Year of the Monkey



Course Qualification Year of the Monkey Diploma
Course Duration One Year (Full-time)
Course Leader Simone Waller
Course Delivery Full-time (22 – 35hrs)
Course Location The Monkey House, London
Training Provider Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company
Qualification Awarding Institution  Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company

Course Aim

This vocational actor training programme aims to establish fearless, playful, connected and imaginative physical artists who understand the power of collaboration as well as the power of ‘self’ within a working ensemble.

Designed for those embarking on their acting journey, returning to the industry or indeed those changing career, the Year of the Monkey programme creates a diverse, collaborative environment in which to explore this unique, intensive movement-based actor training programme. The course is structured to enable accessibility and experiential development in acting technique, movement and voice, as well as the collaborative process of theatre making with an extensive delve into the world of the “theatrical clown”. Founded on the principles of ‘ensemble’, the Fourth Monkey Year of the Monkey Intensive Actor Training Programme is unique in its form and composition.

The Year of the Monkey programme is designed to allow students to work and train at the same time, enabling accessibility to those transitioning from another career or educational setting in an experiential and vocational structure.

Upon completion of the programme, graduates are well-positioned to take their next steps within the arts, whether that be further training or returning to the industry as an actor or theatre maker. Through individual tuition and mentorship, the core Fourth Monkey team ensure students are supported in finding individually tailored, suitable progression upon completion of their training.

The programme offers numerous performance projects both internally and externally, culminating in a season of work in repertory at the conclusion of the training programme.

Our training ethos is to foster a nurturing environment that creates challenges and opportunities for all students to evolve as actors and theatre makers who are also connected, fearless and imaginative artists fully equipped to thrive in an ever-changing and competitive industry. 

As a Drama School, Fourth Monkey are committed to changing the face of contemporary actor training, by offering innovative, inclusive and ever-evolving training programmes aimed at empowering and developing the next generation of theatre makers.

About the Course

Curated by Fourth Monkey’s Director of Training Charleen Qwaye, Fourth Monkey’s Year of the Monkey Intensive Actor Training Programme is our original programme of study, and forms the philosophical origins at the heart of the school’s core training principles. Through a programme driven by playful exploration, movement and physical discipline, our actors-in-training rigorously explore the four Fourth Monkey training pillars of ACT. MAKE. MOVE. COLLABORATE.

The programme is designed by experienced actors, directors, theatre makers and practitioners who are passionate about revolutionising actor training in the UK. Through a collective wealth of international professional experience in their specialisms, the team have built a programme of study that is unique in its scope and rigorous in its practice, reflecting the unashamed mission of Fourth Monkey as a drama school to create the most dynamic actors and courageous theatre makers working within the industry today.

Training on this programme encourages connections between the various disciplines, practices and activities within the field of performance and creation. The course has no academic written work, instead students “learn by doing” in a range of professional vocational classes, workshops, performance projects and public events.

The power of the ensemble group dynamic and ‘play’ in our training is key in helping shape professionally trained actors and theatre makers who strive to deliver bold collaborative work, using the unique Fourth Monkey thematic module structure of ACT. MAKE. MOVE. COLLABORATE.

Study Block 1

The first study block of training is about establishing the foundations and rigours of actor training. Our students are expected to playfully explore and openly engage in their work both as individuals and as generous members of a functioning, collaborative ensemble.

Classes focus on specific skills and techniques, whilst holistically developing students as artists through self-reflection. Ongoing, individual developmental support from the Training Team is also core to the Fourth Monkey philosophy, with students receiving constructive feedback on core disciplines throughout the course of the training programme.

In this study block, students rigorously explore extensive physical and technical practice in a myriad of disciplines with a focus on both individual and collaborative development – incoming cohorts will soon see why our students say “embrace the sweat” about their time in the Monkey House! This first study block prepares the body and mind for the rigours of physical actor training and invites our students to enter the room in a way that is bold, open and lacking in self-consciousness.

