Mission and History of ALRA

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

The History of ALRA

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.

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 CDMT 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 2006 ALRA became a partner college with the University of Greenwich who awarded a Foundation Degree in Creative Studies to the Stage Management and Technical Theatre Course and validated the three year course as a BA (Hons) Acting. In 2008 the University of Greenwich validated the Post Graduate course as MA Professional Acting. This programme was extended from twelve to fifteen months in 2010. The Acting Foundation Course began in 2008. ALRA became a partner college with St Mary’s University, London in 2013 who currently validate the BA and MA Programmes.

In September 2010 ALRA North opened at the Elim Centre, Turner Street, Wigan. Placed in the heart of the Northwest, the aim is to provide professional 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 is now the full time home of all ALRA North courses. The theatre opened with its inaugural production Three Birds Alighting in a Field.

ALRA continues to develop new courses at both campuses and with partner institutions. 2018 saw the launch of the two year MA Directing course at ALRA North with international placement and industry mentors. Details can be found here.

With an excellent record in outreach and widening participation, ALRA has run workshops and short courses for Deaf/BSL actors. It also runs Yellow Academy, an annual summer school in collaboration with Yellow Earth Theatre Company aimed at British East Asian students. An outreach programme where schools and colleges receive workshops from a member of ALRA’s resident staff has been in place since 2009.

ALRA has held regional auditions since 2005 in Manchester, Edinburgh and Bristol and have since extended this to Glasgow and Newcastle.

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Academy of Live and Recorded Arts