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This summer try a short course at one of these top drama schools

Students at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Photo: Karla Gowlett Students at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Photo: Karla Gowlett
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With technical skills, Shakespeare and training for musicals just a selection of what’s on offer, many top drama schools are providing high-quality summer courses for all ages and skill sets. Samantha Marsden looks at what is on offer and where

Many top drama schools offer summer schools in the months of July and August, and in many cases these are taught by the same teaching staff as those on the foundation, BA and MA programmes.

Everyone is eligible to take a summer course, with no audition requirements, and they can be an excellent way to learn new skills.

Students on a short course at RADA. Photo: Linda Carter
Students on a short course at RADA. Photo: Linda Carter


Location: Bloomsbury, London

RADA’s summer courses are available to those aged 16 plus, with some courses for over 18s only. These range from three-day courses (£450) to the advanced eight-week Acting Shakespeare course (£5,590). It’s also possible to focus on specific genres such as Shakespeare or Stanislavski for one week (£850). Or sample different techniques in the Young Actors’ Summer School (One week: £895. Two weeks: £1,790).

Aspiring technical theatre artists can take a one-week course (£555) and learn design and production techniques across a variety of disciplines including sound design, lighting, costume, prop-making, scenic art
and scenic construction.


Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Location: Barbican, London

Guildhall’s drama summer schools focus on actor-training and are designed to suit various levels of experience. For 16 and 17 year olds who are thinking of full-time drama training there’s a two-week course where students gain an insight into Shakespeare and modern drama (£1,250). For the over 18s there are two three-week courses: Acting in Shakespeare and Contemporary Theatre and Acting in Musical Theatre (£1,950).

There are also many technical theatre courses on offer that are either two days (£195) or five (£495). Technical theatre courses include: Introduction to Costume, Introduction to Wigs, Hair and Make-up for the Theatre, Practical Theatre Sound Design, Prop Making Skills, Scenic Arts Skills, Stage Lighting Skills, Stage Management Skills, Opera Stage Management and Video Projection Mapping.

Student Charlotte Fraser Howes says the summer school in Acting in Shakespeare and Contemporary Theatre “was the most eye-opening, freeing and magical few weeks any person could wish for. It inspired me to pursue a career in acting. Learning and exploring in such a warm, safe and playful environment without any pressure or expectation enabled me to truly grow in a short space of time as a human and also as an actor.”

Students at LAMDA in 2017. Photo: Jake Longley
Students at LAMDA in 2017. Photo: Jake Longley

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA)

Location: Hammersmith, London

LAMDA has a range of short courses on offer for the summer of 2018.

The eight-week Shakespeare Summer School offers those over 18 an immersion in Shakespeare’s works and, because it’s validated by the University of Kent, also offers transferable credits for international students who complete it (£4,940, but for applications received after April 1, 2018: £5,500).

If you’re over 17 there’s a practical four-week Shakespeare Short Course, (£2,390, for applications received after April 1: £2,700).

For anyone aged 16 plus, courses include: two-week intensives on Audition Technique (£960), Introduction to Screen Acting (£1,330) and Introduction to Drama School (£960).

Tom Kalnas, who took the Shakespeare Summer School, says: “Those eight weeks were the most valuable training I’ve ever had. It’s done fantastic things for my performance capabilities, my understanding of live performance, and my attitude towards the professional entertainment industry.”


Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

Location: Hertfordshire

Tring Park School offers a variety of summer courses for students aged seven to 16, with both day school as well as boarding options. Day courses include Summer Day of Dance (£58), Musical Theatre Day (£58), Ballet Intensive Weekend (£127) and Junior Acting for Camera Day (£58). If you fancy something a little longer, there are also four-day summer courses in acting (day pupils £294; boarders £368), dance (day pupils £335, boarders £450), and a five-day Musical Theatre Summer Course (day pupils £421; boarders £525).

Parent Clarice Hoole praises the school, saying: “My daughter thoroughly enjoyed her summer school experience at Tring Park. Although normally focused on classical ballet, she had the opportunity to take classes in dance genres she has never done before, such as commercial and musical theatre. This made her interested in pursuing these further.”


The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Location: Swiss Cottage, London

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama offers a variety of summer schools and summer short courses across all ages and interests. Sessions range in length from three days (£350; concessionary fee £320) to three weeks (£1,699; concessionary fee £1,494).

For students aged 17 or 18 plus (dependent on the course), courses include Acting for Camera for Beginners, Musical Theatre, Actors’ Audition Pieces, Stage Combat, Acting With Text, Summer Shakespeare, Voice Fundamentals 1: Good Voice Use and Voice Fundamentals 2: Voice in Performance, and Acting for Beginners.

A three-day course called Preparing for Higher Education: Studying Drama is available for students aged 15 and over (£250). In addition to this there is a one-week summer youth theatre for students aged between six and 17 years old (£575; concessionary fee £500).


Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

Location: Liverpool

LIPA offers two free summer courses. One is Get Set, a three-day residential summer school for Year 12s (16-17 year olds) at the end of July (2018 dates to be confirmed). This is part of LIPA’s widening participation outreach. It is exclusively targeted towards students from neighbourhoods where participation in higher education is low.

LIPA also runs a free one-day summer event called Get Ready, for students interested in applying for 2019 entry.

Both courses are free to participate in and aim to help participants better understand the application process for institutions like LIPA and how to prepare for this.

LIPA’s 4-19 performing arts academy runs a variety of week-long programmes throughout the summer ranging from £120 to £160.

For more information and application forms, contact wp@lipa.ac.uk or go to lipa419.co.uk

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