Rose Bruford College

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Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance
TypeDrama school
ChairmanMonisha Shah
PresidentSir Richard Eyre
PrincipalClarie Middleton (from January 2018)
Students730 (2016/17)[1]
Undergraduates680 (2016/17)[1]
Postgraduates45 (2016/17)[1]
United Kingdom

Coordinates: 51°26′20″N 0°6′24″E / 51.43889°N 0.10667°E / 51.43889; 0.10667
AffiliationsFederation of Drama Schools

Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance (formerly the Rose Bruford Training College of Speech and Drama) is a drama school in the south London suburb of Sidcup. The college has degree programmes in acting, actor musicianship, theatre arts, and various disciplines of stagecraft.[2]

Rose Bruford College is accredited by Drama UK.[3][4] The college's undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications and programmes were validated by the University of Manchester,[5][6] prior to the college gaining its own taught degree awarding powers in 2017.

Students who graduated in summer 2017 received Manchester degrees, while students entering from September 2017 will be awarded Rose Bruford College degrees. Students already enrolled but not graduated by 2017 will be offered the option of receiving either Rose Bruford or Manchester degrees.[7]

In December 2017 Clarie Middleton was appointed as the Principal and Chief Executive, becoming the second female Principal of the college.

In 2018, Bruford graduate Gary Oldman won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the film Darkest Hour.


The Rose Bruford Training College of Speech and Drama was established in 1950 by teacher Rose Elizabeth Bruford, with the help of poet laureate John Masefield, Laurence Olivier, and Peggy Ashcroft, who formed part of the Board of Governors. Rose Bruford "pioneered the first acting degree in 1976."[5]

Initially, classes were held in Lamorbey House, an 18th-century, Grade II listed manor house in the Lamorbey district of Sidcup. Sidcup is a suburb in the southeast of Greater London.[8][9]

The campus has since been expanded; construction of several new buildings was completed in 2002.[8] For some time, there was also a campus situated in Deptford, near Greenwich in South East London, which was closed when the college incorporated all of its courses on the Sidcup campus.[citation needed] Among these are four venues for student productions: the 300-seat theatre in the round Rose Theatre; the more intimate Barn Theatre; and two "black box" studio spaces. Third-year undergraduate students present their shows in off-campus London venues, such as the Unicorn Theatre and the Leicester Square Theatre.[citation needed].

Rose Bruford College was the filming location of the television drama Nearly Famous (2007).[citation needed]

Rose Bruford[edit]

Bruford was born on 22 June 1904. She was educated at Kilburn High School, and later at Bath High School — where on one occasion a verse recital was given by Elsie Fogerty, the founder and Principal of the Central School of Speech and Drama. Bruford resolved to study drama at the Central School.

While still a student, she took part in the Oxford Recitations of Spoken Verse, begun in 1923 by John Masefield. Here she met several poets, including W. H. Auden, Gordon Bottomley, Richard Church, Walter de la Mare, T. S. Eliot, Christopher Hassall, and John Drinkwater. W. B. Yeats encouraged her to speak some of his poems to the accompaniment of a small harp, and she made this part of her recitals. She graduated in 1928 with top honours for her verse-speaking. John Masefield became her champion and guide for the rest of her life.

After graduating from the Central School, Bruford followed her parents' wishes never to work in the theatre. Instead, she became a visiting teacher of speech and drama. Between 1925-49 she taught regularly at 43 different schools. In 1941 she was appointed to the staff of the Royal Academy of Music where, starting with seven students, she built the drama course to 70 students. The Ministry of Education certified the course as a teacher-training programme. During this period, she spent three days per week at the Royal Academy of Music, and two teaching mime at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

In 1948 her first book, Speech and Drama, was published and was well-received. Meanwhile, she wanted better conditions and premises for her course at the Royal Academy of Music, but some of her views conflicted with those of the principal. She resigned; although she had little money, she began preparing to found her own school. The Kent Education Committee offered to rent her the mansion in Lamorbey Park for £5 per year. Bruford and other college staff established a training programme. Grants helped sustain the college in its early years, and it eventually became profitable.


