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					                                                 Drama Centre London/CSM
                                                 Self Assessment Document



Quality Review May 2006

Self Assessment Document

                                                                      Drama Centre London/CSM
                                                                      Self Assessment Document

        1   INTRODUCTION

1.1     Drama Centre London (hereafter “the School”) is one of five academic operational
        units at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. The School has a focused
        subject range, concentrating on the teaching of vocational drama subjects, delivered
        through a portfolio of four HE courses spanning the disciplines of acting, directing and
        writing for the stage, radio and screen.

1.2     The School is the smallest HE operational unit in the College: in October 2005 the
        student distribution by course was as follows:

 Student FTEs 2005-06                                                         FTE
 BA (Honours) in Acting – full time, three years                              92
 BA (Honours) in Directing – full time, three years                           19
 MA in European Classical Acting – full time, 45 weeks                        14
 MA in Performance – full time extended; 60 weeks                             41
 Total Taught FTE                                                             166

 Research Degree Students
 PhD – part time                                                              1
 Total Research FTE                                                           1

        NB The research student is affiliated to the School through subject designation, but
        managed centrally through the College‟s Research Office.

1.3     Background

1.3.1   Drama Centre London was founded in 1963 by a group of acting students of the
        Central School of Speech and Drama who – rejecting what they perceived as an
        obsolete approach to theatre in general and their training in particular and wishing to
        continue their studies under a number of innovative tutors who had resigned from that
        institution – took the initiative of establishing a new drama school. The School is
        therefore a rare example of an educational establishment founded „from the bottom
        up‟, by students. Equally important was the fact that the School was formed around
        not only a number of visionary personalities, but also with a defined, coherent artistic
        and educational viewpoint at its core.
1.3.2   The tradition of student involvement in determining and monitoring the direction of the
        School continues to this day: student representatives are, for example, members
        with equal voting rights on audition/interview panels; are members of Disciplinary
        Advisory Boards, which have equal student/staff representation; their representatives
        speak on matters pertaining as much to the „ideology‟ of the School as to its day-to-
        day operation.
1.3.3   The product of an impulse that rejected established conventions, the School has
        been an innovator, a pathfinder whose approaches were distinguished from other
        drama schools in the UK by a number of specific features:
         The teaching of Movement Psychology – the unique system around which the
             School was founded, which correlates inner psychological impulses to physical
         A methodological approach to the study of acting, seen here primarily as an art
         The „total immersion‟ pedagogical approach, reflected in the intensity of the
             student experience
         The emphasis on the „ensemble‟, underpinning the making of engaged, socially-
             aware theatre
         A high level of intellectual endeavour sustaining the craft aspects of the training,
             reflected in the central position of research in most aspects of the curriculum
         An internationalist horizon, reflected as much in the repertoire as in the
             composition of the staff and student body

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                                                                       Self Assessment Document

1.3.4   At the same time, the School displays key features common to all drama
         An emphasis on the acquisition of skills, often of a physical nature, as the basis
           of the emotional and physical development of the artist
         Close links with the professions and industries the School serves, adapting with
           relative speed to their changing needs and being formally advised, monitored
           and, where appropriate, accredited by professionals and employer-led bodies
         An educational model closely aligned to professional patterns of work, such as
           rehearsals or public productions
         A strong preoccupation with the employability of graduates in their chosen fields
           and consequent emphasis on preparation for professional employment and on
           the „marketing‟ of students
         Close links with alumni, who – at the Drama Centre perhaps more than in other,
           similar institutions – take great interest in the development of the School as well
           as in the maintenance of its traditions and ethos.

1.4     Change

1.4.1   In 1999, as a result of changes in the pattern of funding of drama schools nationally,
         the School merged with the then London Institute and joined Central Saint Martins.
         The benefits of the merger to the School have been considerable:
          Relative financial stability assured through cross-support from both College and
          HE grants and loans for the students
          A raft of services available to students: accommodation, learning support,
              health and welfare support, etc.
          Considerably improved remuneration and conditions of employment for the staff
          A greatly improved learning environment following the move from the
              School‟s historical building at Chalk Farm to refurbished premises at Back Hill
          Support for the maintenance of academic rigour through the validation of its
              degrees by a high quality institution such as the University of the Arts
          A rich artistic and intellectual environment provided by the proximity of
              prestigious courses within CSM
          Collaboration with students and staff from sister courses, enriching the
              student experience
1.4.2    In turn, the University has benefited from the addition to its portfolio of a drama
         provider of repute, fulfilling an objective going as far back as the formation of the
         London Institute in 1986 and reflected in successive strategic plans since then. With
         the incorporation of the Drama Centre, the University took a major, concrete step
         towards achieving its strategic aim of adding the full panoply of the performing arts to
         its art, design and communication provision.
1.4.3    The strategic task of the School has therefore been to place its drama expertise at
         the service of the University, significantly increasing the number of drama courses
         available and embedding them through meaningful collaborations with art and design
1.4.4    Additionally, the University added to its list of alumni a large number of working
         actors, writers and directors, some of whom have a high public profile.
1.4.5    At the same time, it must be acknowledged that the merger has not been without
         difficulties. Since these still colour perceptions of the relation between the School
         and the University, it is important to understand that the merger was essentially a
         rushed affair, decided upon primarily at the level of the then Drama Centre Council of
         Management and Principal and executed with no meaningful consultation with either
         staff or students.
1.4.6    Thus, a lack of understanding of the drivers behind the merger and subsequent
         failures in communication on both sides affected severely the atmosphere in which
         the transition to a new leadership of the School was effected in 2001, following the
         retirement – reluctant in spite of their advanced age - of the long-standing, highly
         admired founding Directors of the School. The situation was further exacerbated at
         the end of 2004 by the unexpected death of a senior acting tutor, a long-serving

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                                                                       Self Assessment Document

        member of staff much loved and appreciated by students and staff alike. The scars
        of these eventful years are beginning to heal, yet continue to affect the perceptions of
        students, staff and alumni and in particular their attitude to change.
1.4.7   Against this background, the management of change – especially change as
        extensive and rapid as that which has occurred within the School – has been a
        considerable challenge. It is therefore a testimony to the ability, commitment and
        resilience of the staff and students that they have embraced change in so many
        respects and that, when appropriate scepticism and scrutiny were exercised, these
        were generally done in a constructive spirit. Due to this positive attitude, we are close
        to completing the transformation of the School from a very small, private institution –
        albeit one with a considerable reputation - into a complex drama school operating
        well within a leading HEI, while maintaining the core values and practices which have
        since its foundation given the Drama Centre its distinctive identity.
1.4.8   The main changes have centred around the School‟s integration with College and
        University systems: validation and re-validation of courses (especially in conformity
        with the recently introduced Frameworks); conforming with the QA and management
        structures of the University; taking on board University-wide concerns in, for example,
        international links or spread of provision. The following illustrates the extent and
        speed of the change effected since 2001:

