As a world centre for theatre and also for drama training it is no surprise that there are many fantastic drama schools in London which are listed here in our drama school directory. There is no hard and fast definition of a drama school so we have had to be selective.
By drama school we mean somewhere that trains and prepares young adults for a career in the performing arts – including but not limited to acting. We have included schools, colleges and universities that teach drama and connected subjects beyond A-level standard (the UK equivalent of High School or baccalaureate). Stage schools, which teach these subjects to children alongside more traditional academic subjects, are something rather different and have been excluded.
The drama schools listed vary in their aims, their approach and their intended audience so you should compare them carefully before deciding which to apply to. And bear in mind that competition for entry to most courses is fierce so you should apply to several to maximise your chances of gaining a place.
London Drama School Directory
ALRA is the first drama school to offer identical training at opposite ends of the country. ALRA’s London site is located near Clapham Junction, in a Victorian Gothic mansion on Wandsworth Common. ALRA North is a new, state-of-the-art centre located in Wigan, Lancashire. ALRA has a reputation as a drama school that produces down-to-earth, committed actors, ready to work, and full of character and drive; they’re interesting, and interested.
Location: Wandsworth, SW18
Part of Central St Martin’s College, the Drama Centre offers an inspirational, passionate environment for thoses who are resolutely serious about their careers. The school develops individualistic, self-reliant, rounded and accompolished professionals. Its students enter with confidence the world of the classics as well as engaging with new writing and screen work. Graduates include Paul Bettany, Pierce Brosnan, Simon Callow, Frances de la Tour, Anne-Marie Duff, Michael Fassbender, Colin Firth, Tara Fitzgerald, Tom Hardy, Helen McCrory and John Simm.
Location: Across London, but with Platform Theatre located in Kings Cross
At Drama Studio London the training is passionate, personalised and challenging. All of the faculty are working professionals who bring their individual expertise and experience. In this way we ensure that we help students learn how to be an actor and not just how to act. We ensure that the training in every department is absolutely relevant by welcoming, developing and promoting each individual talent. Each student learns their own process and leaves self reliant and confident.
Location: Ealing, W5
For 50 years, East 15 has produced actors, directors, theatre practitioners and technicians. One of the UK’s most innovative acting schools, East 15 grew from the work of Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop. Today it has over 650 students and offers a range of innovative undergraduate and postgraduate courses. East 15 has two locations in Loughton and Southend-on-Sea and is now part of the University of Essex.
The Guildhall School is a lively, friendly community of actors, theatre technicians and musicians situated in the Barbican Arts Centre in the City of London. The Acting and Technical Theatre Arts Departments are intimate and supportive and their programmes are highly regarded in the profession for the passion, quality and rigour of the teaching, the emphasis on the integration of craft training and the strong ensemble ethic shared by staff and students.
Location: The City, EC2
Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts is a world-renowned centre for actor training. Its graduates populate the performance industries and it is this commercial edge that makes the BA (Hons) Acting Programme unique. It is one of the country’s leading vocational acting courses with an emphasis on professional development and employability.
Location: The City, EC1
LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) has fuelled the performing arts for over 150 years. A leader and pioneer, we offer exceptional vocational training to talented individuals – enabling them to become actors, stage managers, technicians, directors, musical directors and designers regardless of their background or financial circumstances. We deal in excellence, passion, talent and imagination. You can see our graduates in the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, London’s West End and Hollywood, as well as on the BBC, HBO and Broadway.
We offer four validated degree programmes, a Foundation Course and a number of Diploma, semester and short courses; all delivered by an exceptional faculty of experienced tutors and visiting artists. Whichever course you choose, our training develops the craft, nurtures talent and ignites the imagination. We promote a spirit of trust and collaboration in all our work, and offer an inventive learning environment and a supportive starting point for your journey into the industry.
Location: Hammersmith, W14
Melbourne Acting Studio – London is a dynamic training centre for aspiring and professional actors. It also offers coaching for professional people to develop into consummate communicators. The studio was established 25 years’ ago in Australia before relocating to London in 2013, where it continues its commitment to nurturing individual development and each student’s belief in their own ideas.
The ‘thinking actor’s training centre’, MAS-London equips performance students and business clients with dexterous skills to respond thoughtfully and on-the-spot to any situation, be it on a film set, in a theatre, or in the auditorium of a business presentation.
Location: Old Street, N1
Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts is one of the UK’s leading drama schools, with a long-standing, international reputation for providing the highest quality training to actors, musical theatre performers, directors and theatre technicians. Mountview offers intensive, practical training from its campus in north London, with all students receiving over thirty hours of teaching each week. Students work in small groups and receive weekly one-to-one sessions with tutors who are leaders in their field.
Location: Crouch End, N22
What makes The MTA different is our ability to prepare you to be at a truly industry-ready professional standard in just 2 years. That’s why The MTA’s fast-track programme is staffed by passionate professionals who have already achieved and are now focussed on giving you the skills to realise your ambition.
Our thorough approach, including a day-long audition process has earned The MTA the reputation of being ‘rigorously professional’. We are proud to have been named School of the Year 2012 in The Stage 100 Awards.
Location: Holloway, N7
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, ‘Central’, is a higher education conservatoire specialising in acting, actor training, applied theatre, theatre crafts, design, dramatherapy, lighting, movement, musical theatre, performance, producing, puppetry, scenography, stage management, sound, teacher training, technical arts and production, theatre studies, voice and writing for stage and broadcast media. Placing students at the centre of its work, Central develops practitioners and researchers who shape the future of theatre and performance.
Location: Swiss Cottage, NW3
The Poor School aims to deliver the highest quality acting training for the lowest possible cost. Over 25 years of graduates have gone on to enjoy successful careers in theatre, film, comedy and radio. Some ex-students have founded their own companies, others have become producers, directors, casting directors and agents. The two year training begins each autumn and is scheduled largely in the evenings and at weekends. Entrance is by audition or via a short course.
As a school that has never relied on subsidy our fees are not subject to the large increases that most other vocational or academic courses are now charging.
Location: Kings Cross, N1