Embody your fullest self and unlock your potential on stage and screen. Our undergraduate acting programme is contemporary, highly practical, project-based and designed to prepare you for a career as a versatile actor in today’s ever-changing media and performance landscape. You’ll gain the skills, experience and confidence to tackle a huge variety of acting roles in a vast range of formats and media, as well as the necessary self-sufficiency and proactivity to secure opportunities in the industry.
Whether in rehearsal, on set or in practical workshops, you’ll be guided through your acting training by industry-acclaimed practising professionals. You will also have the opportunity to work in collaboration with our film, music and visual effects students and star in a range of productions.
You can study this programme either as a full three-year BA degree or the first year only as a one-year HE Certificate.
Spotlight on collaboration
As part of our specialist acting school, you'll benefit from a range of collaboration opportunities, not only with your fellow acting students but also with students in our Film & Visual Media and Music & Sound schools.
You'll get challenges with demanding deadlines and engage in working methodologies that resemble the usual everyday rough and tumble of industry life. At the same time, this 'real world' experience comes with an essential safety net – a chance to fail gloriously with no impact on your reputation, your income or your pride and then to get back into the rehearsal room and try again!
“You always feel challenged to directly open up your self… I’m proud of myself. I’m more happy and confident and I feel more like an artist.”
– Shanice Trustfull, actor and Acting alumna
Year 1 (HE Certificate)
In this course, you’ll work on what we call impossible briefs. You’ll intentionally be given too little time to accomplish a given challenge that trains you for the industry – forcing you to stretch your creative and collaborative muscles to solve the puzzle. Almost every week you’ll perform in a film, either as cast or crew, or in a stage performance, in rotating teams so that you work with different groups from your class. You’ll use freshly-written scripts and rotate directors each time. It’s a fast, fun and powerfully accelerated learning environment. During the second semester, you’ll showcase your skills to the public with a live theatre performance.
As you build your experience in a short amount of time and appear in a variety of projects for both stage and screen, you will generate a rich variety of material that you can use in your showreel and online presence. The curriculum gives you training in voice reels, live performance, acting for camera, voice and movement, as well as industry insights through guest lectures throughout the year. You’ll apply what you learn as you feature in short films, commercials, music videos and more.
Throughout the year, you’ll gain a professional and creative toolkit that will enable you to:
- Practise and develop foundational skills in the craft of acting.
- Practise your skills in front of the camera.
- Develop your critiquing skills.
- Learn to write scripts for film and television.
- Practise foundational principles in training your voice and acting skills.
- Learn about potential routes in the industry and what you need to do to begin.
- Develop your own style and build a profile.
- Perform in a showcase in front of a live audience.
If you choose to enrol for our HE Certificate, you will take just the first year of this programme as a standalone qualification. The one-year HE Certificate course is the same as the first year of the BA programme and you'll be learning alongside the BA students throughout the year. You have the option of progressing into the second year of our BA programme after successfully completing the HE Certificate, subject to results and availability of places.
The heart (and head) of the acting programme in which you build a strong foundation for your practice both academically and as a class group through feedback and weekly check-ins. Projects for each module will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the craft of acting and advisors will guide you through the specifics of each project, helping you shape your ideas into impactful, meaningful pieces of work. In these sessions, you’ll learn about acting, but also about yourself as an artist with a shared space.
Acting for Camera I
Learn a range of skills and methods by getting in front of the camera as often as possible. Master the techniques of blocking for camera, using your eyeline and playing with different shot sizes. The focus will be on relating to your scene partner and nailing a close-up.
“Why would actors learn to write scripts?” you might ask. We believe in graduating actors that are not only employable, but also self-sufficient. You will learn the basics of writing scripts for film and television and create a script for yourself as the lead character.
Workshops centred around your body, how it relates to the space you’re moving in and how it conveys meaning in performance. Learn the basics of fitness, awareness, choreography and performance presence.
In the first semester, voice class is all about learning to use the instrument of your voice with exercises and warm-up routines, learning how to care for your voice and to express yourself fully. The second semester focuses much more on marketing your voice, building upon your skills and using it to create voice overs for advertising, documentaries, video games, animations and audio books.
