About Our Drama Schools in Britain

ALRA (The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) was founded in 1979, by Sorrel Carson and Caryll Ziegler. It was the first drama school to offer a training which encompassed all media: Live Theatre, TV & Film and Radio. Although today we are not the only school to teach both acting for camera and acting for the theatre throughout the three year and the post graduate programmes, there remains a marked paucity in this style of training.

Mission & History of ALRA 

ALRA aims to equip actors and theatre professionals with those skills fundamental to a productive and creative life in the performance industries.

ALRA is dedicated to helping students of all backgrounds and ages to enter the world of live and recorded arts.

ALRA has a distinguished record of training professionals prepared and ready to work and will continue to enhance that record in collaboration with the industry. 

ALRA Facilities

ALRA moved into the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, originally a Victorian orphanage built on Wandsworth Common, in 1981 where it has a number of rehearsal studios, workshops and a theatre.

ALRA is a CDET Accredited School. In 2000 ALRA received DaDA funding from the then Learning and Skills Council, now the EFA and BIS, and awarded the National Diploma in Professional Acting and the Certificate in Professional Acting for its three year and one year course respectively through Trinity College London. From 2011 these became the Diploma in Professional Acting Level 6 (three year) and Diploma in Professional Acting Level 5 (Post Grad).

In 2013 ALRA became a partner college with St Mary’s University, London who award the three year BA (Hons) Acting and the Post Graduate MA Professional Acting degrees. ALRA also runs part time and full time Foundation courses which have exceptional results in Drama School progression to all the top Drama and Musical Theatre schools.

In September 2010 ALRA North, placed in the heart of the Northwest in Wigan began training actors for the many regional and touring theatres, TV, Film and Radio companies which are centred there, whilst allowing students to train at regional costs.

In October 2012 a unique collaboration with Wigan Borough Council saw ALRA take up residence in The Mill at the Pier at Trencherfield Mill. Built in 1907, Trencherfield Mill is probably the most iconic building in Wigan. With in excess of 1500 square metres, The Mill at the Pier now houses all of ALRA North.

ALRA Faculty

ALRA uses professional actors, directors and drama practitioners to deliver the curriculum. All 3rd year public production work is directed by professionals to give our students directly relevant experience and the beginnings of a network.

Students Services

Drama school training is tough. The hours are long and the intensity relentless. To support this we have a student liaison officer, a trained counselor and access to other professional counseling, physical and learning support services.


With an excellent record in outreach and widening participation, ALRA regularly runs workshops and short courses for Deaf/BSL actors. We collaborate to run Yellow Academy – an annual summer school with Yellow Earth Theatre Company aimed at British East Asian students and implemented. In 2009 we began an outreach programme whereby up to 40 feeder schools and colleges receive workshops from a senior member of ALRA’s staff.

Why train at ALRA

Because at ALRA the student comes first. Every aspect of our training is created with the intention of providing you with the tools you need to have the best possible chance of making it in what is becoming an increasingly tough business.

Open Days

The best way of finding out if a course, a professional career and an academy fit you, your skills and ambitions is to attend an Open Day where you can ask questions and alleviate concerns with industry professionals and experts. Therefore ALRA invites you to discover us during one of our Open Days in the Autumn Term. Click here to see the new dates available.


We invite submissions for new research projects from Full Time, Part Time and Freelance Faculty as well as graduates of ALRA. Submit your research here.

Mental Health Charter

ALRA is pleased to sign up to the MHFA charter.

Time4change is a peer led group launched in 2016 by Annemarie Lewis Thompson at the MTA and now has over a 100 agents, producers, companies, organisations and schools signed up. Information can be found here or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive a pack.


ALRA's Notable Alumni
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Reasons to study at ALRA
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    ALRA is a leading conservatoire drama school with a reputation for training hard working, fully-rounded professional actors.
  • ALRA’s acting training includes includes specialist instruction in stage, film, TV, audio, comedy, voice and movement and is supported with contextual studies to prepare for work.
  • ALRA is a leading conservatoire drama school with a reputation for training hard working, fully-rounded professional actors.
  • ALRA has built strong relationships within the industry and our showcases and productions are directed and attended by agents, directors, casting directors, writers, producers and our own inspiring Alumni.
  • ALRA’s resident teams are dedicated, talented professionals with a wealth of knowledge and experience and a passion for teaching. Our students are supported in all aspects of their studies.
  • ALRA’s reputation of securing opportunities for students grows each year and our Alumni are working in the West End, Regional and Touring Theatre Productions, as well as in Film, TV and Comedy both in the UK and beyond.
  • ALRA recruits a comparatively small number of students each year so that everybody has our full attention and feels part of the school from the moment they arrive.
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