Conservatoire for Dance and Drama

The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama is a formal collaboration of six member schools who deliver world leading education and specialist vocational training in dance, drama, circus arts and production arts. The schools are: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Central School of Ballet, London Contemporary Dance School, National Centre for Circus Arts, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and Rambert School.

City Centre
City Centre

In or close to the centre of a city


On the outskirts of a city or town


Specialises in a single subject area, or a small range of subjects

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

TEF Gold is awarded to institutions that consistently deliver outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for their students. Find out more about TEF.

Student Statistics

Student population


Level of study

  • Undergraduate 87%
  • Postgraduate 13%

Mode of study

  • Full Time 89%
  • Part Time 11%

Where students come from

  • UK 65%
  • EU 11%
  • Other 24%

Student gender

  • Male 36%
  • Female 64%

Student Services and Facilities

Libraries and Information Services

  • The conservatoire libraries offer a range of print, audio-visual and electronic resources. Between them the libraries hold some of the most comprehensive specialist collections and archives in the fields of circus, dance and drama in the country, providing a range of resources. 
  • Alongside specialist collections, a number of the conservatoire school libraries offer a range of additional services including IT facilities, online media archives and access to other HE libraries across the country.

Student jobs

  • All of the conservatoire schools are based in large cities, and as such, part-time work in bars, shops and other workplaces may be possible. 
  • Discipline-related work opportunities may also be available, such as front of house, reception, technical, teaching and performance.

Careers advice

  • As part of their training, students have good access to leading practitioners with current industry experience. This might be through activities such as masterclasses, the creation of new artistic work, mock interviews or auditions, advice sessions, or placements.

Health services

  • Where necessary, services provided to students may include medical support such as injury prevention and rehabilitation, physiotherapists, osteopaths, rheumatologists, or laryngologists, often paid for by the schools.

Counselling and Mental Health Support

  • Support for mental health is a primary concern of the conservatoire. Each school offers a comprehensive system of support tailored to individual students needs, emphasising wellness within the curriculum and providing access to in-house and external counsellors.

Disability support

  • The conservatoire embeds inclusive teaching practices within its curriculum to help support individuals with diverse needs. This is supplemented with additional one-to-one support and reasonable adjustments where needed, to enable success for all students.

Other services and facilities

  • Training is delivered in industry-standard studios and workshops. Performances take place either at in-house theatres or local professional theatres, and many of the schools tour work around the UK and internationally.


  • Formed in 2001, the conservatoire enabled a group of specialist schools delivering world-leading training to enter higher education, providing access to government funding and student finance.
  • The HEFCE review of specialist institutions in 2016 confirmed the conservatoire as a provider of world-leading teaching.

Fascinating Fact

  • Conservatoire and Northern School of Contemporary Dance alumni, Toke Strandby and Fabian Jackson, were two of the Candoco company of disabled and non-disabled dancers to appear on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing in 2018. 

Notable Alumni and Famous Faces

Many Conservatoire school graduates go on to become artists, production professionals, choreographers, directors, leaders, teachers and innovators. Below are just a few examples of alumni renowned in their fields:

  • Olivia Colman (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School).
  • Akram Khan (Northern School of Contemporary Dance).
  • Sir Richard Alston (London Contemporary Dance School).
  • Naomie Harris (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School).
  • Gregory Doran (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School).
  • Jonathan Goddard (Rambert School).
  • Sharon Watson (London Contemporary Dance School).
  • Dane Hurst (Rambert School and Central School of Ballet).
  • Michael Keegan-Dolan (Central School of Ballet).
  • Barely Methodical Troupe (National Centre for Circus Arts).


Applications to five of the six Conservatoire member schools (Central School of Ballet, London Contemporary Dance School, National Centre for Circus Arts, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and Rambert School) should be made directly to the individual school. Applications to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School should be made through UCAS, UCAS Conservatoires, or UCAS Postgraduate, depending on the course.