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The East 15 Acting School (Hatfields / Loughton campus)
East 15 is a Britishmarker drama school in Debdenmarker, Loughtonmarker, Essex. It occupies an 18th century mansion, Hatfields, and has its own theatre, the Corbett, which is adjacent. The Corbett Theatre is an adaptation of a 15th-century barn. The school is accredited by the National Council for Drama Training and its degrees are awarded by the University of Essexmarker, with which it merged on 1 September 2000. The area of Debden and Loughton is linked to central Londonmarker via the London Underground.


East 15 Acting School was founded in 1961 by Margaret Walker. It grew from the work of Joan Littlewood's famed Theatre Workshop, and the school's name acknowledges its debt - Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop was based at the Theatre Royalmarker, Stratford, Londonmarker, whose postal district is E15.

Much of the Littlewood approach was based upon the theories of Konstantin Stanislavski, and the company inherited the socially committed spirit of the Unity Theatre movement, which brought many new voices into British theatre for the first time. Theatre Workshop broke new ground, re-interpreting the classics for a modern age, commissioning new plays from socially committed writers, and creating an ensemble capable of inventing new work, such as the now legendary "Oh, What a Lovely War!". Littlewood created an ensemble, who combined inspired, improvisational brilliance with method, technique, research, text analysis, and the expression of real emotions. Over the years, new training methods were evolved to strip actors of affectations, attitudes and ego trips. The quest was always to search for truth: of oneself, the character, the text.

Present day


East 15 Acting School occupies two campuses; Loughtonmarker and Southend on Seamarker. Courses taught at Loughton include Acting, Contemporary Theatre, Community Theatre, Specialist Performance Skills and Technical Theatre.

Courses taught at Southend include Physical Theatre, Performance & Popular Culture, World Performance, Community Theatre, Directing and Acting.


East 15 continues to commission new work. The school offers both BA and MA degrees. The three year BA (Hons) Acting degree is accredited by the National Council for Drama Training. This means that the actors who graduate from this course are allowed automatic entry into Actors' Equity, the professional actors' union. With the first year providing more of an introduction to everything that gets built on later, work looks at acting, use of voice for drama and singing, and also various aspects of movement. The Living History at the end of this year allows students to live the lives of others from a specific moment in history. The second year looks deeper into the foundations constructed in Year 1, and also deals with challenging texts (including Shakespeare and Brecht). The third year not only increases students' repertoire in acting for TV, film and radio, but also holds a series of performances of a wide range of plays. A showcase for invited agents and casting directors in a major West End theatre is held at the end of the year.

The school also runs a Contemporary Theatre course. This aims to offer training which will prepare actors for the challenges of new ways of working in the performance arts. The training relates in methodology to the work of contemporary companies such as Complicite, Improbable Theatre and Kneehigh.

Other undergraduate courses include; Physical Theatre, Performance Studies & Popular Culture, World Theatre Community Theatre, Specialist Performance Skills (Stage Combat) and Technical Theatre. Postgraduate courses include Directing and Acting.

Graduate work

East 15 has produced many actors, directors, teachers and designers. In Britain, theatre companies such as The Royal Court Theatremarker, Bush Theatremarker, Theatre Royal Stratford Eastmarker and Manchestermarker Library Theatremarker have been headed by East 15 graduates. Companies including Orchard Theatre, Bruvvers, Scarlet blade theatre, Lumiere and Son, Hull Truck Theatremarker, Spare Tyre, Footsbarn, Women’s Theatre Company and The Half Moon Theatre, in Stepneymarker have been created by East 15 graduates.

From 1998-2006, the school was led by John Baraldi, former Chief Executive of Riverside Studiosmarker, London, until he was appointed Dean of Arts Educational Schools London in 2006. East 15 Acting School is now run by Professor Leon Rubin.

Accommodation for students

Like many drama schools, East 15 Acting School does not have halls of residence for its students. Despite now being part of the University of Essexmarker, the university campus is not near the East 15 site. Instead, there are various options open to East 15 students.

The first of these is rentable houses or rooms. Students must contact local landlords and property owners, who may have rooms or whole houses to rent for a year. In some cases, groups of students may need to be formed before a landlord commits to an offer.

There is also the opportunity to board with host families. These are generally the cheaper option, in which a student can take up residence alongside the houseowner(s).


Notable graduates from East 15 include:

See also


  1. "Conference of Drama Schools - East 15 Acting School" Retrieved 26 May 2008
  2. "East 15 Acting School: University of Essex" Retrieved 26 May 2008
  3. "East 15 Acting School: Campus Resources" Retrieved 26 May 2008
  4. "East 15 Acting School: Campus Resources" Retrieved 26 May 2008
  5. "East 15 Acting School: BA (Hons) Acting Course (3 year)" Retrieved 26 May 2008

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