The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.(February 2017)
A drama school, stage school or theatre school is an undergraduate and/or graduate school or department at a college or university; or a free-standing institution (such as the Drama section at the Juilliard School); which specializes in the pre-professional training in drama and theatre arts, such as acting, design and technical theatre, arts administration, and related subjects. If the drama school is part of a degree-granting institution, undergraduates typically take an Associate degree, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, or, occasionally, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Design. Graduate students may take a Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Fine Arts, Doctor of Arts, Doctor of Fine Arts, or Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Entry to drama school is usually through a competitive audition process. Some schools make this a two-stage process. Places on an acting course are limited (usually well below 100) so those who fare best at the audition are selected. Most academies state that applicants must be over 18 years of age. Auditions usually involve the performance of monologues and group workshops, and may also include a singing activity. This varies from academy to academy. If this is the case for an acting degree, the school looks more at how an applicant can put character into the song rather than how well they can sing. For a musical theatre degree, the emphasis is on showing one's talent as a singer. Most colleges offer callback auditions, often in several stages, in which students being considered for entry onto a course are brought back to audition again, demonstrating their talents further. It is also possible to get into a drama school by previous grades. Some auditioners may be under 18.
The courses offered by drama schools focus on practical courses, rather than theoretical classes. Their aim is to train students as professional actors for stage (theatre or musical theatre) and camera-based work (film and television shows). Students are required to be enthusiastic and motivated to meet the demands of the program. At the beginning of the final year (usually the third), most drama schools stage a series of performances throughout the academic year to which agents and casting directors are invited. This helps to build the future of the graduates and serves as a showcase of what the students can do.
In 1833, actress Frances Maria Kelly managed the Royal Strand Theatre where she funded and operated a dramatic school, the earliest record of a drama school in England.In the UK The Conference of Drama Schools comprises Britain's 22 leading Drama Schools. CDS exists to strengthen the voice of the member schools, to set and maintain the highest standards of training within the vocational drama sector, and to make it easier for prospective students to understand the range of courses on offer and the application process. Founded in 1969, the 22 member schools offer courses in Acting, Musical Theatre, Directing and Technical Theatre training. Graduates of CDS courses are currently working on stage, in front of the camera and behind the scenes in theatres and studios across Britain. In September 2016, Midlands Academy of Musical Theatre opened in Birmingham. Offering West End quality training in Musical Theatre to students aged 18+, and with the same or better opportunities as many London drama schools, they offer a regional option for prospective drama school students. In 2012 it was merged with the National Council for Drama Training to create a single national authority Drama UK responsible for both the provision of Drama Training and accreditation of official courses. In 2017 Drama UK was replaced by the Federation of Drama Schools.
In the UK, funding varies from drama school to drama school. Historically drama schools were not part of the mainstream academic system, and therefore were not funded on the same basis as universities. Some drama schools are now part of a university, such as Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which is part of the City University of London, and Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, which is part of the University of Manchester, and these tend to charge similar tuition fees to universities. Student loans, drama awards and scholarships may help to provide students with their funding. The most prominent funding scheme for performing arts education in the UK are the Dance and Drama Awards. This is a government scheme which subsidises the training offered at a selection of the leading performing arts schools in the fields of dance, drama, musical theatre and stage management.
A number of third-level institutions provide courses in Drama and Theatre Studies, including Trinity College, Dublin,NUI Maynooth, and Dublin City University. A decision by Trinity in January 2007 to drop its BA in Acting Studies to cut costs met with disappointment from the theatre sector. A Forum for Acting Training was convened with leading professionals from the industry who recommended in a report published 27 May 2008, that an Academy for Dramatic Arts, independent of a University, but with third level accreditation should be created. The report was submitted to the Irish Government. On 1 August 2008, The Irish Times reported that a RADA graduate, Danielle Ryan, granddaughter of the late Tony Ryan who founded Ryanair, had announced plans to develop an Irish Academy of Dramatic Arts part-funded from a Trust created by her late father, Captain Cathal Ryan.
This plan went ahead and the academy, known as The Lir Academy, opened in September 2011. The Lir is part of Trinity College and is situated in the Grand Canal Dock area. It is officially associated with RADA.
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a drama school in London, England, that provides vocational conservatoire training for theatre, television, film, and radio. It is based in the Bloomsbury area of Central London, close to the Senate House complex of the University of London and is a founding member of the Federation of Drama Schools. It is one of the oldest drama schools in the United Kingdom, founded in 1904 by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. It moved to buildings on Gower Street in 1905. It was granted a Royal Charter in 1920 and a new theatre was built on Malet Street, behind the Gower Street buildings that was opened by Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1921. It received its first government subsidy in 1924. RADA currently has five theatres and a cinema. The school’s Principal Industry Partner is Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The Juilliard School is a Private performing arts conservatory in New York City. Established in 1905, the school trains about 850 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely regarded as one of the world's leading drama, music, and dance schools.
