The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama


Monday 04 August 2014 10:44 BST
Hampstead Theatre works alongside the central school of speech and drama
Hampstead Theatre works alongside the central school of speech and drama (Mike Quinn)

History: Founded in 1906 for training actors by the formidable Miss Elsie Fogerty. The school moved from its original Albert Hall base to the Embassy Theatre, Swiss Cottage, in 1956, with the help of a distinguished alumnus, Laurence Olivier. In 2004, the school was granted the power to grant its own degrees and in 2005 it became a college of the University of London.

Address: The campus is at Swiss Cottage in north-west London.

Ambience: Jazzy mix of studio spaces and an Edwardian theatre. The site is conveniently located by Swiss Cottage tube station, close to Primrose Hill, Regent's Park and Hampstead. Theatre students mean there's a creative buzz, the college is small, which creates friendly, sociable atmosphere.

Who's the boss? Professor Gavin Henderson CBE is the principal.

Prospectus: 020 7722 8183 or have a look at their prospectus here.

UCAS code: C35

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Not for acting. The acting course receives over 4,700 applications for 54 places. For drama, applied theatre and education, the normal minimum entry is BBB at A-level plus five GCSEs at C or above, one of which must be English. For undergraduate craft, technology and design subjects, normal minimum entry was BBC at A-level or DDM at BTEC National Diploma.

Vital statistics: Has around 950 students. Offers undergraduate degrees in acting, music theatre, collaborative and devised theatre, costume construction, design for stage, drama applied theatre and education, performance arts, production lighting, prop making, puppetry, scenic art, scenic construction, stage management, technical and production management, theatre lighting design and theatre sound.

Added value: Claims to have the largest range of drama, theatre and performance-related degree programmes in Europe. It is also noted for introducing new forms and practices alongside classical theatre. When they graduate, students can hobnob with other Central alumni, who form a powerful network in the industry.

This year the University are offering four new MFA options including: MA/MFA Actor Training and Coaching, MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching, MA/MFA Performance Practice as Research and MA/MFA Scenography. There is also a new pathway option for our BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre and Education course: Writing for Performance

Any accommodation? The university have no accommodation of their own, but students do have access to range of external halls of residence through the University of London and International Student House. Click here for more information.

Cheap to live there? It's in London, so ... no. Student rents in surrounding suburbs cost anything from £100 a week onwards.

Transport links: Right on the swanky Jubilee line and great for bus and rail links.

Fees: £9,000 per year for full-time undergrads starting in September 2014.

Bursaries: There are a number of course-specific scholarships available. See the website for more details.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Student bar runs regular events including discos, karaoke and quiz nights. Plus one student ball per term.

Glittering alumni: Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Harold Pinter, Cameron Mackintosh, Vanessa Redgrave, Gael Garcia Bernal, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Graham Norton, Catherine Tate, James Nesbitt and Rufus Sewell, to name just a few.

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