Study Acting & Performance Skills with our Oxford Summer School 2018 | Students aged 13-15

Also available for students aged 16-18.

Class Summary

Through a combination of drama theory and practical activities, our Acting and Performance Skills course aims to provide students with an initial grounding in fundamental performance techniques, as well as increased on-stage confidence and the ability to work creatively in a group. Students will get a chance to experiment with skill-based improvisation, focusing not only on ‘performance’ but also on voice, body, characterisation, and the use of stage crafts.

From day one students get the chance to act, working in groups of two to five on a short scene from a classic English dramatist (starting with Shakespeare’s Richard III and Midsummer Night’s Dream). In the second week, once the students have gained sufficient confidence, they are asked to concentrate on key scenes from modern works such as Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, or John Godber’s Teechers. On Fridays these are performed to the rest of the class who offer their feedback. This progression from Early Modern drama to more contemporary theatre also allows students to explore how English drama has developed over the years.

Working towards this personalised scene at the end of each week provides students with a goal-orientated framework around with to develop their performance creativity.

As well providing a fun and engaging atmosphere to unleash each student’s imagination, the course also aims to build effective group working skills and help students practise self-control, attentiveness and focus. We also hope that every student leaves us with renewed curiosity about theatre and language.

At the end of the course students know how to edit a scene ready for rehearsal, are familiar with rehearsal and performance techniques, have the know-how to work with others to produce a play, and are more aware of their body language, breathing and stage presence. On their final day students will even have the opportunity to meet a visiting professional actor, who will coach them on their edited scene and hold a Q&A session for those interested in a career in acting.


Each workshop is comprised of two parts, starting with warm-up exercises to energise and focus the class. All of these are active and require students to be engaged and moving around the space. These exercises will then feed into the second half of the class, where students work on creating their own scenes. In this way, the structure of the workshop ensures that students are working at their best by the time they come to unpick the more complex theatrical language of Early Modern and contemporary English drama.


The Acting and Performance Skills workshop assumes little or no knowledge of English drama. It establishes effective rehearsal techniques early on so that all students are well-equipped to explore the language and performance of multiple dramatic styles. Performance techniques are discussed and exercised so that students can bring these skills into their end of week productions.