double-check what impact Brexit will have on fees for Irish students post-December 2021.

2- SUSI Ireland

It is possible for qualifying families to obtain a SUSI grant to assist the maintenance costs of a student if he or she is studying abroad. There are terms and conditions. All information is available in the website.

3- For Scotland

THIRD – the application process

Having examined what each college wants, and when their deadlines are, and having downloaded and gone through their application forms, you will need to apply to UCAS if you are thinking about studying in the UK.

UCAS – You are applying for Undergraduate courses, just in case you did not know. Once you get a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BSc (Bachelor of Science) you are considered a graduate, and the next course you might do will be called a post-graduate course. A Master’s Degree is a postgraduate course (MA in Performance, for example).

PLC courses are not at graduate, or BA/BSc level. They are at a level in between Leaving Cert and BA/BSc.

FOURTH – do not ignore the deadlines

It is your responsibility to note clearly the deadlines for applying to colleges, and for UCAS applications. Give yourself plenty of time to become prepared. Familiarise yourself with the requirements on each application form (for UCAS, for example, you have to write a Personal Statement and obtain 2 references).

Peter Hussey will act as one of your referees for UCAS. You can get a teacher to act as the second one.

All the applications have costs involved. Talk to us if you have difficulty meeting the costs.

FIFTH – get your audition speeches ready

As soon as you can start selecting and preparing audition speeches. They are usually:

1- One classical monologue from Shakespeare or his contemporaries (Webster, Marlow, Middleton etc).

2- One contemporary speech from a published and performed play (usually one that is reasonably well known).

Speeches should be 2 minutes’ long – check each college website for details.

If the auditions are in London, you’ll have to think about flights. RADA and LAMDA have an audition day in Dublin in the Spring. In 2020 most auditions were by video call due to COVID travel restrictions. Talk to us if travel will be a problem.

You will be competing against over 4,000+ young people to get one of 16 or so places in the college. There will be many rejections, so you must find a way to live with rejection and not internalise it as a personal failing. If you are lucky, there will be ‘call-backs.’ There can be up to 4 call backs – more flights and more audition preparation.

So, time to start working!