Photo by Nina Photography, ALRA South


ALRA (The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) was founded in 1979 and was the first drama school to offer a training which encompassed all media: Live Theatre, TV & Film and Radio. ALRA is a CDMET Accredited School, a member of GuildHE and the FDS (Federation of Drama Schools UK).

The ALRA Approach to Training

At ALRA, we believe that all aspects of an actors’ craft intersect and that voice and movement are connected physically and emotionally and are specific to each role or performance.

ALRA training is geared towards preparing actors and directors who can adapt their performance to best serve each different character or text in a style of delivery that fits the medium or space that their work is delivered. For this reason, our training is centred around rehearsals – bringing in expertise to support each project in the same way that an actor might be supported in their professional work. To enhance this further, our training is equally weighted in live and recorded practice so that, on graduating, ALRA actors feel ready to offer their best work in any setting.

To achieve this we will:

Provide a specialist vocational drama education for students whose primary goal is to work in the entertainment industry

Expand & develop ALRA’s links with the entertainment industry

Provide excellence in teaching, learning, student achievement and personal development

Our Mission

At ALRA, the student comes first. Every aspect of our training is created with the intention of providing our students with the tools needed to have the best possible chance of making it in what is an increasingly tough business.

ALRA equips actors and theatre professionals with the fundamental skills to underpin a productive and creative life in the performance industries ALRA is dedicated to enabling diverse students to enter the world of live and recorded arts ALRA has a distinguished record of producing graduates who are hardworking, robust and fully prepared.

History of ALRA

ALRA moved into the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, originally a Victorian orphanage built on Wandsworth Common, in 1981 where classes are held in rehearsal studios, the great hall, workshops and on-site theatre.

In 2000 ALRA received DaDA (Dance and Drama Award) 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 15 month courses respectively through Trinity College London.

In 2013 ALRA partnered with St Mary’s University, London, who now award the three-year BA (Hons) Acting and the MA Professional Acting degrees. ALRA also runs a full time Foundation course which has exceptional results in Drama School progression to the top Drama Conservatoires in the UK.

In September 2010 ALRA North opened and 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, this is the most iconic building for many miles.

In September 2018 the MA Directing was launched at ALRA North with international placements and direct industry mentoring.

Our Partners

With an excellent record in outreach and widening participation, ALRA has run workshops and short courses for Deaf/BSL actors and collaborated with schools and colleges to offer taster sessions and advice about actor training. We collaborate to run an annual summer school with Yellow Earth Theatre Company, aimed at British East Asian students and we are in the process of developing partner courses and events with leading national and international educative institutions. Find out more about our partnering organisations here.

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.

Academy of Live and Recorded Arts