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Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Location: Bristol, west of England Show on Map

Site: Main site in Clifton plus other venues

Specialist drama school. A member of the Conservatoire for Dance & Drama.

Student Population

Total Students:160
FE Students:0%


Total undergraduates:145
Full Time:100%
Mature on Entry:32%
UK Students:95%
State school entry:83%

Teaching Staff

24 full-time, 40+ visiting lecturers.

Broad study areas

Acting, stage management, theatre arts & technique, broadcast skills, theatre design & costume, scenic art, production management, theatre management, television & radio drama, directing.


Admission Information:All applicants auditioned or interviewed (international applicants may be auditioned in USA, Canada or Australia). Academic qualifications are only part of entry criteria. Mature applicants welcomed.
Drop Out Rate:4%
Accommodation:No School accommodation


Structural features:Member of the Conservatoire for Dance & Drama; associate school of Bristol UWE. Close ties and working arrangements with Bristol Old Vic Company, BBC, and other professional theatre and broadcast organisations.
Site:Main Clifton site, former BBC Christchurch Studios, South Bristol Scenic Workshops, and other performance venues around the city.
How to get there:City is well served by rail (mainline west to Bristol Parkway) and coach; close to M4 (for London, Heathrow and south Wales) and M5 (Birmingham and the north and west country). School adjacent to Dart bus stop.

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Access to local health centre.
Sporting facilities:Local facilities only.
Accommodation:No School accommodation. Private accommodation in nearby areas, approx £75–£100 per week; Accommodation Officer helps find digs 3 weeks before start of academic year.

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:Link to Bristol UWE library, a stock of play sets, individual texts and music. Also local libraries and certain students use Bristol University theatre collection. All courses work with School’s IT service, open 10 hours/day. Ratio 1:10 workstations to students, all with internet access.
Other learning resources:Facilities for actors, stage management, lighting, sound, television & radio, prop making, carpentry, stage design, costume, scenic art, art management and production management.
Careers:Extensive information, career preparation and advice given.


Living expenses budget:Minimum budget of £6000 pa (excluding tuition fees) recommended by school.
Term-time work:Many students find evening work locally, but pressure of coursework may prohibit this in the final year.
Financial help:Fee reductions of £1000 pa for all UK/EU students whose family income is up to £42.6k pa; scholarships of up to £4000 pa fee reduction may be awarded, based on audition. Also care-leaver’s bursary of £750 pa. No school personal loans; advice about grant-making trusts available.
University tuition fees:Home students pay £9000 pa for first degrees. International students pay at least £16,000 pa.


Academic features:

Vocational conservatoire-level training for theatre and related media by working professionals; visiting specialists in all fields of the profession. All applicants are auditioned or interviewed (international applicants may be auditioned in USA, Canada or Australia). Acting and stage management courses accredited by NCDT. Professional and postgraduate courses also available.

Awarding body:

Bristol UWE (University of the West of England).

Main undergraduate awards:


Length of courses:

3 years; FdA 2 years.

Main subjects offered:

  • Acting
  • Arts Management
  • Audio
  • Costume Design
  • Directing
  • Drama
  • Media Technology
  • Movement Studies
  • Music Technology
  • Music Theatre
  • Performance Arts
  • Stage Management
  • Theatre Design
  • Theatre Studies
  • TV Studies
  • Video

Student view

Stephanie Potschke (FdA Acting), Student Rep


What's it like as a place to live? Bristol is a great place to live and Clifton as an area is gorgeous. Plenty of things to do and people are very friendly. Good student community.

How's the student accommodation? A real mixture of studenty properties (that tend to be cheaper) and lovely rental properties. Lots of estate agents, and many of them are used to dealing with students.

What's the student population like? Lots of students and very friendly. Very diverse backgrounds, from local students, to students across the UK, and international students too.

How do students and locals get on? As there are so many students in Bristol, generally everyone gets on well. No no-go areas as far as I am aware.


What's it like as a place to study? BOVTS is an incredible place to study. Hours are long and there is a very high level of commitment expected. It is not a traditional university as such, so there are no 'free study periods' or reading weeks. It comprises three intensive 11 week terms. Facilities are good.

What are the teaching staff like? Leaders in their field. A great and dedicated teaching staff with a wealth of knowledge. They care a great deal about the students at the school. It is like a big family.


What are student societies like? We have a good social scene at BOVTS but it is relatively informal. We do not have a union building, but hold lots of events and are very inclusive. We are 'attached' to Bristol UWE though, so more formal channels of student societies are available .

What's a typical night out? Going out to a pub. Perhaps on to a club. House parties.

And how much does it cost? Totally depends. You can go out on a budget. Drinks are cheaper than London, but not by much.

How can you get home safely? Things are often within walking distance. You can take buses though, and taxis are regularly available.


Is it an expensive place to live? Everyone is usually pretty skint by the end of the term, but I think that's standard for student life! You can live here on a budget if you need to, and it's cheaper than London, but Bristol as a city isn't the cheapest.

Average price of a pint? I don't often drink pints so I'm not sure! About £3 ....?

And the price of a takeaway? Depends. £15?

What's the part-time work situation? Lots of jobs available although at BOVTS you don't get much free time. Some people have bar work at pubs close to school, and I believe they pay around minimum wage or slightly higher.


What's the best feature about the place? The people. A great, friendly place. And very beautiful.

And the worst? Can't say – I really love it here.

And to sum it all up? A great city, with lots to do and see; rural enough to feel part of a good community, but city enough to get what you need in close proximity.

Past Students

Brian Blessed, Samantha Bond, Simon Cadell, Annette Crosbie, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons, Jane Lapotaire, Tim Pigott-Smith, Miranda Richardson, Patricia Routledge, Gene Wilder, Aled Jones, Helen Baxendale, Sean Pertwee, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Coyle, Oded Fehr, Olivia Williams.

More info?




Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
2 Downside Road


0117 973 3535





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