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education model

ACA’s Education Model

The ACA training system is unique in all the world, because of the 5 key educational delivery principles which operate in every class. These principles, honed over 30 years, are built on respect for the actor as a person and an artist, and help nurture the professional mindset which is essential for longevity and long-term fulfilment in the industry:


  1. The Actor’s M.A.P. has been created by Dean Carey, ACA’s Founder and CEO. M.A.P. clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the trinity within each of us: the internal Manager, the Artist and the Person. The understanding of and respect for all three means that actors studying at ACA accelerate their training whilst creating a healthy and robust career foundation. ACA staff support and empower all three aspects giving every actor a grounded, balanced and healthy learning and career path.

  2. ACA’s paradigm for learning grows from an environmental mix of HIGH CHALLENGE matched with HIGH SUPPORT leading to HIGH PERFORMANCE. We learn little as long as we remain within our comfort-zone, the anxiety and emotions associated with feeling ‘out of our depth’ can also affect our ability to process and assimilate new information. By marrying a high-challenge environment with a high level of support and collaboration, we enable the student to grow through the challenge to a new level of understanding and performance. This ensures that a dynamic momentum underpins every class across the arc of the program, leading to high-quality creative development.

  3. ACA’s course embraces time-honoured performance content, along with an array of contemporary texts. Self-initiated performance opportunities fuse with the classic and contemporary canons to create a grounding and creative repertoire. It is a combination that provides each student with the perfect ingredients for creative expansion and personal expression.

  4. ACA’s duty of care to each artist is paramount to our culture. Our emotions are part of what makes us who we are, and to create character, an actor must understand emotions – but this not the same as forcing ourselves to relive traumas or other moments in our emotional past. Emotion is only one aspect of acting and must be understood as the end result of a chain reaction. Bringing a new dimension and depth to the ACA training is the study of human psychology and mindset (of the actor as well as the character). Understanding the links in the process unlocks character itself. At ACA we strongly believe that the actor’s personal life should remaining his/her own and that it is not the privilege of any director or teacher to access or use private emotions to motivate onstage and onscreen drama. This means that the actor stays intact and in control and is given permission to fully engage with the character.

  5. An even playing field at ACA means that actors, teachers and directors are all on the field together, never in the stands. All training takes place with all players collaborating and with no one in the stands watching, judging, criticizing. Power and politics have no place in a united teaching staff, whose only agenda is for every artist to courageously go beyond where they might ordinarily have stopped.

These 5 principles are not designed as a framed vision or mission statement. Rather, they are living elements – the practical and ethical underpinnings of what we do. They are understood and embraced by every member of staff as the key elements which daily combine to create the most aspiring and achievement-based environment possible.