When you are applying to an institution you want to know that you are going to get a base level of quality. I, myself, wanted to know that my education would be at an “accredited” school. Acting training can be very expensive and I wanted to know that I was going to get a base level of quality. Having that word “accredited” gives you that peace of mind that you will get exactly that. Accredited Drama schools in the UK are the creme-de-la-creme and ones that you know will be good value for money.
How do you know which courses are from accredited Drama Schools?
Drama UK (History)
There used to be a very reliable institution called “Drama UK” which had a list of accredited Drama schools in the UK. It was quite in-depth and covered courses that it found as having a base level of quality. However, in 2016 the institution closed because many of those schools decided to leave for various reasons. This article is a great introduction to the subject. (credit to the Stage) Have a look at the list here.
The next paragraph is about funding and is slighty technical. You don’t need to read it but it’s just for those people who are curious about what happened to Drama UK. This is a litle bit fiddly so if I loose you in the next paragraph then skip it.
Why did it close?
The main reason that Drama UK closed was that many schools nowadays get their funding through the higher-education funding system. Meaning that their degrees are actually assured by the state and don’t need to be accredited by a separate body. That means that you will apply through UCAS or CUCAS (for conservatories) in order to apply unless they have their own application process.
When you graduate from LAMDA, RADA, Guildhall or Rose Bruford you actually get a degree assured by a connecting University. This creates a problem for those people who are looking for a guaranteed “accredited” course.
All the drama schools are accredited nowadays because they all have Universities that are associates with them.
Have a look at this list this is the list of all the drama schools in the UK at the moment. This is a huge list of institutions of varying sizes and specialities. For the average person to sift through this and do the proper research is ludicrous.
It used to be easier because you would just have to research the schools on the Drama UK list and that would be the end of it. However, now it is slightly more complicated because schools aren’t independent anymore. Nowadays the drama schools aren’t all part of the same external body that guarantees quality because of the closure of Drama UK. If you can get a university to back your course then you automatically become an “accredited” course without any industry-related research and without any quality checks along the way. However, rest assured there are ways of knowing which schools meet the old “accredited” criteria…
- Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
- Conservatoire for Dance and Drama
- Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
- Guildhall School of Music & Drama
- Royal College of Music
- Leeds College of Music
- Royal Academy of Music
- The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
- Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
- Royal Northern College of Music
Not all of these are specific acting schools but if you manage to get into any of these institutions then you can be sure that you are going to get a very good vocational training.
Some of these institutions are arguably the best on the planet never mind the best in the UK and when you get a conservatoire you know that the training is going to be relevant to the industry you want to go into. If you are reading this and you have got into any of these institutions then have no fear these are the creme de la creme for people who are in the know. Another Institution to look at is the
These guys have an overlap with the old Drama UK institution as they were part of the original partnership that created the institution in the first place. They are the closest to replacing what Drama UK used to be.
“CDET provides quality assurance for the professional dance, drama and musical theatre industries. It is the first point of contact for those seeking information on education, training and assessment in the UK. CDET negotiates with government bodies, as well as national and international agencies on behalf of our member organisations.”
The Old Institution
I also recommend having a look at the old Drama UK List. The schools have changed tremendously because of the industry relying on self-tapping and TV much more but the quality remains the same.
- Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA)
- The Arts Educational Schools (ArtsEd)
- Birmingham School of Acting
- Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
- Cygnet Training Theatre
- Drama Centre London
- Drama Studio London
- East 15 Acting School (E15)
- Guildford School of Acting (GSA)
- Guildhall School of Music and Drama
- Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
- London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA)
- The Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre (The Manchester School of Theatre // ManMet)
- Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
- The Oxford School of Drama
- Queen Margaret University
- Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)
- Rose Bruford College
- Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD)
- Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD)
- Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD)
If you have been accepted into any of these schools then you can rest assured that they are good. Some of them may not be “accredited” nowadays by an external body but I haven’t heard of many complaints from the graduates of these schools. Once you get into the industry you start to understand that all of them offer quite a high level of service.
You have probably gathered that the whole issue of accredited drama schools in the UK is quite complicated. Now that Drama UK has closed down and the funding system has changed it is difficult to get any reassurance before you go to a college.
As I say in all my articles I urge you to trust your gut when it comes to applying to performance courses. Make sure you meet the teachers and do as much research as you possibly can before you make the decision. If you want a really detailed understanding then there is really only one way to go about it. You’ve got to buy the book