Academy of Live and Recorded Arts

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The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, London Acting & Drama School
Established 1979
Directors Clive Duncan and Adrian Hall
Founders Sorrel Carson and Caryll Ziegler
Specialism Performing arts
Location ALRA Studio One
The Royal Victoria Patriotic Building
John Archer Way

SW18 3SX
Website Official website

The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) is a British drama school situated on Wandsworth Common, South West London and in Wigan, Greater Manchester making it the only Drama UK drama school to offer identical training at two separate institutions across the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1979 by director and actor Sorrel Carson who then directed the school as its Principal until 2001. The Directors of the school are Clive Duncan and Adrian Hall. ALRA was the first drama school to offer training which included all media; live theatre, film, TV and Radio. Now 30 years old, ALRA is still the only Drama UK drama school to offer all four media forms throughout the entire three years of training to its acting students.[1][2]

ALRA is a member of Drama UK, formerly the Conference of Drama Schools (CDS) and National Council for Drama Training (NCDT) and receives funding from the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA). It is one of only twenty-one schools approved to offer Government funded Dance and Drama Awards, a scheme established to subsidise the cost of professional dance and drama training for the most talented students, at leading institutions.


The first and original location, now dubbed ALRA South, is located within the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, a Victorian Gothic Grade 2 listed building on the edge of Wandsworth Common, South West London.[3]

The second location, named ALRA North, is located in Wigan, Greater Manchester in a newly refurbished complex. ALRA North accepted its first group of students in September 2010. The curriculum and teaching methods are the same as ALRA South’s and as such all courses at ALRA North are still accredited by Drama UK, formerly the NCDT and CDS. The degrees are awarded by the University of Greenwich and diplomas awarded by Trinity College London. The only difference between the two institutions is that the fees at ALRA North are substantially lower than that of ALRA South due to the lower running costs incurred by its location.

Students accepted onto any of ALRA’s courses have the choice of which institution to study at. Acting students studying at ALRA South will now stop at ALRA North during the touring sections of their third year productions and vice versa. Both schools receive a showcase in London at the Royal Court Theatre or Soho Theatre and Manchester at the Zion Arts Theatre to ensure maximum exposure to industry professionals. Final year films are screened online and at a private screening in a cinema.


ALRA South's facilities:

  • ALRA theatre
  • Television studio
  • Editing suite
  • Radio studio
  • Eight rehearsal studios
  • The Great Hall
  • Prop making workshop
  • Construction workshop
  • Library
  • Macbook Lease system for student use

ALRA North's facilities:

  • ALRA North theatre
  • TV studios
  • Radio studios
  • Rehearsal studios
  • Café
  • Library with IT facilities.


ALRA offers the following courses:

  • Three year Acting course - leading to BA (Hons) Acting/National Diploma in Professional Acting[4]
  • One year Acting course - leading to MA Professional Acting/National Certificate in Professional Acting[5]
  • Foundation Acting[6]
  • Stage Management and Technical Theatre Foundation Degree[7]
  • Various short courses throughout the year, see website.[citation needed]


Admission to the school is based on an audition and selection process. Applicants progress through three rounds of auditions, consisting of the performing of speeches to The Audition Panel, practical acting, improvisation and movement workshops watched by The Audition Panel and finally an interview with The Directors of The School, The Registrar and The Audition Panel. The audition is held over the course of a single day.

Normal entry requirements for the three year Acting course are two A levels, BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts with a high profile or GNVQ Advanced in Performing Arts. Applicants for the One Year Acting course must be 21 or over, and have a first degree (BA or BSc) or equivalent life experience.

Notable alumni[edit]

Resident staff[edit]

  • Clive Duncan (Co-Director)
  • Adrian Hall (Co-Director)
  • John Wild (Head of Voice)
  • Fiona Rae (Head of Movement)
  • Sarah Double (Programme Manager)
  • Janet A. Cantrill (Stage Management Course Leader)
  • Hannah Bulgin (Development & Marketing Officer)
  • Saul Reid (Registrar)
  • Daniel Rowson (Head of Technical)
  • David Hayward (Resources and Facilities Manager)
  • Ricky Mcfadden(Technical Assistant)
  • Susan Watson (Admin Assistant)
  • Alix Mumford (Learning Support)
  • April Sibal - (PA to Senior Management)
  • Katie Abbott (Counsellor)
  • Andrew Fillis (Head of Postgraduate Studies)
  • Anthony Critchley (Web Services Manager)
  • Amy Fisher (Administrative Assistant)
  • Josh Jackson (Security & Maintenance Manager)
  • John Eyre (Deputy Security & Maintenance Manager)
  • Erinna Delaney (Counsellor & Learning Support)
  • Lorraine Penman (Cafe Manager)

Board of Trustees[edit]

  • Harry Cowd (Chair of the board)
  • Jimmy Akingbola
  • Peter Elborn
  • Richard Gill
  • Vayu Naidu
  • Tony Bradshaw
  • Shoba Ponnappa
  • Carolyn Lloyd Davies

ALRA North - Patron[edit]

  • Barrie Rutter


External links[edit]

Media related to Academy of Live and Recorded Arts at Wikimedia Commons