The Playgoer: $14,000

Custom Search

Monday, July 18, 2011


That's how much £9,000 is when converted into US dollars.

£9,000 is the figure that the London drama schools are appearing to raise their annual tuition to, in the wake of the economic crisis and decreased government arts funding. (I'm having trouble determining this, but it appears some leading schools--like RADA and LAMDA--are essentially private or "independent," while others, like Central, are now housed within a public state university.)

It's certainly a big rise relative to what they're used to over there. RADA for instance advertises less than half that much for its 2010-2011 year. So this £9,000 (aka $14,000) is unheard of, unprecedented, and definitely a big deal. And definitely more than most beginning actors can afford or should be asked to pay.

But now let's look at our own leading schools--all private, of course. NYU's MFA acting program: $22,300. Yale Drama: $26,250. Juilliard: $33,600(!)

Yes, not everyone pays that, like in the UK, and there are various scholarships, etc.

But, blimey, that's quite a difference!  And that's assuming the quality of training is the same...

And at least some of the representatives of the UK schools themselves are honest enough to admit the ugliness of this:

Geoffrey Colman, head of acting at Central School of Speech and Drama, said he felt there was a “sad inevitability” about the fact that most of the leading drama schools had decided to charge £9,000, and said action had to be taken to prevent drama schools from becoming “a repository for the privileged”.

He added: “Higher education institutions are really going to have to examine the way they teach the subject. Alas, this is a subject that is very high cost. It is not something that can be done a couple of hours a week. It needs time. “I see this charge as a provocation for drama schools to address the widening participation remit as fully and as passionately as they do training itself. We cannot just be a repository for the privileged.”
Yes, the issue of access must now become as important as what these schools teach.  Because without the access, what they'll be teaching is "Acting as a Hobby for Independently Wealthy."

Stop the madness. If they don't, then young actors will really have to consider other paths to the profession. And hopefully the industry will follow them there.

1 comment:

D said...

This tuition fee business (across all higher education, not just drama schools) really is sad. One reason for increasing the costs is that it will put people off going into higher education who are only doing it for the social life, and don't intend on doing any work. Apparently the raised fees are meant to weed out the serious students from the non-serious. I think that's horribly flawed, as a serious student doesn't equal a RICH one!