                In October 2001 the School had:           In October 2005 the School had:
                1 course at undergraduate level          4 courses, with 2 at P/G level
                87 students                              166 students
                1 validated discipline: acting           4 validated disciplines: acting,
                                                         directing, screen writing; movement
                2 salaried academic posts, including     7 established posts
                the School Director
                Dilapidated premises in an area           Up to date, central premises and a
                relatively hard to access for             Central London venue for public
                professional contacts                     performances
                A rudimentary careers advisory and        A sophisticated graduate marketing
                support provision, with mediocre          operation, resulting in high levels of
                exposure of students to employers         agent uptake and early employment
                A notoriously strenuous admissions        An appreciated, user-friendly yet
                process, resulting in 364 auditionees     rigorous      admissions        process,
                for the BA Acting in 2000-01              resulting in 2005-06 in over 1500
                                                          applicants for the BA Acting
                A public output of approx. 7 events       A public output of 14 live events (8
                per year (6 plays and an Agents‟          plays, 3 Agents‟ Showcases, Solos
                Showcase)                                 performance, MAP film screenings)
                Some informal industry links              A formal partnership with leading
                                                          theatre company Shakespeare‟s
                                                          Globe (unique in the UK) and high-
                                                          level collaborations with major
                                                          companies and overseas institutions
                                                          (Cheek      by     Jowl,    Vakhtangov
                                                          Institute) as well as internal to UAL –
                                                          BA Theatre (CSM); BA Film (LCC);
                                                          BA Costume, Make Up… (LCF)
                No student exchanges                      International student exchanges with
                                                          Carnegie Mellon, Pierre Debauche
                                                          Company, etc.
                No professional placements                Placements with leading theatre and
                                                          film companies in the UK and in
                                                          Europe (RSC, National Theatre, etc.)
                 Links with alumni limited to fund        A thriving mentoring scheme linking
                 raising                                  students with professionals
In addition, the curriculum of the long-established BA   Acting has been reviewed – the main
changes are listed in Section 5.

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                                                              Self Assessment Document


In accordance with the UAL Medium Term Strategy 2005-10, the Drama Centre aims:

1.      To answer the students‟ needs and aspirations with an innovative curriculum
        that is educationally, socially and professionally relevant (cf. MTS Aims 1,2)
2.      To develop an appropriate research culture with a view to post-2008 RAEs
        (cf. MTS Aim 3)
3.      To secure a sustainable resource base and gradually reduce the level of
        financial cross-support received from the University and College (cf. MTS
        Aim 4)
4.      To attract, retain and develop high quality professional staff (cf. MTS Aim 7)
5.      To enhance collaboration both within UAL and outside it (cf. MTS Aims 9,10)
6.      To maintain and project its professional/educational ethos and identity both
        within the UAL context and to a wider public (cf. MTS Aim 11)

In pursuing these Aims, the School has set itself the following Objectives:

       To continue increasing the number of applicants, in particular at post-
        graduate level
       To be the lead developer of an international research centre in Eastern
       To improve the sustainability of the resource base through:
             Placing the School in a position to meet conservatoire-funding criteria
             Increasing the number and size of full-cost courses, especially a
                Foundation in Performance
             Increase self-generated income
             Improve marketing and related high-profile public events
       To recruit more artistic leaders of high calibre for its public output
       To increase the number and quality of external institutional collaborators,
        both nationally and internationally
       To increase the number of members of staff holding External Examiner
       To consolidate the relationship between students on all courses
       To review the technical resources available to the School with a view to
        ensuring appropriate specialist knowledge and wider availability of support
       To reach an appropriate Service Level Agreement with the Cochrane Theatre
       To secure parity of Library provision with the rest of the University

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                                                                    Self Assessment Document

      3.      MANAGEMENT

3.1   The School is primarily managed by the School Management Team (SMT), which
      meets fortnightly. SMT has the responsibility to:
                Manage the resources allocated by the College Management Team (CMT)
                 (e.g. staffing, consumables budgets, technical resources and
                 accommodation) in the delivery of the School‟s courses
                Manage administrative functions related to student recruitment, enrolment
                 and progression and the recruitment and management of staff
                Advise CMT on the dispersal of budgets managed at College level (e.g.
                 capital equipment, staff development and research)
                Ensure the implementation of the University‟s policies and procedures
                Ensure effective communication in the management structure of the School,
                 College and University.
3.2   The Director of the Drama Centre chairs SMT and its membership comprises of the
      School‟s Administrator and all four Course Directors. The Company Manager attends
      as required. (Unlike larger Schools in the College, the Drama Centre does not have
      established technicians.) Debate is open, with each member having an equal voice,
      though tends to be narrowly focused on operational issues. Debate on matters other
      than operations tends to take place at the Board of Studies, whose wider
      representation enables deeper consideration to take place.
3.3   Established in 2004, following the advent of the MA in Performance and the
      appointment of a discrete Course Director for the BA Directing, SMT is relatively new.
      Its members work harmoniously and co-operatively, though effectiveness could be
      enhanced through a greater sense of participation in the strategic direction of the
      School as a whole, as opposed to strictly course-related issues. At present, SMT
      works well as a group of colleagues – the challenge of the next couple of years is to
      turn it into an effective team.
3.4   Over the last two years several key appointments have been made at School level:
                Course Directors for the BA Directing; MA in Performance; MA in European
                 Classical Acting
                Two 0.5 Lecturers, who also act as Year Tutors to the undergraduate courses
                Following the move to Back Hill and the reorganization of administrative
                 support on the site, the job description of the 0.5 Registrar was changed at
                 her initiative to 0.5 Company Manager
                From the beginning of the 2006-7 session, the School Administrator will
                 devolve her role as Admissions Officer to the Back Hill central administration
                 – this will enable her to carry out more effectively a workload that has
                 increased significantly due to the expansion of the School.
3.5   The academic management of the School functions well, with clear responsibilities
      assigned to Course Directors, whose role and functions are generally well understood
      by staff and students. The roles of Year Tutor [Course Handbooks], while long
      established, have only recently been assigned to newly-appointed established
      members of staff. It is expected that having established members of staff discharging
      these duties will ensure continuity of pastoral and academic support and the build-up
      of expertise in this area.
3.6   The vast majority of academic members of staff are Associate Lecturers who work
      across more than one course, delivering teaching and supervision in specialist areas.
      Teaching across courses means that most members of staff have a sense of the
      overall shape and direction of the School, offering coherence to the teaching, great
      flexibility, ability to adapt teaching practices to a variety of contexts and informal
      networks of mutual support [staff list].
3.7   A related feature is the fact that many members of staff tend to think of themselves as
      belonging to „horizontal‟ discipline-based Departments, as well as to „vertical‟
      Courses. In common with traditional practice in drama schools, certain members of
      staff are recognized by their peers as having a leading academic role in their
      discipline. Staff will often refer to „Heads‟ of Movement, Voice, etc., to acknowledge
      this status and the School is happy to continue with this traditional practice. Within
      the established management structure of the School and the College (where the

