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Location: London and Lancashire Show on Map

Site: ALRA South on Wandsworth Common (in south-west London), ALRA North in central Wigan.

Drama school providing professional actor training and stage management training.

Student Population

Total Students:140
FE Students:18%


Total undergraduates:95
Full Time:100%
UK Students:90%

Teaching Staff

6 full-time; 30 part-time.

Broad study areas

Acting, stage management, TV & radio, technical theatre.


Admission Information:Principally based on the audition. 2 A-levels at grade D, BTEC National Diploma or GNVQ Advanced in performing arts required, although other applicants with exceptional practical ability considered.
Drop Out Rate:7%
Accommodation:No accommodation provided.


Structural features:Two centres: ALRA South in London; new ALRA North in Wigan.
Site:ALRA South is in a grade II listed Victorian Gothic building on the edge of Wandsworth Common (shared with artists and artisans, small businesses and private residents). ALRA North, a new centre 5 minutes from the centre of Wigan.
How to get there:ALRA South by rail (Clapham Junction or Wandsworth Common); buses from Central London. ALRA North by rail to Wigan North Western and Wigan Wallgate (45–50 minutes from Manchester or Liverpool); buses from Southport, Ormskirk, Warrington and St Helens.
Special features:Directors, tutors and worskhop leaders are all practising professionals currently working in the industry. Focus is on each student’s professional development (practice auditions, showcases, co-productions with professional theatre companies and touring experience). ALRA is a member of the CDS.

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Information pack given to new students covering local housing, public libraries, doctors and health centres, banks etc. Welfare support system. Registrar and course director supervise welfare and progress. Student counsellor visits weekly. Frequent tutorials. Each year group represented at Student Council.
Amenities:Student kitchen, common room, drinks machines, showers. ALRA South is next to Wandsworth Common; a wine bar/restaurant in the same building. ALRA North has a café on site and is 5 minutes from Wigan's main street with shops, bars and clubs.
Accommodation:No accommodation provided. Students given active help in finding self-catering accommodation locally; average prices £100 per week in London, £60 pw in Wigan.

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:Library with 6000 resources, including DVDs, books, recordings etc. Computers and extensive wifi coverage; IT and regular learning support sessions. Induction days for new students include introduction to library and information services.
Other learning resources:Fully-equipped theatre; TV and radio studios; digital television and radio editing facilities; rehearsal studios; stage management workshop; wardrobe.
Careers:Practice auditions and ongoing careers advice. Public performances, showcase for agents, directors, producers and casting agents (70% acquire agents on graduation). Work placements for stage management students. Graduate support service.


Living expenses budget:Minimum budget of £8000 pa (excluding tuition fees) recommended by ALRA.
Term-time work:Plenty of work available locally, including part-time jobs on campus.
Financial help:Scholarships up to full fees available through Drama & Dance Awards Scheme (DADAs); smaller amounts from private sponsors, charitable trusts and bursaries. Possible to apply for career development loan for stage management course (up to £8000 pa).
University tuition fees:3-year acting course, £11,995 pa at ALRA South or £8650 pa at ALRA North (for students qualifying for a DaDA, this is reduced to £1625). International students on the stage management & technical theatre course pay £9375 pa.


Academic features:

3-year BA acting also qualifies for Trinity Diploma and is NCDT accredited. Modern approach and a concern for the individual student; courses cover television, radio, film and theatre and include screen acting, radio, voice, movement, improvisation, dance, singing, stage combat, acting for camera. Foundation degree in stage management & technical theatre course includes stage management, production management, event management, prop making, lighting, sound, technical drawing/design, model-making, special effects. Also runs a postgraduate acting (MA and Trinity Diploma) and part-time, 1-year foundation acting course.

Awarding body:

Greenwich University, Trinity College London.

Main undergraduate awards:

BA, FdA.

Length of courses:

3 years (BA); 2 years (FdA).

Main subjects offered:

  • Acting
  • Drama
  • Drama Training
  • Performance Arts
  • Stage Management
  • Theatre Studies
  • TV Studies
  • Video

Student view


 Sticking out of the south London gloom like a gothic sore thumb, the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, ALRA's home, sits comfortably on the cusp of Wandsworth Common. The Common is a wonderful neighbour for a drama school, lending itself as a teaching space in the summer or a refuge from the day-to-day grind where you can run, cycle or just collect your thoughts whilst ambling through its pleasant green space. Mercifully divorced from the hustle and bustle of Central London, it is very easy to immerse yourself in the work with very few distractions and yet with Clapham Junction station only a short walk away, you are no more than a ten minute train journey from the heart of the city. Accommodation in Wandsworth and Clapham tend to be expensive, so most opt for the less pricey Tooting or Streatham (also adds to the community vibe). ALRA offers a disciplined, strenuous and in-depth learning experience for all involved. Its facilities are ideal for both the acting and stage management courses with on site sound, television and radio studios; large halls and performance spaces and library, as well as its own theatre.  The hundred or so students are given the freedom to explore their craft in an intimate and professional environment.  They are led by dedicated and experienced staff, who know the workings of the profession and bring their knowledge and contacts, so students feel they are being thoroughly and realistically prepared for the professional industry. What all the courses share, and benefit from, is the close-knit feel of the place.  Since there aren’t too many students, everyone gets to know one another pretty quickly.


Housing: School helps with accommodation days. Rents in Tooting and Streatham £300 upwards a month. Eats: Well priced on-site café; more expensive 2–3 courses in bar/restaurant on site. Drink: Average £2.80 a pint (£3.50 in central London). Nightlife: Tends to be one size fits all south of the river: Clapham for Cocktails; Brixton for Bohemia. For variety, you'll have to venture to the centre (but as choice increases, so do prices). Plenty of night buses to get you home. Locals: Fine! Financial help: No student loans at present. DADAs fund most places; some maintenance grants. Seek out sponsorship or charities if strapped for cash. Jobs: Part-time work in term time is difficult (volume of work) but no shortage of local bars and restaurants crying out for evening and weekend staff. Best features: Close knit peer community in picturesque surroundings not far from city life. And worst: Drink prices.



Studio 24
Royal Victoria Patriotic Building
John Archer Way
SW18 3SX


020 8870 6475





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