If you have been offered a place at ALRA, you’ll be asked to come and shadow a First Year group for a day. Although you can't participate in classes (due to Health and Safety), you get to spend the day on timetable and meet students already immersed in life at ALRA. You get to know your way around, the opportunity to ask questions and really begin to understand what you will be letting yourself in for. We will contact you after you've been offered a place to suggest dates.
'I just wanted to say again thank you very much for letting me come and be an ALRA student for the day. I really felt like I was and am so glad I had the opportunity to confirm that ALRA is the place for me. I would highly recommend the 'shadow' day to everyone that has been offered a place. I met lots of lovely and welcoming people too.'
[Keri Bastiman - 2011 Applicant]
In the July before your programme begins you will be invited to spend the day at ALRA experiencing the classes for yourself. You‘ll get to meet the other students who’ll be starting when you do and you’ll be taught by the Heads of Departments. Again, it’s the chance to ask questions, understand more about the work and to remove any anxieties about the next big step of your life.
Students meet at audition days and use Facebook to get in touch. We also invite all prospective students to two Accommodation Days, held at both campuses over the summer holidays. Estate agents and landlords bring their property lists to these days, and graduating students publicise the houses they're moving out of.
The week before timetable commences you’ll spend a busy four days at ALRA learning about your programme, what’s on the timetable, the rules and regulations, who’s who, meeting the other students and attending classes to prepare you for the following week. There will also be workshops or personal safety, health and nutrition, how to survive financially, using equipment and how the library and recording studios work. The week finishes with a social gathering of the entire school.
Actor training and Technician training is hard work - the hours are long, the day starts early, and there’s no such thing as coasting. Physical demands will be made on you in all your classes and a lot will be asked of you mentally, as you begin to take ownership of your learning and your practice.
As well as all this, you might be living away from home for the first time, and this comes with a whole new set of stresses and strains, from paying the bills through to the washing-up rota!
With this in mind, ALRA engages a counsellor to come in once a week. Appointments are free and totally confidential.
ALRA also operates a buddy system, where a Second Year student mentors a First Year student, giving them help and advice in their first year here.
Learning disabilities are very common amongst students working in creative fields; students with specific learning disabilities (SpLDs) such as dyslexia and dyspraxia are well provided for at ALRA.
Students who know they have SpLDs are encouraged to disclose this information to the school before they begin their training with us. Whether you are awarded a Dance and Drama Award (DaDA) or take a Student Loan, you are entitled you to apply for Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) to assist you with the costs of supporting you to undertake the course. DSA can help with the cost of equipment, like Dictaphones and IT access; and can provide money for human support, like Study Skills Tuition and IT training. If you are awarded a DaDA, DSA is provided by the Education Funding Agency (EFA); if you take a Student Loan, DSA is provided by either Student Finance England, SAAS, Student Finance Wales, or Student Finance Northern Ireland, depending on the location of your residency in the UK.
Students who have any other difficulties or disabilities are always encouraged to come forward and talk to us - we can often provide help and suggestions, or help you research how to make the most of your time here.
Open Door Policy
If you have a problem, large or small, we will encourage you to come and discuss it. You can have access to any member of staff within school hours who you think would be the most appropriate to talk to. We won’t judge, we’ll listen and then help in the best way that we can. If who you want to talk to is teaching or in a meeting, a meeting will be arranged at the earliest opportunity.
People's financial circumstances change all the time, and the Hardship Fund is there for when times get tough.
Our intranet is open to graduates as well as current students, and any castings we hear about are posted there. It's also a good resource for finding part-time or freelance work, as well as offers on theatre tickets.
Our website continues to list ALRA alumni for several years after they've graduated. This way, they benefit from the high level of traffic from agents and casting directors.
Graduates drop into ALRA all the time for advice, to see shows and to socialise. If they're putting a show together themselves, we can offer them mates' rates in our rehearsal rooms and Radio Studio.