Degree programmes and courses[edit]

The college currently offers courses in the following fields of performing arts training:


  • BA(Hons) Acting
  • BA(Hons) Actor Musicianship:
  • BA(Hons) American Theatre Arts
  • BA(Hons) Costume Production
  • BA(Hons) European Theatre Arts
  • BA(Hons) Lighting Design
  • BA(Hons) Creative Lighting Control
  • BA(Hons) Performance Sound
  • BA(Hons) Scenic Arts
  • BA(Hons) Stage & Events Management
  • BA(Hons) Theatre Design
  • International Foundation Course
  • Acting Foundation Course


  • MA/MFA Actor Musicianship
  • MA/MFA Actor Performer Training
  • MA/MFA Collaborative Theatre Making
  • MA/MFA Theatre for Young Audiences

Online learning

  • BA(Hons) Opera Studies
  • BA(Hons) Theatre Studies

Research degrees (validated by Goldsmiths, University of London)[citation needed]

  • MPhil
  • PhD

Part-time, summer, and youth programmes

  • Acting Part Time
  • Acting Summer School
  • Lighting Design Summer School
  • Bruford Youth Theatre

Student satisfaction[edit]

In 2014, The Stage reported that 91.6% of Rose Bruford students were from state schools.[10] In the same year, Rose Bruford College scored an overall satisfaction rating of 90% in the National Student Survey.[11]

Rose Bruford College rated 87% for overall student satisfaction in the 2013 National Student Survey. (The average score that year for all participating institutions was 85%.) Rose Bruford College rated 86% in 2012 and 79% in 2011.[citation needed]

Research and community outreach[edit]

The college's research facilities and archives include: the Stanislavski Centre; the Clive Barker Library;[12] and the David Bolland Collection, which is devoted to material about Kathakali.[citation needed] Members or former members of its faculty serve as editors and/or on the editorial boards of performing-arts journals like New Theatre Quarterly (Simon Trussler, co-editor) and Performance Prompt.[13][citation needed]

In partnership with the London V&A Theatre Collections Online, the College also sponsors and supports TheatreVoice, an Internet forum about theatre sound.

Its material relating to research, knowledge transfer, and community outreach is featured online in TheatreFutures.[14]


Among the college's alumni are Gary Oldman, Tom Baker, Lake Bell, Rosalie Craig, Richard Eyre, Hayley Squires, Stephen Graham, and Sam Palladio.

In 2018, Bruford graduate Gary Oldman won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the film Darkest Hour. In the same year, Rosalie Craig won Best Musical Performance at the Evening Standard Awards for the lead role of ‘Bobbi’ in a revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Company. This is the second time she has received the award.

In 2017 Hayley Squires was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by BAFTA for her role of Katie in I, Daniel Blake.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Rose Bruford College Official Website". Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  3. ^ CDS. "The Conference of Drama Schools". Archived from the original on 14 October 1997. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  4. ^ CDS. "CDS Directors". Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Rose Bruford College". Education:News. London: The Guardian. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  6. ^ Rose Bruford College. "Courses". Archived from the original on 4 April 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2008. Our undergraduate and post-graduate programmes are validated by the University of Manchester (the Foundation Degree in Organising Live Arts is validated by London Metropolitan University) and, where appropriate, courses are accredited by the National Council of Drama Training (sic) (NCDT).
  7. ^ "Rose Bruford wins power to award its own degrees". The Stage. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b "About the College: College History". Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Quality Assessment Report by the HEFCE". Archived from the original on 13 March 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  10. ^ "Drama Schools Rubbish Elitist Claims", The Stage
  11. ^ "Student Satisfaction up at Drama Schools", The Stage. Profile,; retrieved 13 May 2017.
  12. ^ "The Clive Barker Library Naming Event". College News: News & Press Releases. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2008.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "New Theatre Quarterly". Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  14. ^ "Theatre Futures: Part of Rose Bruford College". Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  15. ^ "Bafta nominee Hayley Squires on I, Daniel Blake, and why working class girls aren't victims". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 March 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]