Join some of theatre's greats by studying in London

Cathy Anderson

What do Judi Dench, Laurence Olivier, Andrew Garfield and Kit Harington have in common? They all studied at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in London – and so can you.
Join some of theatre's greats by studying in London

The Royal Central has produced incredibly well-known alumni including Judi Dench, Laurence Olivier, Andrew Garfield and Game of Thrones star Kit Harington.

The UK school, part of the University of London, is hosting its annual Australian auditions and interviews in Sydney on April 9, and you’re invited. Royal Central offers three-year undergraduate degrees or one-year Masters degrees as well as a two-year MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in a number of postgraduate study areas.

Marketing Recruitment Manager Scott Bellamy said there’s plenty of great reasons to study overseas – in addition to the School’s A-lister alumni.

‘First and foremost, many consider London to be the theatre capital of the world,’ he told ArtsHub. ‘Central, whilst having our own on-site theatre, is ideally located in North London next to The Hampstead Theatre and near a number of other arts establishments. London provides a rich cultural experience with a diverse population and thriving arts community.

‘For those who want to work in the creative sectors, London really is a hub for developing industry links and new connections.’

Bellamy said Royal Central takes pride in not only its ability to focus on students more effectively thanks to smaller class sizes, but its proven record of tapping into the talents of trained professionals to bring out the best in each budding actor.

‘Being a drama conservatoire based in London, students benefit from intensive teaching hours compared to traditional university courses,’ he said. ‘Staff at Central are not just here to train you, but are at the cutting edge of their field, many of whom are practitioners themselves.

‘Central is one big community of people who are all passionate about creative and performing arts; this is evident from the moment you walk through the door with staff who are not only immersed in their subject but active practitioners passing on existing knowledge and creating new knowledge through their research.’  

BA Acting (Musical Theatre) students perform West Side Story.​

Bellamy said no matter where its students hail from, the school undertakes extensive work with each one to support them in readying themselves for industry.

‘On our BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education degree programme, students undertake a placement and can also bid for exclusive funding for projects in the UK and beyond,’ he said. ‘This helps both their employability and ability to hone their chosen career path.’

‘Our BA Theatre Practice students also have the option to undertake a placement which undoubtedly helps with networking and job prospects. We also have a large number of industry professionals and alumni who regularly come in to deliver guest lectures and workshops with our students, providing inspiration and further industry links.’

And it fares well on the academic side too, with growing recognition for the school’s strong research capabilities.

‘Central is at the forefront of research in the area of the performing and creative arts, with a large amount of research during the last Research Excellence Framework (REF) being labelled as world-leading,’ he said.

Bellamy revealed there is a consistent number of Australian students accepted by the School each year, and there is plenty of support to help the transition to the UK.

‘Our Australian students provide a rich cultural input into our programmes and can be found across a number of different programmes at Central,’ he said.

‘We offer an international pre-course for international students to help them adjust to living in a new country and studying at Central, which is provided by our Learning Centre.’ 

International students can also apply for scholarships which are available to view on the school’s website.

While Central is best known for the school’s courses in acting, the Sydney auditions and interviews will cover a wide range of degree programmes. At undergraduate level there is a range of programmes in the area of Theatre Practice, with 12 three-year degree courses that include costume construction, theatre lighting design, puppetry: design and performance, design for the stage, theatre sound, prop making, stage management and more.

At postgraduate level, there is a choice of one-year MAs and two-year MFAs in Advanced Theatre Practice, Movement: Directing and Teaching, Voice Studies, Theatre Criticism and Dramaturgy, Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media and Music Theatre amongst others.

Bellamy says considering a different type of degree, specifically an MFA with Royal Central, could help students over the next few years.

‘MFA degrees were first popular in the US but have become increasingly popular in parts of Europe over the last few years,’ he said. ‘In a competitive jobs market, this can be extremely beneficial in helping you stand out from the crowd.’

Auditions and interviews will be held in Sydney on 9 April. Visit the Royal Central website for more information and to apply. 

About the author

Cathy Anderson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist and the co-founder of digital content startup, Ginger Brown.