The time has come to make up an even bigger list of best drama schools in UK for those looking to develop their talent. This massive list of top 15 best drama schools in UK will also feature schools from the first edition of top 10 best acting schools in the UK and best drama schools in New York.
Further reading on acting:
- Acting for Beginners Guide
- Best Books for Actors on Creativity
- 25 Most Important Plays Every Actor Must Read
- How to Become an Actor with No Experience
If you already been to our top 10 list of the UK’s best acting schools, then consider this best drama schools in UK list to be a second edition of the original. The reason why we thought it’s time to push out another one is because of two factors: I’m currently waiting for a callback so I can’t really make myself do anything else in the mean time, and I also felt like I didn’t include some of drama schools worth mentioning in the first list just because there wasn’t enough space.
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Download: 15 Best Drama Schools in the UK (PDF)
Before we get started with the fancy list of best drama schools in UK, I want to get out of the way a quick disclaimer here: let me apologize for dropping definite article in front of “UK”. This is due to my webmaster’s suggestion to increase SEO of this page. What it means is basically more good people (read: aspiring actors craving for information) will be able to easily find these lists that they are looking for. Now, I hope we’re clear on this and there are no hard feelings, so let’s move on.
For those of you who haven’t read the Top 10 list, I strongly recommend doing that first, as I’m also skipping the proper introduction and conclusion of the industry on this best drama schools in UK top 15 list, because I don’t want to repeat myself. Hopefully, it won’t be too difficult for you, and in fact, to make it even easier, here’s the link: best acting schools in the UK.
And now, just as usual — in no particular order…
Best Drama Schools in UK: Top 15
Sylvia Young Theatre School | London
Sylvia Young is one of the very few drama schools that is offering part-time classes. While I wouldn’t recommend them, because that is not the reason why one should train in a drama school, there might be exceptional cases where no other option is available. The school was established in 1972 with full-time acting training course launching in 1981, and have trained some amazing talent since that time. Sylvia Young is up there with the rest of the top schools when it comes to offering a variety of acting training, both for stage and screen, as well as other performing arts.
Graduates: Nick Berry Adam Woodyatt, Perry Fenwick
Guildford School of Acting | Guildford
Second on the list of best drama schools in UK is GSA, which first opened its doors in 1935 under the name of Grant-Bellairs School of Dance and Drama. It has moved around a little since then until finally settling down in Guildford, Surrey and is now part of School of Arts at the University of Surrey. Being another one of the few drama schools that offers part-time courses, GSA has progressively built a reputation of providing quality training to its actors and performers. If you’re anywhere around the area, or you’re in the position where part-time acting course is your only choice, you will never go wrong with an acting school like GSA.
Graduates: Bill Nighy, Sasha Roiz, Peter Alexander
Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre | Manchester
MMU is a well know acting school that is a popular choice for actors in the North West of England. Having trained some of the established names in the United Kingdom’s industry, MMU is holding onto a strong title of one of the best drama schools in UK. The school is closely working with BBC North and Granada, and now, as a lot of production has moved to Manchester, connections from MMU will guarantee a spot on a map for most alumni actors. Their training is strongly based on physical theatre practitioners like Grotowski, and works of Brecht and Stanislavski’s teachings.
Graduates: Amanda Burton, Steve Coogan, Richard Griffiths
Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance | London
Rose Bruford, a trained actress and speech teacher, has established this school in 1950 under the name of Rose Bruford Training College of Speech and Drama. They are considered to be a strong drama school with quality reputation that’s currently offering University-level degrees for performers that are approved by University of Manchester. Rose Bruford is a large and one of the most comprehensive providers of a solid theatre-focused training in Western Europe.
Graduates: Cheryl Fergison, Greg Hicks, Roy Williams
East 15 Acting School | Loughton
E15 drama school was founded in 1961 by Margaret Walker. As most of this schools approach was based on the works of Mr. Stanislavski, his spirit is still always around; so just keep this in mind in case you are not a fan of the system (“method” for our US visitors). It’s in the fifth place of our best drama schools in UK list, because since opening the doors for the first time, E15 has been provided some very good training both for stage and screen acting. They also provide the additional training like combat, fencing, etc. that is extremely useful for any actor getting ready to go out there.
Graduates: Alan Ford, Billy Murray, David Yates
The rest of the list is composed of drama schools previously mentioned in best acting schools in the UK and best drama schools in London. These schools below are slightly on a higher level, which means if you are considering them, also take into account that they will be more difficult to be accepted to.
Mountview Academy of Theater Arts | London
Mountview, as it is often referred to, is currently one of the leading drama schools in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1945 and who’s current president is our beloved ‘M’, Dame Judi Dench. The school places a strong emphasis on professional stage training, but of course introduction to related industries is also there. There are claims that Mountview also supports their alumnus months and even years after they have graduated. So if that is something you are looking into (connections for years to come, why not?), then you should definitely consider applying to Mountview. Make sure you have what it takes though.
Graduates: Brendan Coyle, Denise Welch, Eddie Marsan
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland | Glasgow
Another one on the list of best drama schools in UK is a drama school for actors in Scotland. RCS (formally RSAMD for Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) is a strong drama school founded as long ago as 1847. Prince Charles is currently a patron of the Academy, helping to maintain a school’s place as a vibrant conservatoire. Apart from great undergraduate and post-graduate courses, RCS also has Junior Academy of Drama for under 18 year old youngsters looking to get a head start in their acting career. It is definitely one of the places you will not regret being trained.