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       position of Head of Department was abolished some time ago) these traditional titles
       remain a matter of courtesy only and do not reflect concrete management
       responsibilities. Lack of understanding of this issue has occasionally caused minor
       tensions, which have required management intervention. Formally, management
       structures operate exclusively at Course level, with Course Directors having the sole
       responsibility to assign duties and supervise their discharge.
3.8    The School‟s 0.5 Company Manager is employed for the other half of her time as
       Student Adviser by UAL Student Services, who have an office at the Back Hill site.
       While her welfare duties are spread across the site, it is of benefit to Drama Centre
       students that a member of staff familiar with their work and specific problems can
       offer welfare support, often geared to their specific needs.
3.9    On the other hand, the split between welfare and technical supervision in the duties of
       one person causes regular strains in the latter area. This is particularly apparent in
       the discharge of the routine technical and premises supervision that forms part of the
       job description of the Company Manager, who is not a technician. Her unavoidable
       absence from her Drama Centre office when on Student Services duties means that
       there are regular problems with issuing, retrieving and maintaining technical (mainly
       AV) equipment. Protocols have been established to deal with these issues, but, as
       the School‟s work increasingly involves the use of audio-visual equipment and
       continuous care for this as well as for the physical environment, a thorough review of
       technical support arrangements will have to be undertaken, probably leading to a re-
       assignment of roles and responsibilities in this area.
3.10   The School produces twelve public stage performances per year – these are staffed
       entirely by fee-paid personnel, both artistic (directors, designers, composers, etc.)
       and technical (production manager, wardrobe supervisor, etc.)                 The overall
       supervision of the technical work and of production schedules is part of the duties of
       the Company Manager. She discharges these duties generally well, assuring liaison
       with the Cochrane Theatre and supervising students working in production roles from
       both an academic and a disciplinary point of view.
3.11   Until recently, the School‟s administration fell entirely to a single full time member of
       staff. Her main duties included acting as Admissions Officer, School Administrator,
       School Secretary and PA to the Director. These arrangements, suitable when the
       School only had one course and half the current student and staff establishment, are
       no longer viable. New arrangements in place from 2006 are described below in
       section 11.
3.12   The management of the School was tested during the move to Back Hill in 2004. A
       cross-School working group - with representatives from the student body, academic,
       support and management staff - advised on needs, organised and then monitored the
       move. Communication with students and staff was continuous, seeking to involve as
       many members of the School as possible. It is perhaps inevitable that some long-
       established members of staff, who had worked at Chalk Farm for decades, should
       find the move, in the context of wider change post-merger, a difficult issue. Their
       contribution to the School continues to be highly valued and efforts are being made to
       help integrate them into the new contexts in which the School operates.

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       4.      BENCHMARKING

4.1    All the School‟s courses underwent rigorous academic scrutiny during recent
       validation and revalidation processes, either because they were new or because of
       the need to adapt to Frameworks. In this process reference was made to QAA
       subject benchmarks and to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.
       Members of staff are conversant with these and their relationship to Course and Unit
       learning outcomes.
4.2    Where appropriate, the School makes reference to the QAA Code of Practice:
       recently, relevant sections have been used in defining the conditions of Industrial
       Placements on the BA Directing (see Section 9) and the academic and contractual
       parameters of collaborative provision with the partners in the delivery of the MA in
       Classical European Acting (see Section 2) [Course handbooks; Shakespeare’s Globe
       and Vakhtangov Institute contracts].
4.3    The School‟s BA Acting course is considered a leader in its field, positioned amongst
       the top six professional courses in acting in the UK by a number of measures (see
       Section 14 below). The BA Directing course is relatively new, but builds on the
       reputation of its predecessor - the Diploma in Directing run by the Drama Centre
       between 1969 and 1982, amongst whose graduates are numbered important
       international directors [Prospectus] – as well as benefiting from the leadership of an
       internationally renowned director. The two MA courses are too new to have
       established a prominent public profile: they display, however, a number of original
       features that set them apart from the competition (see Section 11).
4.4    The School‟s competitors are found almost exclusively amongst other leading
       conservatoires of drama in the UK and overseas. An analysis of BA Acting
       applications in 2004 shows that the main schools to which candidates for the Drama
       Centre course also applied were, in order: RADA, LAMDA, CSSD, Guildhall and East
       15 [Board of Studies 10.06.04].
4.5    The School is a long-standing member of the Conference of Drama Schools, the
       umbrella organization representing the top 22 drama schools in the UK. As
       membership of the CDS is based on demanding criteria, the School uses these
       criteria as a useful benchmark and considers that membership distinguishes the
       School as a provider of quality.
4.6    The BA Acting course is accredited by the NCDT, and therefore uses the extensive
       NCDT Criteria for Accreditation as a key benchmark, influencing not only the work of
       the accredited course, but also the curriculum design and delivery of acting provision
       on the two MA courses. The School expects to seek NCDT accreditation for its two
       MA courses when these become qualified. Graduates from accredited courses are
       eligible for membership of Equity, the actors‟ union, thus facilitating employment.
4.7    The School is a corporate member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain, the union
       for directors in all media. Students on the BAD and MAP (Directing Pathway) have
       access to the Guild‟s training activities, while members of staff can attend Guild
4.8    The School Director has since 2000 been the Chairman of the CDS and a Deputy
       Chair of the NCDT. He is also an External Examiner in three institutions, two outside
       the UK; has examined one PhD dissertation and has been on behalf of the Society of
       London Theatres (SOLT – the West End managements) a member of the panel for
       the Laurence Olivier Awards. The Course Director, BA Acting is a regular external
       member of the admissions panel of a leading directing course [Staff CVs].
4.9    Most members of staff are involved in high-level professional practice (see Section
       10) [list of professional activity]. A number of members of staff teach in other
       prestigious institutions, both here and abroad. Members of staff are not at present
       acting as external examiners in other institutions – it is a target of the School to
       increase such activity in the next 3 years.
4.10   The School benefits from the support and advice of two professional groups: an
       Advisory Board composed of leading directors, actors and designers [Prospectus]
       and a more informal Employability Advisory Group comprising a number of key
       agents and Casting Directors [employability group list]. The Advisory Board is

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       convened by the Head of College – her busy schedule has meant that formal
       meetings have not been held recently. However, the School Director meets members
       of the Board regularly and seeks their advice on industry developments and related
       course design and content. Members of the Board attend shows and comment
       verbally on their standards.
4.11   The Employability Advisory Group was formed in autumn 2004 and meets once a
       year to advise the School Director on the standards of graduates presented to the
       profession through the public output of the School.
4.12   Research activity in the School is incipient – while its state of development compares
       reasonably well with other drama conservatoires, it is at a very early stage of
       development in comparison with established University drama departments. The
       University decided not to enter the RAE in the Performing Arts category. The School,
       looking beyond the 2008 RAE, has as a key objective the development of appropriate
       research activity and the Board of Studies has begun preliminary discussions on this
       issue [Board of Studies minutes March 2006].

