The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts is one, if not the, most prestigious drama school in the UK. It’s world-renowned for being one of the oldest institutions with a glittering history of some fantastic alumni. Founded in 1904, it’s had incredible success in training actors for theatre, film, and television.
However, it’s always important to take into account what the school stands for now. Who are their teachers? What are their teaching practices and is the school right for you?
Strengths of RADA
The prestige of RADA is helpful for their final year students when they’re performing for industry personnel. Each year agents and casting directors attend drama school productions in order to scour for new talent. RADA has no problem attracting the top level of the industry. All of the big agencies will send a representative and when you leave you’ll have a stellar name on your CV. Their production values are excellent and they attract some of the best directors for their final year performances.
Further to that, their teaching staff and facilities are world class. John Beschizza is the lead acting teacher and he’s exceptionally well qualified. They have fantastic studios on their campus by Goodge Street as well as access to great theatres for productions.
The location of RADA is very central as you can see from the map below. It’s about ten minutes walk from Goodge Street Station and their first year digs are very close to the campus.
What the auditions are like
RADA has four rounds of auditions which consist of:
- An individual audition in front of two (sometimes three) judges where they’ll ask you to perform a classical and then a contemporary piece. It’s advisable that you have a backup of both as they may ask you to perform another.
- Another individual audition in front of four (sometimes five) judges where you’ll need to perform a classical and then a contemporary piece. For this audition, the judges are more senior and they might keep you around after the audition for a brief chat.
- A half-day audition workshop day where you will need a classical and a contemporary piece to work with. This will be a day of workshops with a senior member of the course you’re applying for.
- A full day of auditioning where you will take part in workshops with a senior member of the course you’re applying for.
You will also be asked to sing a song during some of these auditions so be prepared for that.
Things to consider
We have a whole article that goes into what to consider when applying for drama school: here. In that article, we cover two big things to take into account:
- Training in a big city like London or going to a drama school that is away from the city.
- Going to a long-standing and traditional drama school or training at a younger institution.
RADA is very easily categorised as a long-standing institution which is right in the centre of London. It’s important to know whether you would be happy choosing these options if you want to apply to RADA or if you have been accepted onto one of their courses.
Where to apply
In order to apply to RADA you have to go through their website: https://www.rada.ac.uk/courses/. The institution unlike a lot of other drama schools where you apply through UCAS – they do it all internally. It’s quite an old school process where you need to download an application form and post it directly to RADA.
Another point to bear in mind is that you have to pay a £55 fee in order to apply and the fee is non-refundable if you can’t attend your audition. As it says on their website “the application is non-refundable under any circumstances.”
Bearing this in mind, make sure that you are absolutely certain you want to audition for RADA when you pay them and send in your application. The reason being, you won’t get that money back if you change your mind.
The audition process is rigorous and in order to get into RADA you have to be an exceptional actor – there can be no denying that. The prestige, history and excellent training at this institution mean it’s a great choice for acting training.
I have noticed that some drama school applicants want to get into RADA just because…. “it’s RADA.” This is absolutely fine because it’s a valid argument. How can you go wrong with the most historic and iconic drama school in the UK? However, I always stress to students that it’s important to take into account your own feelings.