Graduates: Robert Carlyle, John Hannah, Billy Boyd, Angela Lonsdale
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts | London
LAMDA is one of the oldest drama schools in the world. After being founded in 1861, it has produced some absolutely great talent. Graduates of this drama school has already taken 19 BAFTAs, 4 Academy Awards, 16 Golden Globes, 36 Olivier Awards and 12 Tonys. Apart from this school looking strong, someone who can manage to get LAMDA onto their resume will score some major points in the great training and showbiz connections department.
Graduates: Donald Sutherland, John Lithgow, Jim Broadbent, Swoosie Kurtz, Brian Cox
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art | London
RADA was founded in 1904 and in addition to being considered one of the top acting schools, it’s the top school hardest to get into. It is named this way for a reason, as it radiates royal reputation. There are classes that involve just one teacher and up to three students. It is said that The Beatles were famous because their RADA-trained manager taught them how to be dramatic. If you’re able to get in, after graduation you’ll be definitely on agents’ and casting directors’ radar.
Graduates: Peter O’Toole, Mike Leigh, Joan Collins, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Vivien Leigh
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama | Cardiff
One more of the top ones on the list of best drama schools in UK is RWCMD. Established in 1949 in Cardiff Castle, RWCMD — the National Conservatoire of Wales — is on the top level with all other great drama schools of the United Kingdom, and even the world. From what I have read about this school, they really take care of their students during and after the studies to get them onto their feet in the industry. The school has strong connections to local TV broadcast stations, constantly invites casting directors and stages over 300 public performances per year. If you are anywhere near Cardiff or Wales, consider applying to this drama school — satisfaction is guaranteed.
Graduates: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rob Brydon, Ruth Jones
Oxford School of Drama | Woodstock
Oxford’s drama school is one of the youngest best drama schools in UK. While it has been around for only about 26 years, it has already produced a respectable amount of talented and famous performers. It’s a relatively small school with just 18 students on a course, so the competition for a place at this school between elite wanna be actors is a fierce one. This drama school is absolutely independent and is not attached to any of the Universities of the United Kingdom.
Graduates: Lee Boardman, Christina Cole, Catherine McCormack
Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts | London
Italia Conti was founded in 1911 and is named after its founder Italia Conti, who was an established female actor at the time. This drama school has always provided a modern approach to actor’s training based on the core of traditional skills, which means a strong emphasis on screen acting. Many professionals at this school are working in the industry and that means great connections after you graduate.
Graduates: Noel Coward, Russell Brand, Leslie Phillips
Central School of Speech and Drama | London
One school making its transfer from London’s list onto best drama schools in UK list. CSSD is a very highly regarded theater and drama school that was founded in 1906. T0 say that you were able to fill a place in Central, as it’s also known, is a statement to be proud of. Throughout the years this drama school has produced some extremely talented actors that were successful both on stage and in film/TV. This is one of the most unique centers for aspiring actors in London that always there to offer a new form of training in theater and film acting.
Graduates: Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Judi Dench, Peggy Ashcroft, Harold Pinter, Vanessa Redgrave
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School | Bristol
Old Vic Theater School was opened in 1946 by Sir Laurence Olivier. It is now an affiliate of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama and an associate school of the Faculty of Creative Arts of the University of the West of England. The school provides a world class actors training and has trained some of today’s most famous and talented actors, including the only actor to ever receive 3 Academy Awards in the leading category, Daniel Day-Lewis. Don’t doubt that Old Vic deserves a place on a top 15 list of best drama schools in UK, and if you have a chance, try and get a training in this amazing institution.
Graduates: Gene Wilder, Patrick Stewart, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons
Guildhall School of Music & Drama | London
Once again, the last one on our best drama schools in UK list is GSMD from London. This drama school is one of the most prestigious in the country, rubbing shoulders not only with great musicians like Jacqueline du Pre and James Galway, but also actors that made a name for themselves both in UK and US markets. Dominic West says of GSMD: “Guildhall gives a broad training — it’s not prescriptive. We’re able to be versatile.” Michelle Dockery said: “Getting in was like winning the lottery.”
Graduates: Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans, Orlando Bloom, Eileen Atkins
Best Drama Schools in UK — What do we have here
And we’re done with the best drama schools in UK now. As you can see once again, list’s best drama schools in UK market is dominated by drama schools from London, be it higher or slightly lower level actor training institutions. Don’t be disappointed though if you’re not living anywhere near London, as there are many more options outside of this list.
For the whole sum-up of best drama schools in UK, you can try and check out my previous Top 10 list of best acting schools in the UK, as I don’t want to repeat myself again in this article. I would just like to mention that it was tough to pick the best one for this particular best drama schools in UK list, because there are some others that also deserve a place on here. If you disagree with my picks, please don’t hate — express your ideas in the comments. I’m sure it would be interesting for everybody to discuss why you think your pick is better fitted top be on the list of top 15 than the one that’s already here.
Anyway, enough with jibber-jabber. As usual, I honestly hope that you found this list of best drama schools in UK helpful, and if you spotted any mistakes, feel free to let me know.