History: Founded in 1950 by one Rose Bruford, a voice and speech dynamo who taught drama at the Royal Academy of Music. She set up her own school because she thought a drama school could be more than a finishing school and developed a unique course of actor training linked to teacher development. The college pioneered the first BA acting degree in 1976.
Address: Lamorbey Park in south-east London's Sidcup. Just 25 minutes from Charing Cross by train.
Ambience: The Sidcup site is in exquisite 18th-century parkland with squirrels, foxes, swans and a lake. The college recreates the atmosphere of a working theatre with an emphasis on practical work.
Who's the boss? Professor Michael Earley is college principal. He formerly taught at Yale University and The Juilliard School and was chief producer of plays for BBC Radio Drama.
UCAS code: R51
What you need to know
Easy to get into? You need two A-level passes or equivalent (240 UCAS tariff points). Mature students with talent are encouraged to apply. An interview or audition for applicants is common, and a portfolio of work is welcomed for certain programmes.
Vital statistics: A small college of higher education with a diverse 700-strong student body.15 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees validated by the University of Manchester. Some courses are validated by the National Council of Drama Training (NCDT) and the college is a member of the Conference of Drama Schools (CDS).
Added value: Global links with higher education and theatre institutions in the USA (Texas and Minnesota), Japan, Finland, Holland, Spain, Prague, Estonia, Ireland and others. Recruits internationally and offers distance learning courses in opera and theatre studies. Special collections in the library include the Clive Barker Archive, collections on Stanislavski and John Masefield, and a video and film archive on Kathakali performance and training collected by David Bolland. An £8m building programme was completed in 2002 with new rehearsal rooms, digital recording rooms, a library and offices to complement the already existing 300-seat Rose Theatre and the 100-seat Barn Theatre.
Teaching: The college scored 76 per cent for student satisfaction in the latest National Student Survey. A 2009 QAA audit gave it a verdict of "reasonable confidence" and praised the way the college organises student feedback.
Any accommodation? Yes - rooms are available in local housing and the University of Greenwich's halls of residence for £86 to £100 per week.
Cheap to live there? Depends where you stay. Private rents can be anywhere between £80 and £100 per week.
Transport links: Accessible by train and car (15 to 20 minutes to London Bridge) and easy to get to from London.
Fees: All undergrad degree programmes charge £9,000 per year with MA courses costing £9,900.
Bursaries: Part of the National Scholarship Scheme to assist those from families with a household income below £25,000 per year.
The fun stuff
Nightlife: Café/bar in Rose Bruford theatre foyer. Students' Union organises events including beer festivals, beach parties and the summer ball. Plenty of pubs in the area.
Sporting facilities: Discounted prices at the local gym plus freedom to use the bordering parkland.
Glittering alumni: Actors galore - Gary Oldman, who played Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK, Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films and directed the film Nil By Mouth; Tom Baker (Dr Who); Cathy Shipton (Duffy in Casualty); Freddie Jones; Nerys Hughes; Ray Fearon. Playwrights include Roy Williams ('Sing your Heart for the Lads'). Production and design alumni too numerous to mention.