The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts
Sam Anderson in the History Boys
ALRA (The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) was founded in 1979, by Sorrel Carson and Caryll Ziegler. It was the first drama school to offer a training which encompassed all media: Live Theatre, TV & Film and Radio. Today we are still the only school to teach both acting for camera and acting for the theatre throughout the three year and the post graduate programmes.
ALRA moved into the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, originally a Victorian orphanage built on Wandsworth Common, in 1981 where it has a number of rehearsal studios, workshops and a theatre.
ALRA is part of Drama UK. In 2000 ALRA received DaDA funding from the then Learning and Skills Council, now the Young Persons Learning Agency, and awarded the National Diploma in Professional Acting and the Certificate in Professional Acting for its three year and one year course respectively through Trinity College London. From 2011 these became the Diploma in Professional Acting Level 6 (three year) and Diploma in Professional Acting Level 5 (Post Grad).
In 2006 ALRA became a partner college with the University of Greenwich who awarded a Foundation Degree in Creative Studies to the Stage Management and Technical Theatre Course and validated the three year course as a BA (Hons) Acting. In 2008 the University of Greenwich validated the Post Graduate course as MA Professional Acting. This programme was extended from twelve to fifteen months in 2010. The Acting Foundation Course began in 2008.
In September 2010 ALRA North opened at the Elim Centre, Turner Street, Wigan. Placed in the heart of the Northwest, the aim is to provide professional actors for the many regional and touring theatres, TV, Film and Radio companies which are centred there, whilst allowing students to train at regional costs.
In October 2012 a unique collaboration with Wigan Borough Council saw ALRA take up residence in The Mill at the Pier at Trencherfield Mill. Built in 1907, Trencherfield Mill is probably the most iconic building in Wigan. With in excess of 1500 square metres, The Mill at the Pier will eventually house all of ALRA North. The theatre opened with its inaugural production Three Birds alighting in a Field.
With an excellent record in outreach and widening participation, ALRA regularly runs workshops and short courses for Deaf/BSL actors; Yellow Academy – an annual summer school in collaboration with Yellow Earth Theatre Company aimed at British East Asian students and implemented, in 2009, an outreach programme whereby 40 feeder schools and colleges receive workshops from a senior member of ALRA’s staff.
ALRA has held regional auditions since 2005 in Manchester, Edinburgh and Bristol and in 2011 began auditioning in New York.