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                                                                    Self Assessment Document

      5.      QUALITY and STANDARDS

5.1   The School is compliant with the University‟s strong and well-established quality
      assurance framework and implements it effectively to monitor and enhance the
      quality and standards of its courses [University of the Arts London Academic Affairs
      Handbook, Course Monitoring Reports, Course Handbooks].
5.2   The size of the School has precluded the appointment of a discrete School Academic
      Coordinator, a common feature in larger Schools of the College. The School Director
      assumes responsibility for leadership on issues relating to quality and standards, in
      particular the overview of the annual course monitoring process, leadership of internal
      and external review activities and management of academic development within the
      School. The Director works closely with the Academic Services department of the
      College and takes part in appropriate joint activities with Academic Co-ordinators in
      the other three Schools of the College (e.g. College Framework design; minor
5.3   Assuring Academic Quality and Standards is the responsibility of every member of
      the School. Formally the process begins with the Annual Course Monitoring activity.
      This is well embedded on the established BA Acting and evolving positively on the
      more recent BA Directing and MA in Performance. The most recent course, the MA
      European Classical Acting, has yet to complete a full year. The Board of Studies
      session dedicated to Annual Monitoring seeks to identify School-wide trends: this
      process is relatively new, but is already revealing useful areas for improvement [BoS
5.4   In keeping with the high levels of ownership derived from the School‟s traditions,
      student contributions at Course Committees and the Board of Studies are good.
      Board of Studies discussions periodically address fundamental issues to do with the
      direction of the School and/or with ways of measuring progress and achievement
      [BoS – “How Do We Succeed?]. All courses run effective additional regular events
      and meetings in which students can feed back informally to staff – usually on a termly
      basis, these are co-ordinated by the Year Tutors, whose role is then to direct student
      feedback and concerns either to management meetings with the relevant Course
      Directors or to the appropriate Course Committee [Course Committee minutes].
5.5   It is regrettable that at present the College Academic Committee does not include
      student representation from the Drama Centre – such contribution would add a useful
      dimension to the deliberations of the CAC.
5.6   All courses participate in the facilitated feedback sessions organised by the College,
      run by a trained independent facilitator.
5.7   Due to their size and high level of integration, and by agreement with Academic
      Affairs, the two BA courses share one External Examiner. His reports for the BA
      Acting are very positive, highlighting: “In comparison with other similar courses in the
      country, the quality of the students’ work places it among the leaders… The work of
      the students is distinguished by its discipline and concentration, and by a seriousness
      of approach to acting.”
      It has been noted that his Report on the BA Directing has been over-succinct and
      approaches have been made to encourage a more thorough examination of
      standards on that course. As there have been no graduating cohorts from the two
      MA courses, there are as yet no External Examiners‟ reports for these, although the
      two Examiners are in place and have been actively involved.
5.8   External involvement in the School‟s quality processes over the last few years has
      been extensive, with all courses utilising a range of external experts as part of the
      validation, revalidation and frameworking activities.
5.9   Standards are also confirmed through the NCDT, the industry-led accreditation body.
      NCDT monitors the activities of the BA Acting on an on-going basis as well as
      through a cyclical accreditation process. Both the 2002 accreditation report and
      subsequent show reviews offer favourable opinions on the quality of the student
      experience and the employability of graduates [NCDT report; NCDT show reviews].

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      6.      CURRICULUM

6.1   Key to the School‟s work in ensuring curriculum currency is our awareness of industry
      demands and technological change. Whilst some of our courses are long standing,
      others, such as the MA in Performance, represent original, innovative thinking about
      the relationship of the School with the industries it serves. The mixture of tradition
      and innovation is a common strand across all courses.
6.2   Staff professional practice is fundamental to the currency of our curricula. They bring
      up to date knowledge of the industry, garnered through sustained activity in
      significant professional contexts. All curricula have been discussed in detail and
      updated as part of the review, revalidation and frameworking activities and confirmed
      by external panel members to be appropriate [Validation minutes; staff professional
      activities list].
6.3   Student Feedback further confirms high levels of satisfaction relating to academic
      challenge, subject knowledge and practical skills development [Student Facilitated
      Feedback, NCDT report].
6.4   The core of the curriculum is rooted in a classical approach to the study of acting and
      directing: high levels of skills forming the basis for the development of the artistic
      imagination. In parallel, research leads to in-depth analysis from an organic point of
      view and thence to the development of interpretative skills. Live performance in front
      of a paying public remains the key mode of testing the effectiveness of the learning.
6.5   The core repertoire of the BA Acting, BA Directing and MA ECA is classical – this
      determines the focus of the curriculum on certain skills and approaches designed to
      enable emerging actors and directors to address the considerable challenges of the
      classical repertoire.
6.6   At the same time, our courses are known for taking creative risks, for challenging
      accepted norms and for extending the boundaries of their subjects and disciplines.
      Thus, the past five years have seen a re-assessment of the role played by the
      recorded media (film, radio, television) in relation to live performance in the
      structuring of programmes of learning. An increasing awareness that the actors and
      directors of the 21st century need to address themselves to the specific demands of
      the recorded media – inspired by the expertise of the staff, the advice of members of
      the Advisory Board and by specialist reports of the NCDT - has resulted in a number
      of key structural changes in the provision of the School. Most significant amongst
      these are:
                    The introduction of acting for camera from the first year of the BA Acting
                    The introduction of a third year camera project, shared between BA
                     Acting and BA Directing and based on an original evolution of character
                     work based on Character Analysis and Movement Psychology, the
                     unique features of the training at the Drama Centre
                    The validation of the BA Directing, whose students address themselves
                     equally to directing for the stage and for the screen
                    The re-introduction into the curriculum of radio drama provision
                    The opening of the MA in Performance, a course unique in the UK,
                     designed to enable actors, directors and screenwriters to work alongside
                     one another in a learning programme almost entirely focused on the
6.7   It is a widely shared view amongst staff and external observers that vocal studies had
      underperformed at the Drama Centre throughout the nineties. In response, the Voice
      Department of the School was entirely re-formed in 2001 under the aegis of a
      prominent subject leader with extensive professional and educational expertise.
      Sophisticated approaches to classical text and to the development of the actor‟s
      voice, backed by rigorous text interpretation, research and analysis skills, were
      introduced. As a result, voice at the Drama Centre has become a focus of excellence,
      on a par with best practice in leading conservatoires.
6.8   In addition, Drama Centre was one of the early proponents of the input of the
      Movement Director (a role recognised widely on the Continent, but less familiar in

