East 15 Acting School
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Hatfields House, Loughton Campus
2000 – merged with University of Essex
|Director||Prof. Leon Rubin|
The school consists of two campuses. The 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. The second Campus is located at Southend on Sea, and is centred at the Clifftown Theatre and Studios.
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. As of 2018, Essex University, where East 15 is located, has been ranked No. 3 UK university for studying drama and dance in the Guardian's University Guide.
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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 as a performance and learning space, and renamed the Clifftown Theatre and Studios.
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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.
In addition to BA Acting, the school also offers specialist courses including BA World Performance, BA Acting and Community Theatre, BA Acting and Stage Combat, and BA Physical Theatre.
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.
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.
Notable graduates from East 15 include:
- Arsher Ali
- Peter Armitage
- Damon Albarn (did not graduate)
- Annette Badland
- Marcus Bentley
- Linnea Berthelsen
- Sian Breckin
- David L Boushey
- Marji Campi
- Ian Champion
- Nathan Clarke
- Susannah Corbett
- Stephen Daldry
- April De Angelis
- Janine Duvitski
- Alan Ford
- Paul Garnault
- Alex Giannini
- Elizabeth Henstridge
- Kipper Kids (Martin Rochus Sebastian von Haselberg and Brian Routh)
- Kevin Lloyd
- Saul Marron
- Ann Mitchell
- Diane Morgan
- Billy Murray
- Michael Parr
- Vicki Pepperdine
- Jenny Platt
- George Rossi
- Chris Ryan
- Ruth Sheen
- Marlene Sidaway
- Alison Steadman
- Gwen Taylor
- Kraig Thornber
- Oliver Tobias
- Rhydian Vaughan
- Steven Waddington
- Marc Warren
- Kate Williams
- David Yip
- "Conference of Drama Schools – East 15 Acting School" Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 26 May 2008
- "East 15 Acting School: University of Essex" Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 26 May 2008
- "University guide 2018: league table for drama & dance". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- "East 15 Acting School: BA (Hons) Acting Course (3 year)" Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 26 May 2008