RADA

Coordinates: 51°31′18″N 0°07′53″W / 51.5218°N 0.1314°W / 51.5218; -0.1314
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Gower Street entrance
Main entrance on Gower Street
Other name
RADA
TypeDrama school
Established25 April 1904; 119 years ago (1904-04-25)
ChairmanMarcus Ryder
PresidentDavid Harewood
PrincipalNiamh Dowling
Royal patronKing Charles III
Location
London
,
England, UK

51°31′18″N 0°07′53″W / 51.5218°N 0.1314°W / 51.5218; -0.1314
Affiliations
Websiterada.ac.uk
Official logo

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, commonly abbreviated to RADA (/ˈrɑːdə/), is a drama school in London, England, which provides vocational conservatoire training for theatre, film, television, and radio. It is based in the Bloomsbury area of Central London, close to the Senate House complex of the University of London, and is a founding member of the Federation of Drama Schools.

It is one of the oldest drama schools in the United Kingdom, founded in 1904 by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. It moved to buildings on Gower Street in 1905. It was granted a royal charter in 1920 and a new theatre was built on Malet Street, behind the Gower Street buildings, which was opened in 1921 by Edward, Prince of Wales. It received its first government subsidy in 1924. RADA currently has five theatres and a cinema. The school's principal industry partner is Warner Bros. Entertainment.

RADA offers a number of foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Its higher education awards are validated by King's College London (KCL). The royal patron of the school is King Charles III, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. The president is David Harewood, who succeeded Kenneth Branagh in February 2024. The chairman is Marcus Ryder,[1] who succeeded Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen in 2021. Its vice-chairman was Alan Rickman until his death in 2016.[2] The current principal of the academy is Niamh Dowling, who succeeded Edward Kemp in 2022.[3][4]

History[edit]

The sculpture above the entrance to RADA features masks which depict Tragedy (pictured) and Comedy (which appears opposite). A symbol of theatre, they are also known as Sock and Buskin.

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art was founded on 25 April 1904 by actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree at the West End's Her Majesty's Theatre (now His Majesty's) situated in Haymarket in the City of Westminster, London.[5] In 1905, RADA moved to 62 Gower Street, and a managing council was set up to oversee the school. Its members included George Bernard Shaw, who later donated his royalties from his play Pygmalion to RADA and gave lectures to students at the school.[6] In 1920, RADA was granted a royal charter and, in 1921, a new theatre was built on Malet Street behind the Gower Street buildings. Edward, Prince of Wales, opened the theatre. In 1923, Sir John Gielgud studied at RADA for a year. He later became president of the academy and its first honorary fellow. In 1924, RADA received its first government subsidy, a grant of £500. The Gower Street buildings were torn down in 1927 and replaced with a new building, financed by George Bernard Shaw, who also left one-third of his royalties to the academy on his death in 1950. The academy has received other government funding at various times throughout its history, including a £22.7m grant from the Arts Council National Lottery Board, which was used to renovate its premises and rebuild the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre.

In 2000 the academy founded RADA Enterprises Ltd, now known as RADA Business, providing training programmes and coaching for organisations and individuals in communications and team building which use drama training techniques in a business context. The profits are fed back into the academy to help cover its costs.[7]

In 2001, RADA joined with the London Contemporary Dance School to create the UK's first Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD).[8] RADA left the CDD in August 2019 to become an independent higher education provider.[9] RADA is also a founder member of the Federation of Drama Schools, established in 2017.[10] In 2004, celebrity photographer Cambridge Jones was commissioned to create a body of work published as a book, Off Stage: 100 Portraits Celebrating the RADA Centenary, in 2005 to celebrate RADA's centenerary. The photographs include John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Sheila Hancock, Edward Woodward, Sir Ian Holm, Robert Lindsay, Joan Collins, Tom Courtenay, Warren Mitchell, Imelda Staunton, June Whitfield, Richard Briers, Jane Horrocks, Glenda Jackson, Juliet Stevenson, Jonathan Pryce, Kenneth Branagh, Ioan Gruffud, Susannah York, Timothy Spall, Liza Tarbuck, and Michael Kitchen.[11][12] In 2011, the Lir Academy was established in association with RADA at Trinity College Dublin, with the partnership of the Cathal Ryan Trust. Following RADA’s conservatoire-style, practical theatre training, the Lir Academy modelled its courses after the London-based school.[13] RADA has been registered with the Office for Students as a higher education institution since July 2018.

