Drama Centre London is set to close, as plans are revealed to end all of its acting provision at its current home in Central Saint Martins.
For the past 20 years, Drama Centre has been part of Central Saint Martins, a constituent college of University of the Arts London.
Last year, it suspended intake for two of its courses, while a review of actor training was carried out.
Now UAL has announced its intention to end acting provision at Central Saint Martins, resulting in the closure of seven courses: Foundation Studies in Performance, BA Acting, MA Acting, MA Directing, MA Screen: Acting, and MA Screen: Directing.
All affected courses will continue for students who are currently enrolled, but UAL said in a statement to The Stage: “All current acting and directing students will be taught within the conservatoire model as originally developed by Drama Centre London. Once they graduate, we do not intend to offer any new courses under its name. We are sensitive to the legacy of Drama Centre London and the need to protect its brand and methodology. Once the current students have graduated, we will therefore consult on the future positioning of Drama Centre London.”
The planned closures come as UAL reveals the findings of its review into actor training.
The findings suggest “the main acting courses differ significantly and enduringly from the pedagogy and values of UAL and wider contemporary creative arts education”.
It also highlights “significant compliance issues” across the acting courses, including “resistance in the area to fully engage with institutional processes and standard method and approaches to higher education academic development and quality assurance”.
The review also found that students were not “equally supported in access” to provision due to issues relating to audition and selection processes, the level of course fees and the “limited availability of additional funding through grants and bursaries”. It said there was a lack of engagement from Drama Centre London with schemes that could assist with this.
It adds that “student satisfaction data may not be fully reliable”, warning that there is evidence of an “over-close relationship between students and staff”.
It criticises “poorly managed” course committee meetings and highlights “a clear and worrying picture of issues and conflicts that have arisen with the acting courses” over the past three years.
Last year, when intake to courses was suspended, former staff and students warned the review would result in the dismantling of the school in its current form. They revealed the review came amid a backdrop of “swingeing cuts” to students’ teaching hours and allocated space.
When the review was announced, members of an advisory council subsequently resigned en masse.
UAL said it remains committed to the future of performance at Central Saint Martins, as well as to the role of Wimbledon College of Arts as a performance college.
Drama Centre London was originally founded in 1963. It has been part of Central Saint Martins since 1999.