At the conclusion of the study block students have the opportunity to share and celebrate each others’ work internally, in a series of non-assessed projects.

Core Modules
Act Clown
Actors Toolkit
Make Puppetry
Move Laban
Corporeal Mime
Movement of the African Diaspora
Collaborate Ensemble
Study Block 2

The second study block of training is about developing technical practice and process as actor, maker, mover and collaborator. Our students are expected to work with increased rigour, resilience and detail, and to be a functioning and crucial member of the fledgling ensemble.

As in Study Block 1, students will focus on developing specific skills and techniques, whilst using self-reflection to further their personal training journey as an actor and theatre maker. As previously, the Training Team continue to offer ongoing, individual developmental support and constructive feedback on core disciplines, whilst conversations begin to look to the various destinations and opportunities available to students beyond completion of the programme.

In this study block, students begin to apply their physical and technical practice with a view to performance or creation. Through working in a range of disciplines, they commence working toward storytelling in its many forms.

Students again have the opportunity to share and celebrate each others’ work in non-assessed projects at the completion of the block of training.

Core Modules

Contemporary Text
Classical Text
Mono Monkey






Ensemble Collaboration


Study Block 3

The final study block of training is about process and performance as actor, mover, maker and collaborator. Our students are expected to apply professional discipline, independence and  playfulness throughout this Study Block, as they work toward final performance projects of devised and ensemble work.

Culminating in a final public performance season of work in repertory as a collaborative ensemble, students will have an opportunity to put into practice the creative skills and disciplines covered throughout the programmes as well as interrogate their professional development and abilities as actors and theatre makers.

Students continue to receive constructive feedback on core disciplines, as well as focusing on individual professional and personal development. Each student will be mentored throughout the final study block with individual guidance and support in regard to their progression, opportunities and destination upon completion of the training programme.

In this study block, students will develop a repertory season of original physical and ensemble work, under the direction of a selection of internationally renowned theatre makers and collaborators. The final work will be shared publicly at the conclusion of the training programme.

Core Modules

Professional Prep
Acting for Camera


Ensemble Performance Project


Commedia and Clown


Ensemble Devising Project



In line with the delivery of the course, students’ assessments will be practical.

At the end of each study block, core department staff and practitioners will also typically offer ongoing personal developmental feedback to help inform students’ self-guided learning. Students receive personal formative feedback regularly based on their demonstration, embodiment and understanding of the necessary skills related to the learning outcomes.

Students are also required at all times to maintain high levels of professional conduct regarding attendance, promptness and preparation which is expected and compulsory.

Entry Requirements

All applicants who have completed a Fourth Monkey application are invited to audition and interview. Applicants can select an audition in London at The Monkey House, or choose a Regional or Virtual Audition if preferred, via our quick and easy application form.

Fourth Monkey consider all applicants on individual merit focusing on their potential as a collaborative theatre maker. Our auditions, wherever and however they take place, are designed to create a safe and playful environment where everyone has the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, for us to discover what inspires them and learn why they want to train with Fourth Monkey.

Offers to join the Year of the Monkey programme are only made to those who have submitted a completed application form and successfully auditioned and interviewed with Fourth Monkey. All information on the Fourth Monkey Audition & Offer process and requirements can be found here.

Fees & Funding
Audition Fee Free
Acceptance Fee £700 (non-refundable)
Tuition Fee £6,600
Year 2 Additional Costs Fourth Monkey Uniform £60+
KneePads £5+
Padlock (Coded) £5+


Students on the Year of the Monkey programme  are able to pay for their training with a payment plan.

£700 – Initial non-refundable acceptance fee upon returning paperwork to secure place
£2200 – Payable by 1st July, prior to commencement of term in September
£2200 – Payable by 1st November
£2200 – Payable by 1st January

There are also various funding avenues open to students to pay for this private course which are outlined on our Funding page.