In July 2020, the then principal, Edward Kemp, responded to the Black Lives Matter movement by acknowledging that "RADA has been and currently is institutionally racist" and set out in detail its plans to change.[14]

Courses[edit]

RADA's higher education awards are validated by King's College London (KCL)[15] and its students graduate alongside members of the KCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities.[16] It is based in the Bloomsbury area of Central London, close to the Senate House complex of the University of London.[17] It is a founder member of the Federation of Drama Schools.[18]

RADA has expanded its course offering over the years. The school offers a three-year BA (Hons) in acting degree. The first stage management course was introduced in 1962 under the directorship of Dorothy Tenham, and today students on the technical theatre and stage management degree learn theatre production skills including lighting, sound, props, costume and make-up, stage management, production management and video design.[19] In the 1990s it launched a programme of short courses for actors and theatre technicians from around the world, including a special course for students at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.[20]

Other courses include a one-year acting foundation course introduced in 2007; an MA in Text & Performance, affiliated with Birkbeck, University of London, introduced in 2010; and an MA Theatre Lab course introduced in 2011.

Campus[edit]

The RADA building on Chenies Street, London

RADA is based in the Bloomsbury area of Central London. The main RADA building where classes and rehearsals take place is on Gower Street (with a second entrance on Malet Street), with a second premise nearby in Chenies Street where RADA Studios is located. The Goodge Street and Euston Square underground stations are both within walking distance.[17]

The Gower and Malet Street building was redeveloped in the late 1990s to designs by Bryan Avery,[21] and incorporated the new theatres and linking the entrances on both streets.

Theatres[edit]

RADA has five theatres and a cinema. In the Malet Street building, the Jerwood Vanburgh Theatre is the largest performance space with a capacity of 194; the George Bernard Shaw Theatre is a black box theatre with a capacity of up to 70; and the Gielgud Theatre is an intimate studio theatre with a capacity of up to 50.[22] In January 2012, RADA acquired the lease to the adjacent Drill Hall venue in Chenies Street and renamed it RADA Studios. The Drill Hall is a Grade II listed building with a long performing arts history, and was where Nijinsky rehearsed with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1911.[23] This venue has a 200-seat space, the Studio Theatre, and a 50-seat space, the Club Theatre.[24]

In April 2016, planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of the Chenies Street premises as part of the Richard Attenborough Campaign.

Library[edit]

The RADA library contains around 30,000 items. Works include around 10,000 plays; works of or about biography, costume, criticism, film, fine art, poetry, social history, stage design, technical theatre and theatre history; screenplays; and theatre periodicals.[25] The collection was started in 1904 with donations from actors and writers of the time such as Sir Squire Bancroft, William Archer, Sir Arthur Wing Pinero and George Bernard Shaw.

Other facilities[edit]

Other facilities at RADA include acting studios, a scenic art workshop with paint frame, costume workrooms and costume store, dance and fight studios, design studios, wood and metal workshops, sound studios, rehearsal studios, and the RADA Foyer Bar, which includes a fully licensed bar, a café and a box office.[26]

Admissions[edit]

The RADA Theatres on Malet Street, London

RADA accepts up to 28 new students each year into its three-year BA (Hons) in Acting course, with a 50–50 split of male and female students.[27] Admission into the three-year BA (Hons) in Acting course is based on suitability and successful audition, via the four-stage audition process, spanning several months. Auditions are held in London as well as in New York, Los Angeles, Dublin, and across the UK – in recent years this has included Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Chester, Leicester, Sheffield, Manchester, Newcastle and Plymouth. Free auditions are offered to any applicants with a household income of under £25,000.[27]

RADA also teaches Technical Theatre & Stage Management (TTSM) – a two-year foundation degree and with a further 'completion' year to BA level which has to be separately applied for and which allows for specialisation in all theatre craft areas. The TTSM course admits up to 30 students a year with a 50–50 gender balance, with the option to interview in Manchester and Plymouth.[28]

RADA’s postgraduate training currently comprises a MA Theatre Lab programme and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Costume (both validated by King's College London). RADA also jointly teaches an MA in Text and Performance with Birkbeck, University of London, where students on this course are enrolled at RADA as well as registered at Birkbeck. Both MA courses frequently collaborated according to their specialisms (i.e. directors on the Text & Performance programme using actors from the Theatre Lab course). Rehearsals and performances for the programmes are done mostly in the Chenies Street and Malet Street buildings.[29]

In addition, RADA offers a series of short courses, masterclasses and summer courses for a range of standards and ages. Previous attendees have included Allison Janney, Liev Schreiber, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Emma Watson. The Academy’s education, widening participation and outreach work includes two Youth Companies,[30] schools' workshops, Access to Acting workshops for young disabled people,[31] Shakespeare tours to secondary schools[32] and the RADA Shakespeare Awards.[33]