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       British theatre practice) into rehearsal and production – expertise in this area built
       over several decades gives our public and internal productions a distinctive quality.
6.9    An additional change has been the re-balancing of the BA Acting programme to
       regain a „sense of play‟ and comedic skills. The object of extensive discussions at the
       Board of Studies, this area – a major feature of the School‟s curriculum in the first
       twenty years of its existence - was considered by the leadership of the School to have
       fallen into neglect. The reintroduction of mask work into the BA curriculum, extended
       comedy workshops in the Vakhtangov physical tradition at both BA and MA levels
       and changes in the repertoire have all contributed to balancing the demands of
       psychological realism with an emphasis on theatricality. The introduction of mask
       work in particular is a welcome addition to the overall curriculum, as it augments the
       established principle of „play‟.
6.10   In this context it is worth addressing a common misunderstanding that declares the
       Drama Centre to be a „Method‟ school, in the sense of adhering to the ways of
       working of the American Method. This is too narrow a simplification: the teaching of
       acting is primarily Stanislavskian, yet avoids the excesses of internalisation typical of
       some American practitioners, embracing both the Russian and the American
       traditions. To these are added the German expressionist – vivid and communicative -
       viewpoint brought to performance by Rudolf Laban; and the English tradition of
       classical rhetoric developed at the RSC and at Shakespeare‟s Globe.
6.11   The vocational nature of our programmes means that we seek to produce graduates
       who can insert themselves rapidly, without further training, into the professions for
       which they have been prepared. This expectation is shared by the industry, which
       lays down key demands through NCDT accreditation criteria and professional
       feedback. The need to cover a wide variety of skills, the depth of some of the study
       and the repetitive nature of the physical aspects of the training all mean that the
       hours worked by our students are extensive. While in line with other conservatoires
       of drama (and conforming to NCDT and CDS minimum criteria), they are in excess of
       the norms prevalent in Universities. Feedback indicates consistently student
       awareness of the need and desirability of working such hours – indeed, the intensity
       of the programme is one of the reasons quoted most often by students for wishing to
       study at the Drama Centre.
6.12   A common theme across the School‟s curricula is the concern for the employability of
       graduates. A sustained programme of professional preparation is built into all our
       courses. On BA courses, this programme starts as early as the second year - with
       extensive sessions dedicated to audition and interview techniques running all the way
       up to the final weeks of the course. This is working well and has borne fruit in
       relatively high and improving levels of early employment [employment statistics; see
       also Section 9].
6.13   On the BA Directing, a strand of Creative Management classes prepares the students
       for the realities of employment and for running self-managed small-scale companies.
       In addition, two extended placements totalling 17 weeks enable students to become
       familiar with the wok environment through first hand observation, as well as to
       establish networks. These have already resulted in employment at, for example, the
       Royal Shakespeare Company and the Kinderteater, Vienna [list of placements;
       employment statistics; see also Section 9].
6.14   A signal innovation in this area was designed into the curriculum of the MA in
       Performance, which includes two elements of learning built around applications of
       organisational theory to the specific outlook of the screen-based industries. To the
       best of our knowledge, this is the first time that this synergy has been effected in the
       context of a professional acting and directing programme. Designed in collaboration
       with a distinguished organisational psychologist, these course elements are meant to
       give MA students a relatively high level of self-awareness and the tools for
       understanding and managing the complex group dynamics of the film set. Welcomed
       by external specialists for its innovative nature, this strand of classes encountered
       some resistance from students of the first cohort of the course, who did not recognize
       it initially as belonging to the „conservatoire experience‟ [CC and BoS minutes]. After
       extensive discussions with the students and the tutors concerned, a number of
       modifications were made to the programme, enabling the students of the second
       cohort to assimilate this important strand of learning with greater ease. The concept

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       remains an important innovation and the School wishes to continue learning from the
       experience of the MAP students in order to see whether elements of this programme
       may be rolled out in appropriate forms to other courses.
6.15   A third, related concern is the establishment of industry and educational links, both
       nationally and internationally. The design of the MA in European Classical Acting
       posited from its inception a triangular partnership between the Drama Centre, a
       prestigious classical theatre company (Shakespeare’s Globe) and an international
       conservatoire whose important traditions complement those of the Drama Centre
       (The Vakhtangov Institute, Moscow). Possibilities exist within the design of the
       course to increase the number of partners, both nationally and internationally.
6.16   The high standing of the School in the eyes of the industry is reflected in the number
       of quality partners interested in working with us. The School often acts as an informal
       research and development „workshop‟ for companies wishing to experiment in
       preparation for professional projects. In recent years, The London Project, developed
       as a second year project in 2004, has been taken on by the Old Vic Theatre as a
       major production scheduled for January 2007; Declan Donnellan and the Cheek By
       Jowl Theatre Company have used twenty of our students to prepare a forthcoming
       production of Gilgamesh; while Paines Plough and the Unicorn Children’s Theatre
       have carried out workshops to develop new writing projects and/or to try out new
       stylistic approaches [list of industry collaborators]. The realities of the highly
       competitive drama school sector are such that the School is not yet able to derive
       financial benefits from this developmental work; benefits accrue, however, to
       curricular development, to the standing of the School within the profession as well as
       to graduate employment.
6.17   The scale and subject range of the College and University provide an additional,
       distinctive character to our courses and enhance the range and level of resources
       available to students. Courses benefit from opportunities to develop and deliver
       curriculum collaboratively and to contribute to cross-college initiatives. Thus, the two
       undergraduate courses enjoy a close relationship with the BA Theatre: Design for
       Performance course in the School of Art and contribute to the delivery of its
       curriculum. The School has enjoyed occasional collaborations with the BA Costume,
       Make-up and Prosthetics at LCF. Both BA and MA students use the sound facilities
       at LCC for their radio drama studies, while the MA in Performance course
       collaborates with LCF‟s Diploma in Image Styling for Performance and with the BA
       Criticism, Communication and Curation (CSM). There has been a teacher exchange
       with LCC‟s BA in Film Studies. The School also contributes annually to University
       events such as the conferment and degree ceremonies.
6.18   It should be said, however, that over the past years the School has made a number of
       approaches for collaboration to several entities of the University, often without
       success. There is a feeling sometimes that our subject area is regarded with
       indifference and at times even hostility. The overwhelming prevalence of the phrase
       “art and design” in almost any significant discourse within the University (including the
       Medium Term Strategy) is symptomatic of the long journey we all have to take before
       performance in general and drama in particular are fully integrated parts of the culture
       of the University of the Arts. This might account for a certain feeling of frustration on
       the part of staff and students, who feel that an attitude of openness on their part is not
       always reciprocated.

