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A drama school is a higher education college which specialises in the vocational teaching of drama (i.e. acting, musical theatre and technical theatre). Students at such a college are normally awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) at the end of their studies.

Entry and application process

Entry to drama school is usually through an audition. 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 recall 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.

Course content

The courses offered by drama schools are heavily based on practical work, after all, their aim is to train students as professional actors for stage and camera work. Students are required to be enthusiastic and motivated in order to meet the demands offered by the course.

At the end 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.


United Kingdom

In the UK The Conference of Drama Schools comprises Britain’s 22 leading Drama Schools. CDS exists in order 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 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 the Central School of Speech and Drama, which is part of the University of London, and these tend to charge similar tuition fees to universities. Some drama schools however, such as the Mountview Academy of Theatre Artsmarker, are private schools, and may charge up to four times as much as other academies. Student loans, drama awards and scholarships may help to provide students with their funding.


A number of third level institiutions provide courses in Drama and Theatre Studies, including Trinity College, Dublinmarker, NUI Maynooth, and Dublin City University, as well as a private school, The Gaiety School of Acting, A decision by Trinity in Jan 2007 to drop its BA in Acting Studies for cost reasons 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.

Drama / Acting Schools

British Schools

For more on Britishmarker drama schools see the Conference Of Drama Schools Website below;

Canadian Schools

American (U.S.) Schools

Australian Schools

South African Schools

Indonesian Schools

Indian Schools


  1. Prospectus from TCD Drama Dept, TCD
  2. Prospectus from NUIM English Dept Dramatherapy Course
  3. Trinity News report website
  4. Forum on Acting Training Report, May 2008, Forum Report
  5. Gerry Smyth, Irish Times, 1 August 2008 Acting academy to include theatre

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