Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a world-renowned drama institution specialising in the teaching and research of all things theatre and performance. With a central London location, industry-active teaching staff and researchers, Central has all the tools needed to support students looking to train in performance, applied theatre, technical theatre and much more besides. Students benefit from a large number of visiting industry professionals, dedicated technical support and first class facilities that includes the new North Block building, completed in January 2019.

City Centre
City Centre

In or close to the centre of a city


The university (including student accommodation, teaching, and leisure facilities) is located on one site


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

UCAS Code: C35

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 63%
  • Postgraduate 37%

Mode of study

  • Full Time 94%
  • Part Time 6%

Where students come from

  • UK 72%
  • EU 10%
  • Other 18%

Student gender

  • Male 32%
  • Female 68%

Student Services and Facilities

Libraries and Information Services

  • The library offers a specialised collection of books and journals covering all aspects of the performing arts and related disciplines. Also performance DVDs, feature films, sound effects, musical theatre CDs and music scores.
  • All students are automatically entitled to join the University of London's Senate House library.
  • Central also signs up to a number of online resources, giving students remote access to a vast range of material.

Student jobs

  • Many students have the opportunity to get part-time work as a student ambassador, representing the university at various events on campus and around the country.

Counselling and Mental Health Support

  • The student advice service offers information on Central's on-site counselling referral service, dedicated to the pastoral welfare of Central's students.
  • The counselling service subscribes to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy's ethical framework for good practice.

Disability support

  • The Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) provides specialist advice and support to students with disabilities and learning differences to ensure they can fully participate in life at Central.
  • Please refer to the school's website to contact the DDS team.

Other services and facilities

  • Facilities include a 234-seat proscenium arch theatre; performance, movement and rehearsal studios as well as object and puppetry studio; music practice rooms; video editing suites, media laboratory and sound recording studio; and design studios, props and scenic construction workshops and wardrobe facilities.
  • In January 2017, Central opened a second campus space at Central Bankside, in the heart of London near to the Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe, hosting five new rehearsal rooms/studios.
  • In January 2019, students began using the newly built North Block building, with its courtyard theatre, new movement and rehearsal spaces, a sound studio, new dressing rooms and more.

Students' Union

  • Central's Students' Union aims to represent the student voice and bring students together to form a vibrant community. With Students' Union time on Wednesday afternoons to coincide with the rest of the University of London, the existing wide range of societies and sports activities continues to develop.
  • Students can use the facilities of Student Central in the heart of London, which offers a gym, sports hall, swimming pool, student café and restaurant, bar and club, and meeting rooms for societies.
  • There are also intercollegiate societies covering a wide range of interests and the opportunity to network with other colleges of the University of London.


  • Elsie Fogerty founded the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art at the Royal Albert Hall in 1906.
  • In 1957 the School moved from the Albert Hall, having acquired the lease of the Embassy Theatre at Swiss Cottage.
  • In 2004 the Privy Council granted the Central the power to award its own taught degrees. In September 2005 Central became a College of the University of London, and in 2012 Central was awarded the Royal title, becoming the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Fascinating Fact

  • The founder of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Elsie Fogerty, was also a pioneer in speech therapy, opening a speech clinic at St Thomas's Hospital in 1913 – many speech therapists went on to train at Central School which had a Speech Therapy department by the 1960s.

Notable Alumni and Famous Faces

  • Dame Judi Dench − actress and author.
  • Sir Laurence Olivier − an actor who dominated the stage in the mid-20th century
  • Dawn French − actress, writer, and comedian; best known for the TV shows French and Saunders and the Vicar of Dibley.
  • Jennifer Saunders − comedian, screenwriter, and actress; famous for the TV shows French and Saunders and Absolutely Fabulous.
  • Michael Grandage CBE − theatre director and producer, formerly artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse in London.
  • Sir Cameron Mackintosh − theatrical producer behind such shows as Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Cats.
  • Harold Pinter CBE − Nobel Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, director and actor; one of the most influential modern British dramatists.
  • Riz Ahmed – actor known for roles in Jason Bourne, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Venom.
  • Kit Harrington − actor, famous for the series Game of Thrones.
  • Gareth Fry – Olivier Award winner for his sound design on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.


The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Eton Avenue, London, NW3 3HY