A very practical history lesson of the most influential figures in acting technique of the 20th century. You will learn fundamental techniques, schools of thought and practical approaches to the work of being an actor. Enact this new knowledge through exercises and script work, from analysis to performance.
You’ll learn to uncover your own method and an approach specific to you through a range of tips and tricks to get you to where you need to be in performance quickly and efficiently. This class also covers ways to keep yourself safe as a performer, how to look after yourself after heavy scenes and how to come back to yourself without an emotional hangover.
Collectively put on a show for a private invited audience, adapting a compilation of scenes from film and television for the stage with the guidance of your advisor. Work with scenes that push you to the edge of your comfort zone so that you grow as an actor as much as possible.
Building an Acting Profile
Develop your professional skills, finding a sense of how you relate to the industry. Learn about headshots, how to create your own website and showreel and how to present your portfolio. A series of casting workshops will teach you how to approach an audition with confidence.
Year 2 (BA)
Now it’s time to slow down in order to focus on quality over quantity. Although there will be fewer projects, they’ll be more ambitious. With a broader artistic range, you’ll bring your own artistic work to life, which you will collaboratively write, direct and perform in. You will form an acting company with your peers and be tasked with creatively reimagining works for a contemporary audience. Learn to write, act and direct sketches and comedy, while finding your voice in a Writers Room setting.
The mission of the second year is to dive much deeper into acting practice and get more specific. Alongside the task of developing yourself as an artist and creative professional, you’ll focus more on acting skills and technique. You will explore the question of what it means to be an actor today, investigating new tools and trends, such as machine learning, and how these affect your practice. The results will give you a stronger foundation for bigger, more character-driven projects that require more time for development, rehearsal and production.
The course content in your second year will focus on:
- Adjusting to increased pace and expectations in line with industry standards.
- Finer details of planning in performance.
- Developing critical reflection of both your own practice and various techniques within acting.
- Refining your showreel and profile with higher quality endeavours.
- Exploring the acting from a variety of different angles and roles.
- Investigating the relationship of Acting with the latest technologies.
- Fair division of roles within a project.
- Creating an Actors and Company Workbook.
This year, Development delves deeper into the specifics of creativity and collaboration. You'll continue with practical projects that require you to think at an advanced level about concepts and techniques which expand your capabilities as an actor, artist and performer. Personal growth and collaboration are still as you develop your artistic voice within the context of the wider Catalyst community. You'll engage in detailed analyses of your peers' work, honing your critical eye and enhancing your understanding of acting and storytelling. Project guidance is more nuanced, refining your ability to transform ideas into compelling work.
Acting for Camera II
Build upon existing techniques, bringing you closer to authentic acting, while exploring a more diverse range of tools and techniques specific to character building. Through practice, you will develop a personal and creative process for approaching screen acting, gain critical reflection skills of both your own work and that of other actors, and deepen your understanding of the casting process and how to prepare for auditions and self tapes. You'll explore Uta Hagen's Object Exercises, learning to root your practice in everyday observations, then put the exercises into practice through scene study.
Movement II – Screen Choreography
Dive deeper into the art of cinematic movement, rhythm and storytelling. In this advanced class, you'll tackle a more complex routine, challenge your creativity and refine your ability to embody character, styles or scenes from the silver screen. Prepare to push boundaries, elevate your performance excellence, and continue to hone your choreography skills.
Voice II – The Vocal Professional
Refine your vocal instrument through singing, breath control, enhancing clarity and minimising heavy accents. Craft a voice reel that places significant emphasis on leveraging your native language or other languages you excel in. Deepen your vocal prowess and storytelling abilities to create captivating content for commercials, video games and animations.
Casting and Industry
Get the full picture on being industry-ready in areas where acting technique is not centre-stage. You’ll learn essential skills to launch your career, including creating a professional self tape from scratch, and familiarise yourself with the entire casting process, from initial contact through to accepting a role on set. You’ll receive guidance on your business assets and tools for approaching agents for representation, as well as expanding your knowledge of the wider industry, both within Berlin and globally.
Year 3 (BA)
This is the year that puts you on the industry runway, ready to take off into your chosen career path, with a curriculum that continues to refine your creative skill set and gives you practical experience of what is needed behind the scenes.
