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Best universities of theatre of the United Kingdom

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Best universities of theatre of the United Kingdom

Great Britain is famous not only for becoming the birthplace of the famous playwright William Shakespeare - this country and theatrical universities of Britain gave the world many other talents. Actors Charlie Chaplin, Vivien Leigh, Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet and many others inspire young people around the world to devote themselves to the career of an actor.

It is no coincidence that many Hollywood actors come precisely from Britain, since the best, leading and prestigious higher schools of theatrical craftsmanship are located in literally every part of the United Kingdom.

Theatre education in England - conservatories and leading universities

Theater education in Britain is distinguished by one important nuance: if, after receiving A-levels, an applicant can continue to submit documents only to universities, then in the case of an actor's direction, it can be private theater schools or conservatories (the latter usually have separate departments - theater, music or acting).

In the UK, applications for higher education are submitted through the specialized UCAS service: with a British certificate, a student can send up to six applications to universities and an unlimited number of them to the conservatory. After submitting the application, they are considered by the selection committee, then the candidates are invited to audition. Some universities have discounts if you register in advance. There is also an option to fully pay the cost of listening (fee waiver) - this is suitable for students from families with limited financial income.

Type of expenses



Application Payment

25 £

25 £

Audition Fee

From 40 to 60 £

From 40 to 60 £

The main difference between conservatories and universities is that the specialization of the former focuses exclusively on disciplines related to art: this is music, drama, dance, film production, etc.

Detailed information on where you can get a bachelor's degree in theater or musical theater art can be found on the UCAS website. After receiving a bachelor's degree, students can continue their studies in the theater field: for example, go to a master's program in the same direction (Master of Arts in Drama / Musical Theater) or doctoral studies and get the corresponding degree - PhD.

Here are a few disciplines that students learn when studying in these specialties:

  • The history of theatrical art and drama
  • Drama theory
  • History of British and European theaters.

The curriculum of the courses also has a practical base: these are dances, voice, technique of movements, stage plays, participation in auditions for theater and cinema. Many theater universities in Britain collaborate with television studios and theaters.

We present to you TOP-10 universities that in 2019 fell into the list of the best universities and conservatories with theatrical education:

  1. Glasgow
  2. Exeter
  3. Birmingham
  4. Sussex
  5. Aberdeen
  6. Essex
  7. Warwick
  8. Lancaster
  9. Leeds
  10. Edinburgh.

Theater schools in Britain: types, differences and characteristics

Higher theater schools in Britain, theater universities in Britain and countries abroad can be private or be part of a university or conservatory as one of the faculties. Let's see how the dramatic departments at universities and autonomous theater schools differ?

Theater High School

Faculty of Drama at the University / Conservatory

An application for studying is submitted through the admissions committee of the school

Application for studying is submitted through UCAS

The cost of education is high

Average cost

Certificates of secondary education are not needed

For admission, you must have one of the certificates of secondary education - GCSE or A-level

The status of such an education is higher in professional circles:

  • Intensive and advanced program
  • The excellent reputation of each of the higher schools, formed over the years
  • Study groups up to 10 people
  • Collaboration with casting centers and film and theater directors.


Theatrical education of a more general level without deepening at different stages

Strict selection of candidates

More loyal student selection

A common feature of two types of educational institutions: students receive bachelor's degrees, which give them the right to continue their studies at other levels of higher education - in a magistracy or doctoral program at the same university or other theater schools.

An important stage for students of a dramatic direction is listening - each British theater institute has its own requirements and criteria: a monologue from works of Shakespearean time, poems by contemporary authors and so on. For auditions to the faculties of musical theater art, candidates prepare 2 songs to choose from. Sometimes you need to bring dancing shoes and clothes to the audition, this will be specified to you during preparation.

Standard auditions in theatrical schools or at drama faculties include three stages - each of them must be successfully completed for admission to the chosen specialty.

Different theater universities have their own student auditions schedule: some begin in November and end in April. The format may also be different: a master class with elements of dancing, singing, dramatic exercises + reading a learned monologue; individual meetings with reading a monologue and talking on personal topics (student hobbies, future plans, etc.).


The best theater universities in Britain: list, rankings, tuition prices

Institution Name

Year of foundation

Admission Requirements + Listening Costs


Famous graduates

London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA)


  1. Application through UCAS Conservtoires
  2. Listening


Listening Price: 54 £

One of the oldest theater schools in Britain. Among the graduates of the university are 19 BAFTA winners, 4 Oscar winners, 16 Golden Globe winners, 36 winners of the prestigious theater award Olivier Awards, 12 owners of the Tony Prize

  • Donald Sutherland
  • John Lithgow
  • Jim Broadbent
  • Suosi Kurtz
  • Brian Cox

Guildford School of Acting (Sarri University)


  1. Application through UCAS
  2. At least three A-levels (grade C and above); GCSE - English and Mathematics (Grade C)


Listening Price: 54 £


Bonuses: fee waiver


  • Bill nyei
  • Sasha Royce
  • Peter Alexander.

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)


Listening Price: 46 £ (Early Deadline), 76 £ (Deadline)


Bonuses: fee waiver and travel grants.

Recognized as one of the best and leading theater schools not only in Britain, but also among other foreign countries. It is distinguished by eminent graduates, difficult admission and teaching methods (there are mini-classes for 3 people).

  • Peter O'Toole
  • Mike lee
  • Joan Collins
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Rafe Fiennes
  • Vivien leigh.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama


Listening Price: 65 £


Bonuses: fee waiver *


* when applying on behalf of the teacher of the candidate’s educational institution


  • Ewan McGregor
  • Joseph Fiennes
  • Daniel Craig
  • Rice Ifans
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Eileen Atkins.



Listening Price: 45 £


The name of the president of the school is Judy Dench. It is not necessary to have a certificate of secondary education for admission, but it is recommended

  • Brendan Coyle
  • Denise Welch
  • Eddie Marsan

Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (University of London)


  1. Two A-levels (minimum C) and  three GCSE (C), or their equivalents


Listening Price: 45 £


Bonuses: fee waiver


  • Sir Lawrence Olivier
  • Lady Judy Dench
  • Peggy Ashcroft
  • Harold Pinter
  • Vanessa Redgrave

The cost of one year of study at universities or conservatories in theatrical faculties varies from 9,000 to 17,000 £. For citizens with British or European citizenship - from 9,250 £, for foreign students - from 17,640 £ per year.

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