The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama was founded by Elsie Fogerty in 1906 (as The Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art) to offer a new form of training in speech and drama for young actors and other students. We became a constituent of the University of London in 2005 and are members of both the Federation of Drama Schools and Conservatoires UK.
We offer a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate, research degrees and short courses in acting, actor training, applied theatre, theatre crafts and making, design, drama therapy, movement, musical theatre, performance, producing, puppetry, research, scenography, stage management, teacher training, technical arts, voice and writing.
We have a long history of notable alumni that have completed their training at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and gone on to be leaders in their field.
A pathway to the future
Central is a small specialist institution of the theatrical and performing arts within the University of London. With a long history of educating and training significant numbers of leading practitioners, Central aims to be a hybrid conservatoire where the creative industries and the academy come together to maximise the benefits that it can generate for the wider society.
This blended approach ensures the sustainability and outward-facing relevance of the three interlocking areas of the School: its teaching and training provision, its research and scholarship culture and its Impact and Knowledge Exchange Strategy. Through its distinguished teaching and research staff and long-term engagement with industry and community, Central continues to be an inspiring centre of excellence in theatre and the performing arts.
But we live in times of great change, and Central must now plan for a future that will embrace developments in theatre and the performing arts: the digital revolution that is all around us, the establishment of equity and inclusion as fundamental to our society and communities, the rising need to support and listen to students and staff through challenging times and safety, health and wellbeing for all. Within Central, we must seek to change through developing our structures and systems to deliver a theatre and performing arts culture that can truly embrace the future. Most importantly and given Central’s past inequities, it must face and reconcile the fact that its past efforts for equity and inclusion have not been successful enough, and it must learn from important contemporary social justice movements.
This strategy sets out a way forward for a defined period in the context of a continuing uncertain and challenging environment resulting from the pandemic, Brexit and other external factors, including concerns over government funding and student health and wellbeing. Over the next two years and through this strategy, Central will be able to respond quickly and in an agile manner to continuing change and provide an infrastructure that will enable this change and development to take place. Central will continue its work and journey towards equity and inclusion and will work with the creative industries to shape new approaches whilst supporting and sustaining its core commitment to its work in theatre and the performing arts.
To lead an innovative theatre and performing arts culture that enriches and changes our world.
To inspire, educate and train the performers, practitioners and change-makers of tomorrow to shape the future of theatre and the performing arts.
Values are what we stand for, what we believe and what we try to live and work by. They inform our approaches to what we do and how we work as an inclusive organisation.
Equity and inclusion are fundamental to what we stand for. Respecting is about listening to and understanding each other as equals, empowering students and staff and being:
- socially responsible
- ethical and fair in everything we do
We look for new knowledge, skills and understanding through practice, teaching, research and scholarship. We are inquisitive, enthusiastic, open-minded, disciplined and thorough, supporting:
- artistic and intellectual curiosity
- academic freedom
- a commitment to lifelong learning
- self-reflection and self-criticism
- restorative justice
We are an outward-facing community that seeks to enrich the society that we live in, embracing:
- transparency and honesty
- collaboration and partnership
- a commitment to community
- communication and external engagement
- extensive outreach
Whilst respecting the past, we look for the new. We are a hub in which growth and change can emerge to shape the future, creating:
- new ideas based on research and knowledge exchange
- interaction with and shaping industry
- a courageous environment and taking risks
- space for new and unexpected ideas
- a playful and joyous ethos
- a more sustainable world