Our Alumni

Fourth Monkey has an alumni industry employment rate of 84% within 12 months of graduation* with graduates going on to work in film, digital media, national touring theatre, advertising, radio and performance companies.

Our training has always been focused towards giving students the skills to forge sustainable careers in the arts and to create original work alongside the traditional routes. The vast majority of our alumni have successfully gained agent representation when they finish their training with us, and an ever-growing number benefit from the training’s particular focus on giving students the tools and empowerment to create professional work with many of our students going on to form their own successful theatre companies and collaborations.

The communication, interpersonal and presentation skills that are embedded within this accelerated degree transfer extremely effectively to other environments with graduates also securing work in coaching, teaching and training in all areas; from storytelling, facilitating youth theatre or teaching business executives presentation and corporate training roles. Training-specific specialisms such as directors, movement directors or specialist artists as well as puppetry, theatrical clown or corporeal mime are also regular features in onward career paths.

Upon graduation from this programme, there are also opportunities to gain a bursary for the winner of Fourth Monkey’s Experimental Fringe Project, professional paid employment with the Fourth Monkey Ensemble professional touring company, plus continued professional development through enhanced access to Fourth Monkey’s Evolve programme.

*correct as per September 2019

Training Environment

Theatre and acting is a collaborative art form and we place great emphasis on the individual’s responsibility to the group and the group’s responsibility to the individual. This creates an ensemble atmosphere of mutual respect where creativity can flourish.  

Our training ethos is to foster a nurturing environment that creates challenges and opportunities for all our students to have their voice heard and is celebrated. Every student has the opportunity to excel as they are encouraged to be bold and play!

The power of the ensemble group dynamic and ‘play’ in our training is key in helping to shape professionally trained actors and theatre makers fully equipped to thrive in an ever-changing and competitive industry who strive to deliver bold, collaborative work.

Every day, training in the Monkey House has something different to offer and a new challenge for students to face. Core training will be delivered through; practitioner led studio work, collaborative research-led projects, masterclasses, seminars, rehearsals, performances, showcases, films,  feedback tutorials and self-guided learning. Alongside the core training, there are numerous enhancement opportunities which serve to physically and mentally prepare all of our students for the term and tasks ahead, encourage our multi-disciplinary ethos, widen students’ perspective and enhance their engagement with the profession.

The core of Fourth Monkey’s training is delivered entirely at the Monkey House, our home and training base, in Islington, North London. You can explore the Monkey House and it’s range of training spaces with our virtual 360 tour of the building.

Our students on life at Fourth Monkey

Fourth Monkey is very much a family, comprising our collaborative community of our core senior teaching staff, talented freelance practitioners and of course our students. Our core teaching team work alongside some of the UK’s finest practitioners and theatre-makers with our actors-in-training, sharing their passion, enthusiasm, plus specialist knowledge and experience to create a unique, dynamic working environment where individual expression is valued and nurtured and every voice is heard.

To find out more information on our Training Staff, plus our core office team, click the button below.

We have created a variety of training programmes to give you all the tools you will need as an actor and theatre maker working in the contemporary industry. Explore all our training programmes and decide which will be the right fit for you, via the link below.

How to Apply

Fourth Monkey auditions are designed to reflect our training and company ethos, celebrating the individual whilst fostering a sense of collaborative growth and development. We aim to create a relaxed and informal environment so everyone can show their true potential.

Information about Fourth Monkey Application, Audition & Offer process and requirements can be found on our Auditions Page. To apply to audition for a place at Fourth Monkey, simply follow the step by step process below for your opportunity to train with Fourth Monkey:

If you would like to experience the Fourth Monkey style of training first-hand, we offer free Virtual Q&A’s on a monthly basis to work out whether we are the right drama school for you.


Led by Artistic Director Steven Green, the Q&A’s are a fun introduction to the Fourth Monkey ethos and a great chance to get an insight into our approach to actor training as well as ask to any questions you may have