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      7.      LEARNING and TEACHING

7.1   Underpinning learning within the School is the fundamental belief that acting and
      directing are psycho-physical endeavours and that a direct, mutually reinforcing
      relationship exists between inner psychological impulses and physical expression.
      Students are encouraged to develop both aspects in tandem: to enrich their
      emotions, senses, thinking and intuition as sources of imagination and creativity; to
      become aware and eventually to be in control of their modes of bodily expression.
      Above all, they are given ways of understanding the fundamental principles which link
      internal processes with perceptible expression and thus to control and manipulate
      them in the service of the communication of meaning.
7.2   The School‟s approach to learning and teaching is characterised by the following key
      features [Course Handbooks; BoS minutes]:
              High levels of integration between disciplines, enabling reflection on and
               understanding of the holistic nature of the education and the artistic
               endeavour this underpins
              An explicit, conscious methodology enabling a systematic approach to
               solving acting-related problems
              Training modelled on accepted industry practices and work patterns
              A prominent role given to the acquisition of skills, some highly physical in
              The wide use of project-based learning, with extensive demands for
               independent research and preparation, often in group activities
              A gradual move from close tutorial support to independent assumption of
               responsibility for learning, preparing the students for direct entry into work.
7.3   In its 2002 accreditation Report for the BA Acting, the NCDT panel commented:
      “Focus, thoroughness, application and attention to detail characterised all Acting
      classes…all students commanded [from the first year] a common language in which
      acting could be discussed [p. 6]… The Panel was consistently impressed by the
      cohesion of the teaching of the school, with practically every tutor cross-referencing
      the students to other disciplines and classes [p.10]…Drama Centre treats the
      business of acting with high seriousness and has evolved influential training methods.
      The culture is one of patient development and profound enquiry…The panel
      recognizes the value of this unique and distinctive training for the classical theatre
      and the necessity of maintaining its practices [p.12].
7.4   A related aspect is the existence and implementation of the Drama Centre‟s Code of
      Professional Practice [Course Handbooks]. This seeks to apply to the learning
      programme norms of discipline, punctuality and preparation prevalent in the industry.
      The Code is administered by a combination of students and staff, through the joint
      Disciplinary Advisory Boards. Student feedback indicates the continuous desire to
      see the Code and the rules derived from it applied rigorously. Application has at
      times been inconsistent and members of staff welcome periodical reminders from
      student representatives about the need to maintain rigour in this area. It should be
      noted that the implementation of the Code can cut across University regulations and
      this may inhibit the staff from applying the Code in full.
7.5   The search for independence of learning is reflected in the School‟s attitude to
      research, which involves the students in social situations mirroring research activities:
      teamwork, presentations and performances. Personally motivated and directed
      research, in forms and with objectives appropriate to the art of the performer,
      pervades all learning activities within the School. The methodological approach to
      acting and directing implies the need for students to investigate themselves, their
      bodies and their psyches in search of raw material for their creative work. Research
      into the self in placed in the context of research into the historical, cultural and
      sociological context of theatre and film in general and in particular with regard to the
      texts with which the students engage in performance. Such research is undertaken
      both individually and in small groups, is recorded in directors‟ and actors‟ journals
      prior to being communicated in theatrical forms and exposed to the critical scrutiny of
      peers. The School considers that the dissemination of research primarily through
      performance-based projects constitutes an innovative method of learning, highly

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       appropriate to the needs and interests of performance students [Student journals; BA
       students re. Theatre Analysis projects].
7.6    Rehearsal and performance (whether internal or public) remain at the heart of the
       learning process. They offer a regular, cyclical opportunity for students to attempt to
       integrate learning derived from individual research and practice in the class and
       workshop. They also provide an invaluable means of testing both conscious and sub-
       conscious processes in the crucible of the live performance and evaluate progress in
       the light of that experience. Finally, they inculcate patterns of work that emulate
       professional rehearsal methods and thus enable emerging performers to inhabit
       these organically, ready for the challenges of professional work.
7.7    In this context, staff and students alike give a great deal of thought and attention to
       the selection of performance material and to casting. Casting, seen as a key learning
       tool, is primarily developmental, offering students the opportunity either to consolidate
       hard-won gains or to seek to expand their range in new directions. While casting and
       the allocation of material for directors is essentially the responsibility of the respective
       Course Directors (closely advised by tutors through Progress Committees and with
       the School Director retaining an overview), students are able to enter into dialogue
       regarding their perceived needs and aspirations. At the end of Stage II of the BA
       Acting a formal tutorial is held with every student, at which an indication is given
       regarding likely challenges in the public performances of Stage III. In common with
       all drama schools and professional companies, there are sometimes divergences of
       opinion between students and tutors regarding the size and type of roles allocated.
       Such divergences have tended to decrease in the past couple of years, reflecting a
       clearer understanding of the developmental nature of casting decisions and a greater
       concordance of views between students and tutors regarding the role and function of
       public productions [Student Feedback; Annual Monitoring Report].
7.8    Adding to the sense of realism is the extensive programme of professional guest
       speakers, industry visitors and placements (for BA Directing), which make very real
       the challenges and possibilities of working in the theatre and related industries [list of
       guest speakers; list of BAD placements].
7.9    An additional dimension is added by the participation of students in national
       competitions open to drama schools. Besides the financial and exposure benefits of
       these competitions and festivals (see Sections 9 and 11), participation serves as a
       useful learning mode, exposing the students to professional scrutiny and allowing
       them to work side-by-side with peers from other leading drama schools.
7.10   As part of the frameworking process, Personal Professional Development (PPD) has
       being introduced to all courses, supporting the already high levels of professional
       preparation activities undertaken in the School and thus reinforcing the employability-
       related aims of our courses.
7.11   Based on the responses from the Student Facilitated Feedback, satisfaction with the
       quality of learning and teaching is high, while the NCDT Report recorded that
       students “are clearly delighted with most aspects of the school” [student feedback;
       NCDT Report p. 4].
7.12   Within the constraints of College-wide quotas in these areas, the School is making
       steady progress in achieving targets in teacher training, accreditation and peer
       observation. One established member of staff has completed a CLTAD Certificate;
       another undertook a PhD supervision course. A second member of staff started her
       CLTAD certificate at Easter. The peer observation scheme has worked well for the
       past three years, with almost all key staff (established and AL) having participated in
       the scheme at least once and in many cases twice. The School is keen to extend
       participation in the scheme widely across the College – the first such exchanges with
       colleagues from BA Theatre have proved rewarding [Staff CVs; list of peer
7.13   At the end of 2005 the School started rolling out the use of Blackboard, initially at MA
       level. This has been done in-house, through the agency of a newly arrived Course
       Director who also holds a Fellowship in the use of technology for learning and
       teaching at Goldsmith‟s College. Blackboard is already used extensively and to good
       effect on the MA ECA, where learning off-base renders it particularly effective. MAP
       has also taken up Blackboard and the two BA courses should be fully conversant with
       the system by the end of 2007.

