East 15 Acting School

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East 15 Acting School
East 15 Acting School.jpg
Hatfields House, Loughton Campus
Type Public
Established 1961
2000 – merged with University of Essex
Director Prof. Leon Rubin
Location Loughton, Essex, UK
Website www.east15.ac.uk
East 15 Acting School logo in Black and White.png

East 15 Acting School (East 15) is a British drama school[1] in Loughton, Essex.

The main Loughton campus occupies an 18th-century house, Hatfields, and has its own theatre, the Corbett, which is adjacent. The Corbett Theatre is an adaptation of a 15th-century barn. The re-building and equipping of the theatre was largely funded by the actor, and alumnus of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, Harry H. Corbett. Part of the school is located at Southend on Sea, and is centred on the Clifftown Theatre and Studios.[citation needed]

The school is accredited by Drama UK and its degrees are awarded by the University of Essex, with which it merged on 1 September 2000.[2] As of 2018, Essex University, where East 15 is located, has as been ranked No. 3 UK university for studying drama and dance in the Guardian's University Guide.[3]


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 Royal, Stratford, London, whose postal district is E15.

Much of the Littlewood approach was based upon the theories of Konstantin Stanislavski, and the company shared 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.

From 1998–2006, the school was led by John Baraldi, former Chief executive of Riverside Studios, London, who oversaw the development of many new courses and the rapid expansion of the school. Since 2007, East 15 Acting School has been run by Professor Leon Rubin (former Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, Watford Palace Theatre and Lyric Theatre, Belfast), who has further overseen the further expansion of the school. This has included the acquisition of a Victorian Gothic church in Southend-on Sea, now re-designed at a cost of some £6million[citation needed] as a performance and learning space, and renamed the Clifftown Theatre and Studios.

Present day[edit]


East 15 Acting School occupies two campuses; Loughton and Southend.


Many of the school's undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are 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.[4]

The school also runs a BA Acting and 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.[citation needed]

Showcases for invited agents and casting directors in major West End theatres are held at the end of the graduate year for each of the courses.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable graduates from East 15 include:


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°38′58″N 0°04′36″E / 51.6495°N 0.0768°E / 51.6495; 0.0768