Current students at Drama Centre London are calling on alumni to “fight for the value of conservatoire training”, as intake for the school’s acting and directing courses is suspended.
The students’ plea comes after the entire advisory council to Drama Centre London resigned en masse following the decision by University of the Arts London to suspend intake to the BA (hons) Acting course and MA Directing at Drama Centre. This is while UAL conducts a review of actor training at Central Saint Martins, where Drama Centre is based.
The school’s current students have now broken their silence about the decision, claiming in a joint statement that they “disagree with the university’s decision to suspend the intake in order to revalidate the courses”.
The statement says: “The BA course achieves a 100% student satisfaction rate, is the most oversubscribed programme in the university and recent alumni continue to make a huge impact on the industry. The students of Drama Centre were not consulted on this decision, and believe there are constructive ways for the university to improve the training at the school that do not involve a suspension of intake.”
It adds: “Nevertheless, we are still determined to practise our craft to the highest standard and fight for the outstanding legacy Drama Centre holds.”
The students said they wanted alumni to “wholeheartedly support us”, describing themselves as the last generation of actors and directors currently training at and graduating from “what is the highly regarded Drama Centre”.
“Currently, there are three years of actors training on the BA course and four years of directors in training for the MA, all who will graduate with the same calibre of work that the Drama Centre has produced for 56 years,” they said.
They added: “Each individual student cares deeply about their craft and the passionate spirit of Drama Centre and we hope that you too will continue to support us these next three years. We invite you to attend our graduate showcases to see this spirit in action and, by doing so, help us fight for the value of conservatoire training.”
The students said the school was founded on “a rebellion, and we continue to stand in the face of adversity, kindly asking for your support”.
A spokesman for UAL said: “We acknowledge the strength of feeling of our current students and applaud their commitment to their studies. Consultation with them will be a part of the review process.”
Former staff and students have previously revealed that a decision to suspend intake had been carried out amid a backdrop of “swingeing cuts” to students’ teaching hours and allocated space.
They expressed concern that what results from the review “will no longer be Drama Centre” in its current form.