Undergraduate students are eligible for government student loans. RADA also has a scholarships and bursaries scheme, which offers financial assistance to students.[34]

Leadership[edit]

The Royal Patron of RADA is King Charles III, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. The President is David Harewood, since February 2024.[35] The chairman is Marcus Ryder, who succeeded Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen in 2021. Its vice-chairman was Alan Rickman until his death in 2016. The current principal of the academy is Niamh Dowling, who succeeded Edward Kemp in 2022.[36][37][38]

Principals[edit]

Presidents[edit]

Honorary fellows[edit]

Listed alphabetically by date of appointment

Notable alumni[edit]

Sir John Gielgud, who studied at RADA in 1923 and would later become president and first honorary fellow of the school

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fabrique. "Marcus Ryder appointed new Chair of RADA Council — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 30 April 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Alan Rickman (1946–2016)". RADA. Archived from the original on 4 January 2022. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Niamh Dowling appointed new Principal of RADA". The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Archived from the original on 11 July 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  4. ^ "RADA appoints Niamh Dowling as principal". The Stage. Archived from the original on 21 July 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  5. ^ "RADA Celebrates 100 Years Of Drama". London Theatre Guide. 8 June 2016. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  6. ^ "RADA | Hidden London". Archived from the original on 30 May 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  7. ^ "About Us – Rada Business – The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art — RADA Business". www.radabusiness.com. Archived from the original on 20 April 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  8. ^ "Schools". Archived from the original on 14 April 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  9. ^ "RADA and LAMDA leave Conservatoire for Dance and Drama". The Stage. Archived from the original on 17 November 2020. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Partner Schools – Federation of Drama Schools". www.federationofdramaschools.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  11. ^ Off Stage: 100 Portraits Celebrating the RADA Centenary, by Cambridge Jones [blurb]. Archived from the original on 19 May 2023. Retrieved 19 May 2023. With a foreword by Lord Attenborough, the book includes an introduction by the Observer writer Miranda Sawyer, as well as interviews with all the actors. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  12. ^ Jones, Cambridge (2005). Off stage : 100 portraits celebrating the RADA centenary. Dewi Lewis Media. ISBN 9780954684327. Retrieved 19 May 2023 – via Internet Archive.
  13. ^ Fabrique. "Who we work with — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Anti-Racism at RADA". RADA. Archived from the original on 23 April 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  15. ^ "RADA: An introduction". Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Archived from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Faculty of Arts & Humanities | King's College London". www.kcl.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 20 August 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  17. ^ a b "Visiting us". Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  18. ^ Granger, Rachel. "Rapid Scoping Study on Leicester Drama School" (PDF). De Montfort University Leicester. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Theatre production — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 3 June 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  20. ^ "Shakespeare in Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art". Archived from the original on 27 April 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  21. ^ "Bryan Avery obituary". The Guardian. 6 July 2017. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Venue hire — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 11 August 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  23. ^ "History of Ballets Russes". Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  24. ^ (admin), Jed Staton. "RADA: The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – Theatres & The Screen @ RADA". Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  25. ^ (admin), Jed Staton. "RADA: The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – Library". Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  26. ^ "About us — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 31 August 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  27. ^ a b "BA (Hons) in Acting — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 7 June 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  28. ^ "Audition and interview for RADA's training across the UK — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 28 September 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  29. ^ "Acting — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 23 April 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  30. ^ "Access and participation — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 10 May 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  31. ^ "RADA: Access to Acting". Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  32. ^ "Shakespeare for young audiences". Archived from the original on 14 August 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  33. ^ "Short courses — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 28 September 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  34. ^ (admin), Jed Staton. "RADA: The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – Fees & Funding". Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  35. ^ Gallagher, Charlotte (15 February 2024). "David Harewood: Homeland star named new president of drama school Rada". BBC. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  36. ^ "RADA staff". Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Archived from the original on 21 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  37. ^ Furness, Hannah (3 October 2015). "Sir Kenneth Branagh made president of RADA to upstage the posh brigade". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  38. ^ "Governance and advisers". Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Archived from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  39. ^ a b c "RADA appoints three new honorary fellows — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 23 April 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  40. ^ a b c "Four new Honorary Fellows appointed at RADA — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 23 April 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  41. ^ "Stephen Sondheim awarded Honorary Fellowship in New York — RADA". www.rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 28 April 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
  42. ^ Smurthwaite, Nick (18 September 2011). "Obituary: Jon Pertwee". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2021.

External links[edit]