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Royal Central School of Speech and Drama: Fostering the Next-gen Performing Arts Culture

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

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In the present times, theatre and drama education has gained immense traction within the education sector. Theatre education has become vital since it imparts several benefits that contribute to the well-rounded development of the students. Today, several education institutions around the world are broadening their focus toward theatre and drama education by striving to foster a culture that is imperative for generations to come.

With a vision to lead an innovative and performing arts culture that enriches and changes the world, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama strives to inspire, educate and train the performers, practitioners, and change-makers of tomorrow to shape the future of theatre and the performing arts. Central’s unique mission is underpinned by its core values that demonstrate what it stands for, what it believes, and what it tries to live and work by. With daily practice, its core values – Respecting, Enquiring, Innovating and Sharing – inform Central’s approach to its actions and work as an inclusive organisation.

Insightful Inception

Central was founded in 1906 by Elsie Fogerty, who envisioned offering a new form of training in speech and drama for young actors and other students. Since its establishment, Central continued to add to its facilities.

In 2005, it became a college of the University of London and was bestowed the ‘Royal’ title by Her Majesty The Queen in her Jubilee year in 2012. To date, Central continues to be a pioneer in the training of creative practitioners, with many graduates nominated for or receiving prestigious awards and recognition around the world.

Array of Educational Benefits

With 15 courses at the undergraduate level, 14 Master’s programs, and an expansive and award-winning Research department, Central offers Europe’s most comprehensive choice of specialist higher education drama, theatre, and performance training. It has an unrivaled range of international partners and collaborators, strong industry links, a wide portfolio of professional placement opportunities, and some of the highest graduate employment rates in the sector.

The courses offered at Central are heavily industry-focused. Students benefit from staff who are professionals as well as industry practitioners who share their knowledge and experience. Moreover, they are provided with opportunities to practically apply their learning and experiment with the latest methods. In turn, the students of Central bring the spirit of experimentation and innovation with them into the industry, helping to shape the future of theatre and performing arts.

Expansive Study Programs

Central offers a wide range of full-time and part-time courses across various academic levels that cater to different levels and experiences. At the undergraduate level, it provides three-year Bachelor’s programs in professional actor training, experimental performance, playwriting, applied theatre, and a suite of individual courses covering the various disciplines of theatre crafts, design, and production.

Central’s range of postgraduate courses is broader, while the Master’s courses cover a range of areas such as voice, scenography, writing, applied theatre, actor training, and many more. The school offers postgraduate courses as MAs, in which some can be availed as two-year MFAs. It also endorses Ph.D. study, with an engaging research culture and community, and around 40 active Ph.D. students. In addition, Central also provides short courses from beginner levels to Diplomas throughout the year.

Exploring Innovation and Creativity

The way content and performance is made and consumed is ever evolving and Central provides opportunities for students to experiment and innovate in the areas where they are most passionate. . The practical, intensive training provided by Central ensures that students have the skills and experience to make a lasting impact on the industry after graduation. 

In addition, students have the opportunity to work closely with colleagues across a range of disciplines and specialist areas, learning from each other’s practice and working in a way that directly mirrors the professional setting. This ensures that they are well prepared to take their skills into a range of settings, maximizing their employment potential so they can hit the ground running when they enter the industry.

Central’s extensive links with the creative industries means that its training is informed by the latest professional practice and approaches. The students are equipped with all the essential competencies while also learning the value of collaboration and developing the ability to try new methods, challenge current approaches, and help move the industries forward.

Commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Central values embrace and is committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion. Its mission to shape the future of theatre and performance in the UK and beyond is contingent on a diverse and inclusive student and staff body.

  • Every applicant for an undergraduate course is interviewed by the school to explore their creative voice in more depth.
  • Central’s outreach program aims to raise aspiration and attainment, and encourage progression to higher education for those learners currently underrepresented. The school offers free auditions for a large number of applicants to ensure as many people as possible are able to audition for the BA (Hons) Acting program.
  • Central’s values are communicated to all students as part of the student induction, which includes anti-racism training for all students.
  • The Neuro-Inclusion and Disability Service provides support to dyslexic, dyspraxic and neuro-diverse students in numerous ways, from the audition and interview process through to free screening appointments with specialist tutors.
  • The Students’ Union also has a number of elected liberation student union officers, dedicated to supporting students from different communities (including international students) and running the campaigns they would like to see on campus throughout the year.

Central is an international community drawn from about 50 different nations across the globe. It offers an international pre-course to help with the transition to living and studying in London. The school has also long provided the ability to interview or audition at a distance to ensure overseas students are also able to successfully apply for the courses. In addition, international students also have access to the Graduate VISA that provides the ability to live in the UK for up to 2 years after completing their studies.

Maximized Engagement Opportunities

Besides emphasizing the academic development of students, Central also offers an array of engagement opportunities for its students—both curricular and extracurricular. Its Students’ Union is extremely active and provides a wide range of clubs and societies for students to get involved with. It runs a number of campaigns, events, and initiatives throughout the year, including performance opportunities such as scratch nights and festivals.

Students also have access to the University of London’s Students’ Union, including a range of clubs, societies, and other services. Everything takes place against the backdrop of London itself, with its array of cultural, entertainment, and educational opportunities. With Central’s campus set in the heart of the UK’s capital city, students have a myriad of options to choose from.

Evaluating Past, Present and the Future

The COVID-19 outbreak posed an immense challenge against the learning and teaching process of educational institutes. However, throughout the pandemic, Central prioritized the safety of its staff and students while ensuring that courses can continue to be delivered in safe and engaging ways. The emergence of new variants has not disrupted the school’s approach, which includes regular testing and mask-wearing for students. Its consistent approach, together with the vigilance of its community, enables students to receive the majority of their training on-site and in person. With the evolving situation, Central ensures that it puts in place the necessary measures to protect the health and safety of its staff and students whilst also maintaining the learning experience.

In addition, Central strives to continue training students to work in collaborative and innovative ways—aiming that that creativity and skill contribute heavily to the ongoing development of the creative industries.

Note to students:

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

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