Over the year, you will complete a major and minor project. The major project begins with learning how to effectively articulate your creative work, mastering three distinct approaches that are used in the industry – written proposals, verbal pitches and a comprehensive Pitch Package or Mini-Bible. Then, you will focus on the creation and development of your proposed projects, demonstrating your specialisation, originality and self-expression. Through workshops and feedback, you’ll develop critical reflection of yourself and your role in acting. Don’t be fooled by the title “minor” project – you’ll craft and perform a powerful and insightful theatrical solo, backed up with new knowledge of the nuances of storytelling, modes of performance, character development and stage presence.
Continue to refine practical execution of your creative ideas, using innovative thinking approaches, honed performance skills and collaborative practices. Throughout this intense and rewarding production period filled with substantial creative work, you will build upon your project management skills, making you ready for the faster pace of industry projects, as well as bringing your creative endeavours to a polished and complete stage. This means a full understanding of your audience and where to publish, screen or perform your work, as well as a portfolio that makes your work shine.
The course content in your third year will focus on:
- Overseeing a whole project of your own making from ideation to delivery using industry standard tools and techniques.
- Investigating a niche audience for your work.
- Looking outward and forging a specialised path into industry for yourself.
- Exploring and refining both individual and group work techniques at greater depth.
Voice III – Voice and Ensemble Training
The pinnacle of your voice training, centred around a collective journey to harness the power of your voices as a unified ensemble. You’ll fine-tune your vocal instrument, extending your performance range, perfecting articulation and mastering breath control – essential skills for both theatrical and cinematic performances. You’ll learn to harmonise your body's movements with your voice, cultivating a profound stage presence. By exploring the depths of ensemble voice training, you will emerge as a more versatile and skilled actor.
Much like Voice 3, this workshop emphasises the power of ensemble work. This semester-long journey will delve into the realm of group choreography, fostering unity in spatial awareness and interpersonal dynamics. Through immersive experiences, you'll explore the art of contact improvisation and investigate the relationships between bodies within physical space. Discover the beauty of synchronised movement, creating collaborative choreographies with your fellow students. This collaboration and navigation of shared spaces and building connections with your peers will be at the heart of this exploration.
Acting for Camera III – Camera, Casting and Industry
While you'll still spend considerable time in front of the camera, the focus now shifts to presenting yourself to casting directors, directors, industry professionals and potential collaborators. This workshop is the ultimate step in refining your public-facing portfolio, showcasing the culmination of your hard work and growth during your three years at Catalyst. It's your opportunity to shine and make a lasting impression as you step into the industry with confidence and a well-prepared body of work. Get ready to embark on this final push towards your acting aspirations.
Your technological playground
Get hands-on access to industry-standard facilities and tons of bookable gear
Although you’ll find our actors filming all over Funkhaus and across Berlin, this is the space they call home. It's used for movement work, acting and camera workshops and rehearsing.
Six bookable post-production suites for all your editing needs.
Mix suites for voice over and dubbing work.
Black box film studio with two-sided infinity wall green screen and overhead lighting rigging, used by our film and visual effects students.
Location, location, location
Shoot and rehearse at our huge range of atmospheric, industrial and historic locations in and around Funkhaus, from original mid-20th-century to minimalist concrete.
“I love that we're treated like we are already working in the industry… You learn the hard way what needs to be done and what you can expect when stepping out of the Funkhaus with a degree in your hand.”
– Julie Kjær, actor and Acting alumna
Is this programme for you?
You should be interested in some or all of the following:
- Communicating through performance on screen and stage.
- Expressing yourself authentically through your own productions.
- Working in the film or theatre industry.
- Being able to bring a production to an audience from scratch.
- Learning to take and respond to both direction and feedback.
- Being an impactful member of a team.
- Understanding and tapping into your niche audience.