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8.1   Assessment strategies are in compliance with University policy, and are described in
      detail in each Course Handbook. The BA Acting course has been unitized since its
      original validation by the University of Central Lancashire in the early 1990s and
      maintained this structure after validation by the then London Institute in 1999. In
      consequence, long-standing members of staff have been familiar with Learning
      Outcome-based assessment for some time. Careful attention has been given of late
      to explaining the differences between formative and summative assessment, to
      ensure students become familiar with the difference between advice and judgement.
      Following frameworking, the BA Directing course is beginning to deploy peer and self-
      assessment as key elements of independent learning. The School will evaluate the
      success of these strategies with a view to rolling them out to other courses.
8.2   The School as a whole took the opportunity presented by Frameworks to review in
      depth those aspects of its assessment strategy that deal specifically with moderation
      and parity checking. Following this review, the School adopted a system of Unit
      assessment based on the Inter-Departmental Assessment Panel (IDAP) – a sub-
      group of the Board of Examiners which comprises representatives of the key
      disciplines taught on each course, arriving collectively at a Unit grade after
      substantive discussion. The evidence of the first year of operation of the IDAP is that
      the system works well and is becoming embedded. However, it must be stressed
      that at present the School operates two different systems of assessment, with BA
      Stages II and III still under the old regime, based on year-long Units and longitudinal
      Components. Course Directors, as Chairs of the IDAPs, maintain a watching brief on
      this issue so as to avoid confusion [Course Handbooks; Examination And Related
      Administrative Practice Paper].
8.3   With frameworked courses in operation, a shift in culture is gradually taking place in
      the School, moving towards the assessment of learning as evidenced through the
      achievement of Unit Learning Outcomes in more than one class or discipline.
      Assessment on all courses is carried out as much on a continuous basis, through the
      observation of work throughout a Unit, as through the evaluation of a final piece of
      work such as a presentation or performance.
8.4   The collective nature of performance activities means that assessment of individual
      achievement is often carried out in the context of a group activity. Course Handbooks
      now contain a statement explaining how this is done. Members of staff have built
      expertise in this area, which is reinforced – as are standards – through the debates
      taking place within IDAPs. Once course IDAPs have become fully embedded, the
      School would wish to create a periodical forum for exchanges of views and
      discussion of standards across IDAPs.
8.5   A specific feature of assessment on all courses at the Drama Centre is the inclusion
      of the Code of Professional Conduct as a Learning Outcome in all Units. (see Section
      7 above)
8.6   Students across the School are familiar with and make use of the University‟s
      Extenuating Circumstance procedures. There has been a significant increase in the
      number of claims made and considered over the last two years. While the School
      wishes to continue to encourage students to make wide use of Extenuating
      Circumstances forms, which often reveal significant factors affecting achievement,
      advice is also increasingly given to students through the Student Adviser seeking to
      prevent trivial or inappropriate use of the form.
8.7   Appeals are rare. Of the three appeals lodged before the University‟s Appeals
      Committee since 2001, only one was allowed and even in that case this was due to
      an administrative error on the part of the College.
8.8   In line with normal practice, the Director of the School chairs the Boards of Examiners
      for the MA courses. However, as the Director teaches and directs on BA courses and
      is therefore involved in assessment, the Dean of the School of Fashion or nominee
      has assumed Chairmanship of BA Boards. The School is most grateful to her and to
      the School of Fashion Administrator for their dedication and expertise as Chair and
      Clerk to the Boards respectively.
8.9   Academic tutorials and feedback are delivered at the end of every presentation of
      work (on BA courses normally once a term) in the form of a „carousel‟ whereby

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       students are seen either individually or in small groups by key tutors who comment in
       detail on the performance under discussion in the context of the term‟s work and of
       the overall development of the student. This procedure matches and in many cases
       exceeds the minimum tutorial entitlement determined by the University. The nature of
       the training and the size of the courses also enable frequent informal tutorials of both
       an academic and a pastoral nature.
8.10   The assessment and examination processes are, in the view of the External
       Examiner,”entirely appropriate, with proper weight being given to practical work”
       [External Examiner report 2004].

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9.1   The School and College expect BA graduation of around 90% and MA graduation of
      some 85% [College targets spreadsheet]. Against these targets, student retention on
      the BA Acting is good. While small numbers skew statistics for the BA Directing, in
      raw numbers retention on BAD is patchy and has given rise to debate at Course
      Committee, management meetings and at the Board of Studies. It is too early to
      make a judgement on retention rates for the MA in Performance – however, the
      Board of Studies noted with concern the high proportion of non-progressing students
      within the first cohort. The second cohort appears more stable, but the situation will
      continue to be monitored closely. At the time of writing the first cohort of the MA ECA
      is very stable. A number of measures have been put in place regarding the two
      courses where retention is of concern:
               Greater clarity in the profile of the courses in publications
               A careful induction of incoming students
               A re-assessment of the criteria for admission and consequent re-briefing of
                members of Admissions Panels
9.2   Graduate cohort profiles are good: the number of first class degrees is in line with
      University norms, while in 2004-5 the School had the highest proportion of 2.1
      degrees in the University. In the past five years no third class degrees were awarded
      – we believe this is a reflection of the high standards at entry, itself a function of the
      high number of applicants per place (see Section 14), as well as of the motivation and
      hard work of most of our students. The University has been unable to provide either
      to the School or to ASDC national statistics for drama courses and it is therefore
      difficult to judge where our BA courses stand nationally in this respect [Course
      statistics; ASDC minutes].
9.3   It is too early to say whether, desirable as it is, progression from undergraduate to
      postgraduate courses within the School might become a reality. In view of the
      intensely vocational nature of our undergraduate courses, a likely scenario is that
      undergraduates may return to higher study after a few years in the profession.
9.4   In a conservatoire of drama dedicated to professional as well as academic outcomes,
      the employability of graduates is considered an important measure of quality. In
      recent years, the employability of our graduates has grown considerably, both in
      terms of the speed with which they have obtained their first jobs and in terms of the
      quantity and quality of their employment. For a comprehensive view, we have
      provided detailed graduate profile samples [graduate profile lists]. A few examples
      may illustrate:
               A student still on the BA Acting course played the young lead in Joe Orton‟s
                What the Butler Saw in the West End in the summer between his second and
                third years and the lead in The Rotters’ Club, BBC1‟s major series of the
                2004-5 season.
               Last autumn the Royal Shakespeare Company employed four graduates of
                the July 2005 BA cohort – three actors and an assistant director. All four had
                obtained top honours degrees – a case of academic achievement matching
                the judgement of the profession.
               In 2006 two students still on the MA in Performance course obtained
                employment on a prestigious television series.
9.5   The School has been particularly successful in recent years in the major competition
      for acting students, the Laurence Olivier Bursary, where Drama Centre students
      succeeded in winning the top award twice in the last four years. An impressive list of
      other scholarships and bursaries includes recent success in another major
      competition, the Rothermere Bursary, as well as sustained success over a number of
      years in all the major awards available to drama students: the John Gielgud Bursary,
      the Lillian Bayliss Award, etc. [list of awards and bursaries].
9.6   Drama Centre students acquit themselves well in the Poel (now Wanamaker)
      Festival, the annual display of „Jacobethan‟ theatre skills which takes place at
      Shakespeare’s Globe. However, in the annual radio drama competition, the Carleton
      Hobbs Award, our teams have done less well since the reintroduction of radio drama
      teaching in 2001. Historically the exclusive province of undergraduate acting

