RADA, LAMDA and Other Schools Exit Drama UK Due To Controversial Fees

The Stage reports that Drama UK, the advocacy body for vocational drama training in the UK, has lost nearly a third of its member schools in the last three months, due to concerns about high accreditation fees.

The disassociating schools include the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Oxford School of Drama, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

This leaves 13 accredited schools in full membership.

The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, the umbrella organization that includes RADA, LAMDA and Bristol Old Vic, released a statement suspending its membership after a September meeting.

"Drama UK is undergoing a period of restructure and we look forward to engaging in a positive dialogue to ensure that the voice of all conservatoire drama schools is represented in the UK," the statement reads.

A statement from Oxford School of Drama described Drama UK's membership and accreditation fees as "substantial", adding that they do not vary according to the size of a school.

"So a school like us with 80 full-time students will pay the same fees as one part of a university with 14,000 students," read the Oxford statement.

Compounding the issue is that Drama UK also provides "recognition" for less vocational university and college courses. Further and higher education courses can apply to be recognized by Drama UK, which costs £3,200 with a further annual fee of £200.

Kit Thacker, managing director of Drama Studio London, says that the introduction of the recognition system had caused tension.

"To the general public they don't know the difference between accredited and recognized, and why should they? I think that dilutes the brand and I think that is harmful to (Drama UK) and not helpful to us."

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From This Author Michael Dale

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