Rose Bruford College

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Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance
Rose Bruford College Logo.jpg
TypeDrama school
ChairmanMonisha Shah
PresidentBernardine Evaristo
PrincipalClarie Middleton (from January 2018)
Students735 (2019/20)[1]
Undergraduates670 (2019/20)[1]
Postgraduates65 (2019/20)[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]

The college's undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications and programmes were validated by the University of Manchester,[3][4] prior to the college gaining its own taught degree awarding powers in 2017. It is a member of the Federation of Drama Schools.[5]


Rose Elizabeth 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. In 1950 Bruford established The Rose Bruford Training College of Speech and Drama 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."[3] The Kent Education Committee offered to rent her Lamorbey House, an 18th-century, Grade II listed manor house in the Lamorbey district of Sidcup 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.[6][7]

The campus has since been expanded; construction of several new buildings was completed in 2002.[6] The college's research facilities and archives include the Stanislavski Centre and the Clive Barker Library.[8] Members or former members of its faculty serve as editors and/or on the editorial boards of performing-arts journals like New Theatre Quarterly and Performance Prompt.[9] In partnership with the London V&A Theatre Collections Online, the College also sponsors and supports TheatreVoice, an Internet forum about theatre sound.

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]

Educational programmes[edit]

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


  • BA(Hons) Acting
  • BA(Hons) Actor Musicianship
  • BA/BSc (Hons) Audio Production
  • BA(Hons) American Theatre Arts
  • BA(Hons) Costume Production
  • BA(Hons) Design for Theatre and Performance
  • BA(Hons) Digital Content Design
  • BA(Hons) European Theatre Arts
  • BA(Hons) Lighting Design
  • BA(Hons) Lighting Design for Archiecture
  • BA(Hons) Creative Lighting Control
  • BA(Hons) Scenic Arts
  • BA(Hons) Stage & Events Management
  • BA(Hons) Theatre Design
  • BA(Hons) Theatre and Social Change
  • BA(Hons) Virtual Theatre & Digital Experiences


  • MA/MFA Actor Musicianship
  • MA/MFA Actor and Performer Training
  • MA/MFA Collaborative Theatre Making
  • MA Light in Performance
  • MA/MFA Theatre for Young Audiences
  • MA Devised Theatre Practice (with
  • MFA Advanced Devising Practice (with
  • MA/MFA International Theatre Practice and Performance (with NTI, USA)

Certificate of Higher Education

  • Graeae Ensemble, Theatre Making & Leadership (Cert HE)

Online learning

  • BA(Hons) Opera Studies
  • BA(Hons) Theatre Studies (FT & PT)

Research degrees

  • MPhil/PHD (in collaboration with UEL)
  • PGCLTHE (validated by University of Manchester)

Part-time, Foundation, summer, and youth programmes

  • Acting Foundation Course (various locations)
  • Acting Part Time
  • Acting Summer School
  • Lighting Design Summer School
  • Bruford Youth Theatre


College alumnus Bernardine Evaristo, the 2019 Booker Prize winner, succeeded Richard Eyre as college president in 2021.[12] Other alumni include Gary Oldman, Tom Baker, Edward Peel, Lake Bell, Rosalie Craig, Hayley Squires, Giovanna Fletcher, Stephen Graham, Nick Darke and Sam Palladio.

In 2017 Hayley Squires was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by BAFTA for her role of Katie in I, Daniel Blake.[13] The following year, Gary Oldman won the 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 Theatre 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Where do HE students study?". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Rose Bruford College Official Website". Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Rose Bruford College". The Guardian. London. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  4. ^ 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).
  5. ^ Granger, Rachel. "Rapid Scoping Study on Leicester Drama School" (PDF). De Montfort University Leicester. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  6. ^ a b "About the College: College History". Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  7. ^ "Quality Assessment Report by the HEFCE". Archived from the original on 13 March 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  8. ^ "The Clive Barker Library Naming Event". College News: News & Press Releases. Rose Bruford College. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2008.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "New Theatre Quarterly". 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. ^ "Professor Bernardine Evaristo OBE is appointed President of Rose Bruford College". Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  13. ^ "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]