The New York University Tisch School of the Arts is the performing, cinematic and media arts school of New York University, and is among the most competitive film schools in the world for admissions. Founded on August 17, 1965, Tisch is a training ground for artists, scholars of the arts, and filmmakers; the school merges the technical training of a professional school with the academic resources of a major research university to immerse students in their intended artistic disciplines. The school is divided into three Institutes: Performing Arts, Emerging Media, and Film & Television. Many undergraduate and graduate disciplines are available for students, including: acting, dance, drama, performance studies, design for stage and film, musical theatre writing, photography, record producing, game design and development, and film and television studies.
Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts is a Catholic arts high school located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Admission to the school is granted through an audition process. Serving students from grade 7 to 12, it is one of three schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board that is an elementary and secondary hybrid. The school has been consistently ranked as one of the top educational institutions in Ontario.
Savannah Arts Academy (SAA) is the first dedicated performing and visual arts school in Savannah, Georgia, United States. It is part of the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. Savannah Arts Academy was granted charter school status and the former Savannah High School building in July 1998, and opened in August of the same year with 397 students enrolled.
The Indonesia Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta is a state-owned college in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It teaches visual, performing, and media arts in traditional Indonesian and modern international styles.
The Russian Institute of Theatre Arts – GITIS is the largest and oldest independent theatrical arts school in Russia. Located in Moscow, the school was founded on 22 September 1878 as the Shostakovsky Music School. It became the School of Music and Drama of the Moscow Philharmonic Society in 1883, was elevated to the status of a conservatory in 1886, was renamed the Institute of Music and Drama in 1918, and was known as the Lunacharsky State Institute for Theatre Arts (GITIS) from 1934 to 1991.
Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance is a drama school in the south London suburb of Sidcup. The college has degree programmes in acting, actor musicianship, theatre arts and various disciplines of stagecraft.
The Boston University College of Fine Arts (CFA) at Boston University consists of the School of Music, the School of Theatre, and the School of Visual Arts. Each school offers degrees in the performing and visual arts at the undergraduate and graduate level. Among the College of Fine Arts faculty are artists, scholars, and performers. Since the College of Fine Arts is integrated into Boston University, students at CFA may choose courses in the other undergraduate colleges at Boston University. CFA students can also apply for the Boston University Collaborative Degree Program (BUCOP), where students simultaneously earn undergraduate degrees at CFA and in one of 14 undergraduate colleges of the university. The college offers a study abroad program in London, England, and Dresden, Germany. Students can spend a semester at the Royal College of Music, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, or at the Hochschule für Musik "Carl Maria von Weber".
Education in the performing arts is a key part of many primary and secondary education curricula and is also available as a specialisation at the tertiary level. The performing arts, which include, but are not limited to dance, music and theatre, are key elements of culture and engage participants at a number of levels.
The George Brown Theatre School is a drama school in Toronto, Canada. Providing training in multiple forms and practices of theatre, it is one of the highest-regarded conservatory schools for drama in the country. The school was founded in 1976 as an affiliate of George Brown College, which is also based in Toronto.
Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, formerly Mountview Theatre School, is a drama school in Peckham, south London, England, founded in 1945. The Academy provides specialist vocational training in acting and musical theatre, as well as production arts. The President of the school is Dame Judi Dench, and the Principal and Artistic Director Stephen Jameson.
Arts Educational Schools, or ArtsEd, is an independent performing arts school based in Chiswick in the London Borough of Hounslow.
Bird College – Conservatoire for Dance and Musical Theatre is an independent performing arts school and college, located in Sidcup, South East London, in the London Borough of Bexley.
The Oslo National Academy of the Arts is a university college in Oslo, Norway, that provides education in visual arts, design and performing arts. It is one of two public institutes of higher learning in Norway that teaches in visual arts and design, the other is the Bergen National Academy of the Arts in Bergen.
The Governor's School for the Arts is a regional secondary arts school sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education and the public school divisions of Chesapeake, Franklin, Isle of Wight County, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Southampton County, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. It is one of the nineteen Virginian academic-year Governor’s Schools and provides intensive educational opportunities for identified gifted students in instrumental music, vocal music, dance, musical theatre, theatre & film, and visual arts. Housed in the newly renovated, historic Monroe Building in downtown Norfolk, students attend afternoon classes at the magnet school during the academic year.
Drama UK was an advocate for vocational drama training in the UK, as well as providing accreditation for vocational drama courses, from 2012 to 2016.
The Urdang Academy, commonly known as Urdang, is an independent performing arts academy based in Islington, London. Founded as a ballet school by Leonie Urdang in 1970 and has been under the direction of CEO Solange Urdang since 2001, the academy now provides specialist vocational training in dance and musical theatre at Sixth Form, further and higher education level.
Kharkiv National University of Arts named after I. P. Kotlyarevsky is the leading music and drama institution of higher education in Ukraine. The university trains about 900 undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates in music and theatre art. It enjoys Level IV accreditation, which is the highest under Ukraine's national standards, and is licensed to train foreign students.
The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art is an Irish drama school that offers conservatory training for theatre, film and television from industry professionals. The Lir Academy is located in Dublin, Ireland, and is a part of Trinity College Dublin. The Lir is associated with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
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