Academy of Live and Recorded Arts

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Academy of Live and Recorded Arts
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 CDS 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 current 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 CDS drama school to offer all four media forms throughout the entire three years of training to its acting students. ALRA is a member of the Conference of Drama Schools (CDS), runs courses accredited by the 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.

ALRA is the first and only CDS Drama school to offer identical training at separate locations throughout The United Kingdom. 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. The second location, named ALRA North, will be located in Wigan, Greater Manchester in a newly refurbished state of the art complex. ALRA North accept its first group of students in September 2010. The curriculum and teaching methods will be exactly the same as ALRA South’s and as such all courses at ALRA North are still accredited by NCDT, recognised by the CDS, the degrees awarded by Greenwich University 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 now have the choice of which institution they would prefer to study at. Acting students studying at ALRA South will now stop at ALRA North during the touring sections of their 3rd year productions and will receive a showcase at ALRA South, The Criterion Theatre (London) and at ALRA North to ensure maximum exposure to industry professionals. Acting students at ALRA North will also benefit from the same exposure.

ALRA South's facilities:
  • The ALRA Theatre
  • The Television Studio
  • Editing Suite
  • The Radio Studio
  • Eight rehearsal studios
  • The Great Hall
  • Prop making workshop
  • Construction workshop
  • Large Library
  • Newly installed Macbook Lease system for student use
All of ALRA South's facilities are state of the art, with the theatre and other areas being refurbished as recently as 2006 ALRA North's facilities:
  • The ALRA North Theatre
  • TV Studios
  • Radio Studios
  • Rehearsal studios
  • Modern café
  • Large library with state of the art IT facilities.
All of ALRA North's facilities are state of the art and newly refurbished on the 8,000 square feet (740 m 2) complex.

ALRA offers the following courses:
  • Three Year Acting course - leading to BA (Hons) Acting/National Diploma in Professional Acting
  • One Year Acting course - leading to MA Professional Acting/National Certificate in Professional Acting
  • Foundation Acting
  • Stage Management and Technical Theatre Foundation Degree
  • Various short courses throughout the year, see website.

Admission to the school is based on an intensive audition and selection process. Successful 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 with applicants who make it through to the third stage usually notified by letter within a matter of weeks if they have been accepted to the school or not. 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.

  • Jimmy Akingbola
  • Samuel Anderson (actor)
  • Clive Ashborn
  • Stephanie Chambers
  • Ian Champion
  • Alexis Jayne Defoe
  • Amanda Eliasch
  • Denise Gough
  • Miranda Hart
  • Elizabeth Croft
  • Lucy Liemann
  • Patrick Monckeberg
  • Sarah Parish
  • Vincent Regan
  • Hannah Waddingham
  • Elizabeth Keates

Resident staff
  • Sarah Double (Programme Manager)
  • Clive Duncan (Co-Director)
  • Adrian Hall (Co-Director)
  • Maureen Gibbins (Finance Manager)
  • Amy Smith (Development & Marketing Officer)
  • Katie Abbott (Counsellor)
  • Saul Reid (Registrar)
  • Daniel Rowson (Learning Resources/IT Manager)
  • Susan Watson (Admin Assistant)
  • John Wild (Head of Voice)
  • Fiona Rae (Head of Movement)
  • Janet A. Cantrill (Stage Management Course Leader)

Board of trustees
  • Jimmy Akingbola
  • Richard Gill
  • Harry Cowd (Vice-Chair)
  • Jane Morton (Vice-Chair)
  • Peter Elborn