As well as leaving Catalyst with a brimming network of peers able to fill any role needed on set or on stage, your public-facing profile and body of work will equip you to apply to acting jobs across the board. You’ll be ready for performing in film, television, non-fiction and theatre productions, as well as voice acting in animations and podcasts or advertising or hosting on the radio. Online content and streaming services are continuing to grow, opening an array of job opportunities and routes into the industry. You’ll be completing your studies in the city of Berlin, which has a thriving film industry and growing English-speaking community of creatives. All of this, as well as being home to Berlinale – considered one of Europe's "Big Three" film festivals, alongside Venice and Cannes.
Aside from being employable as an actor, there are other routes to take too. The course fully prepares you to be self-sufficient enough to make your own work – not just to take direction from others. Creative direction for theatre, film or television will be an option for you too. You’ll also be ready to work in a related profession, such as writing or teaching.
Self-development and creative leadership
However you measure it and whatever artistic realm you are working in, most creatives would like to achieve success with their creative endeavour. There are many types of success an individual may want to achieve, from successful completion of an artistic exploration all the way through to financial security and a global audience.
There are many skills required to develop these dreams into real and practical futures. Our optional Self-Development & Creative Leadership course is the ‘rocket fuel’ which will provide you with the frameworks, the focus and the drive to help realise your future.
Gain an understanding of how to take decisive action and communicate powerfully with others, and take an honest look at how you limit yourself. Develop the leadership skills needed to complete your creative project, bring your work into the external world and attract an audience to share, appreciate and follow your work.
Our tutors are industry-acclaimed experts in their field, with a passion for passing on their knowledge to others.
“There are endless opportunities to collaborate with like-minded people… All of this allows you to form friendships and professional connections that will stand the test of time.”
– Giulio Brizzi, actor and Acting alumnus
All applicants will be asked to provide: personal and educational information, documentation of their education experience, a portfolio or audition tape, and a personal introduction (which can be submitted as a written statement of motivation). Visit our How To Apply page for more detail.
Minimum entry requirements
- Standard entry: graduation from high school at a level which would normally permit entry to university in the country where it was gained. This would be A-Levels in the UK and the Abitur in Germany, for example.
- Non-standard entry: We recognise that not all education happens in the classroom and it may be possible to admit you through a non-standard access route. If you do not possess the required formal qualification, but have acquired relevant professional or life experience, please contact our Admissions team.
- Language: The language of instruction in all our courses is English and applicants must demonstrate a level equal to IELTS 6. We do not ask for official exam results, but we will assess the standard of English in your application and support materials.
For more information, please contact our Admissions team and we’d be happy to discuss your opportunities to come study with us.
Course dates and application deadlines
Course start: mid-September 2024
Applications for entry to our courses in 2024 will open on Friday 1 December 2023.
Our application deadlines for entry to our courses in 2024 are as follows:
- Deadline for applicants requiring student visa: Friday 29 March 2024
- Priority deadline: Friday 5 April 2024
- Final deadline: Friday 31 May 2024
- Late applications: From June 2024 onwards
All international students requiring a visa to study in Germany should apply by Friday 29 March 2024.
If you do not need a student visa, we strongly recommend that you apply by our priority deadline (5 April 2024) for your best chances of securing a spot on your chosen course.
We only accept late applications from those who do not need a student visa. If the course is full, you will be added to a waiting list.
Tuition fees (2024 entry)
We offer two ways to pay:
- Single Payment Option:
Enrolment Fee* 895€ + Tuition Fee 10,855€ = 11,750€ per year**
- Instalment Payment Option:
Enrolment Fee* 895€ + Tuition Fee 10 instalments x 1,185.50€ = 12,750€ per year**
* Enrolment fee is non-refundable. It is due every year as part of the total annual fee.
** BA degree = 3 years x total annual fee.
If you decide to enrol in both a Summer Short Course and an undergraduate course (HE Certificate or BA) with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.
Open days, Q&As and taster workshops
Get a feel for Catalyst and our courses at a range of both online and in-person events. Join us at a Virtual Open Day or an Open Day at our campus in Berlin, chat to our programme leads at Meet The Tutor, or try a taster workshop.
In the end, it’s our students’ work that counts. Take a look at a selection of recent examples below.
Behind the scenes
Stories from our creative community
Netflix’s Dark actor Andreas Pietschmann visits Catalyst
Read about Andreas' tips on collaboration, the importance of language and how to create something remarkable.