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Best Drama Schools in London

Acting: is it all about the talent? To a certain extent, yes. There are certainly many famous actors who never went to drama school. But if you’re hoping to get noticed as a person who is serious about a career in acting, your training, and the quality of the institutions where you were trained, will speak volumes. 

London, as you’d expect, has more than its fair share of highly regarded drama schools. So, which London drama schools are most worth trying to get into? There are more drama schools in London than you can shake a stick at – and while any training is better than no training – some schools are known for their pickiness and the large number of their alumni who go on to become famous actors. 

In this article, we’re showcasing nothing but the best. Do you have what it takes to study your art in one of the best drama schools in London? Here’s your wishlist!

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)

With over a century of experience in training actors, RADA is known for its many famous graduates. It’s an academy that casting directors watch when hoping to identify up-and-coming talent, and just getting accepted as a student is a considerable accomplishment. 

To put this into perspective, RADA only accepts 28 students for its BA (Hons) three-year program. This handful of successful applicants comes from a pool of thousands, and you won’t just be up against UK applicants. An audition process spanning months is the primary method used to select candidates. Will you be one of the talented few? The only way to find out is to try!

Famous actors who studied through RADA include Peter O’Toole, Joan Collins, and Vivien Leigh.

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD)

With a history even longer than that of RADA, GSMD qualifications are among the most highly regarded in the acting industry.  Just passing the extremely rigorous selection process is enough to earn you the reputation of being among the most talented students of drama in the world. 

Only one percent of thousands of applicants from all over the world make the cut, so simply getting in marks you as an outstandingly promising actor who is expected to have an extremely successful acting career.  

Damian Lewis studied here, and so did Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, and Lily James. 

The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA)

LAMDA is one of the oldest, and most well-recognized drama academies in the world and the oldest in the UK. Its graduates have won 10 BAFTAs, 16 Golden Globes, and 4 Academy Awards and, like all the best drama schools in London, it isn’t easy to get in. However, if you do get one of the coveted places here, you can be sure that your resume is going to get attention once you graduate.

There’s a long list of famous names that began their careers here, and you could join the likes of Brian Cox, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Rose Leslie in this regard.  

Look for Members of the Federation of Drama Schools – Including These Top Drama Schools

You may have noticed that all three of the top London drama schools we’ve looked at so far are members of the Federation of Drama Schools (FDS). Only 18 drama schools around the UK win the status that goes with membership. London hosts the lion’s share of these schools, and getting into any one of them will be a feather in your cap.  As with our previous examples, you can expect an impressive list of alumni, and a very competitive selection process.

ArtsEd: Widely recognized as a top drama school, it processes around 200 applications a year, selecting 60 to 80 of them based on auditions. Most students join in years 7 to 12 in preparation for ArtsEd’s degree course.

Drama Studio London: Consistently found on every list of the best drama schools in the UK, as are all members of the FDS, this school should be on your wishlist too. 

East 15: For a wide range of courses that allows you to focus on your preferred specialities, this member of the FDS is among the best the country has to offer. Ranked Number 1 in the UK in 2022 for Drama by The Guardian University Guide.

Italia Conti: With over a century of history in training successful performing artists, Italia Conti is supported in its work by the University of East London. 

Mountview Academy: As you’d expect from FDS members, the Mountview Academy offers drama qualifications that will add some serious cachet to your CV

Rose Bruford: With a beautiful campus and a great reputation for nurturing aspiring actors, Rose Bruford is among the top hotbeds of up-and-coming talent in the UK.

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama: Thousands of candidates compete for places here, and this drama school will expect an excellent academic background and successful auditions from the few applicants it selects. 

How to Boost Your Chances of Success

Successful auditions are key to getting into the top London drama schools. Selection really is based on merit in acting, but as we all know, auditions can be nerve-wracking! Being well-prepared is the first, and most important, step in making the most of your chances, and the more auditions you’ve already attended, the more likely you are to be able to calm your nerves. 

If you have some training to back you up, you may stand a better chance of success. So before going for the “big one,” consider attending some short courses and getting some acting experience.  Your admissions auditions could well be the most important ones you will ever attend. After all, once you have a qualification from one of these institutions, it’s going to make a big impression that could make all the difference to you getting cast in the roles to which you aspire. 

The greater your exposure to the world of acting, actors, directors, and theatre, the better your chances of success. Use every opportunity to develop your skills and develop your talent before taking the plunge. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect, and day-to-day life may give you many opportunities for portraying roles and influencing audiences. That’s why RSVP employs actors and aspiring actors. We offer more than just a flexible opportunity to earn money while you’re “between jobs” or preparing for the “big one.” Representing brands means portraying a role, and dealing with people gives you an opportunity to engage an audience. It’s an experience that will be valuable to you throughout your career. 

Meanwhile, unlike other employers outside the world of theatre and film, we value you because you’re an actor. Instead of seeing your career ambitions as a distraction or odd foible, we support you every step of the way. Are you ready to join our talented world? Visit the  RSVP Careers page to get the ball rolling. 


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