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students, the Carleton Hobbs teams have of late included a mixture of BAA and MAP
students – this is a positive development and the Course Directors and radio tutor will
have to address themselves to improving performance at this important event.

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10.1   Staff research at the Drama Centre is mainly in the form of individual scholarship;
       formal research is incipient only. Discussions took place in the second half of 2005
       between members of staff and a recently appointed member of the College Research
       Office (who has unfortunately left since) to focus staff research interests. This is
       beginning to bear fruit, with the first AHRC bid success being recorded by our tutor in
       Acting for Camera.
10.2   Some fruitful cross-disciplinary research collaborations have been established
       between a small number of members of staff and researchers in art and design
       disciplines in other Schools within the College. One PhD student is currently being
       supervised within the School, in a subject straddling acting and animation.
10.3   The School benefits from the input of high profile Visiting Professors: Adrian Noble,
       for ten years Artistic Director of the RSC and an international director of high
       standing, and Mark Rylance, until recently Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe,
       provide expert input linked to our core concerns with the modern interpretation of the
10.4   However, the work balance between research and teaching for permanent teaching
       staff (particularly the full time School Director and Course Directors) is proving
       challenging, in particular in the context of rapid change within the Centre and minimal
       support from the College research budget (£8,000 in 05-6).
10.5   The College and University decided not to enter the 2008 RAE in the Performing Arts
       category. This decision recognised the emerging nature of research in this area and
       the need for a gradual evolution of research activities in the format recognised by the
       RAE. At the same time, as the University becomes more and more focused on RAE-
       related concerns in art and design in the lead up to 2008, support and interest in the
       development of performance is flagging, while the Drama Centre needs to remain
       focused on longer-term goals, with the successor to the 2008 RAE in sight.
10.6   Weighing heavily in the deliberations leading up to the decision not to enter the RAE
       was the recognition that drama departments with a strong emphasis on practice in
       general and vocational drama schools in particular fared poorly in the two previous
       RAEs, whose panels appeared to value primarily theoretical and historical concerns.
10.7   The School‟s research strategy gradually evolving in this context centres mainly on
       research teams being formed across different types of staff: established full time,
       fractional, ALs; as well as researchers from outside the School. This is designed to
       spread the research workload in relation to teaching, to develop and spread research
       expertise and to enhance the research focus of staff through a mutually supportive
       network. An ambitious project provisionally entitled Stalin’s Theatre is currently being
       set up on these lines. At the same time, research based in the individual professional
       practice of the staff is extensive: colleagues have published books, poetry and
       criticism; have directed feature films and plays at a high level; acted in leading roles;
       have composed and gave concerts internationally [list of professional activity].
10.8   Scholarship and professional activity are feeding back into the curriculum effectively:
               The long-standing work of our Senior Tutor in Voice on „original practice‟ at
                Shakespeare’s Globe, coupled with the publication of his recent, much-
                praised book, inform the curriculum and teaching methods of the entire voice
               The recent work of our Senior Tutor in Movement as Movement Director on
                an international film shot in Germany and Switzerland has enabled her to re-
                examine her teaching on the MA in Performance with a high awareness of
                the needs of acting for camera.
               Equally, the recent work of our lecturer in Speech and Dialect as Dialect
                Coach on Steven Spielberg‟s Munich led to further consideration of both
                content and form of voice classes on this screen-orientated course. (Staff
                Professional Practice list; Staff CVs).
10.9   The School now needs to develop and put into effect a coherent research
       strategy. Our long-term aims in terms of research are:

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        To develop further the direct and relevant relationship between both subject-
         based and pedagogic research of international currency and the development
         of taught courses, curricula and course delivery.
        To develop and implement a research strategy which is distinctive and
         appropriate to a drama conservatoire within a University of the Arts, carving
         out a niche area for both subject and pedagogical research.
        To develop cross-disciplinary areas of research which benefit from
         collaboration with art and design subjects as well as with other performance
In this context, initial consultation indicates that a research niche exists in relation to
Eastern performance and the School wishes to pursue this actively as a key priority of
its next phase of development.

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11.1   The School benefits from and supports a dedicated team of specialist academic and
       support staff, whose main aim is to ensure the highest quality student experience in
       relation to the available resource.
11.2   As was noted in a recent Director‟s Report, the relatively narrow focus of the
       disciplines taught within the School, as well as its traditions, have meant that the staff
       team shares a cohesive philosophy. Based on this shared ideology, the School
       enjoys a strong sense of identity. In this context, points of reference tend to be
       mainly external to the University: other conservatoires of drama, both in this country
       and abroad; or professional companies whose work the School wishes to emulate or
       whose practice it wishes to critique.
11.3   The School has 1 managerial/academic post; 6 academic and 2 support established
       posts. Staffing includes the dedicated contribution of a relatively large number of
       Associated Lecturers, accompanists, visiting directors, designers, production
       managers and technicians. (staff CVs, list of ALs; list of production staff]
11.4   Staff Development priorities are identified annually, mainly through appraisal, but also
       through School Management Team and Board of Studies in relation to University
       priorities, special projects and initiatives [list of staff development activities].
11.5   There is increasingly an awareness of the strength to be gained from the University
       and College contexts, with possibilities of enrichment through the diversity and
       breadth of subject provision within the University.
11.6   In addition to University-level staff development opportunities, the School benefits
       from a centrally organised, College-wide programme, focused through two staff
       development weeks. Individual staff members undertake a wide variety of staff
       development activities, ranging from IT upskilling to personal development and
       training [staff development activities].
11.7   In addition, the School elected in the first years after the merger to spend its (very
       modest) budget allocation for staff development on group activities designed to induct
       staff in key University, College and School concerns. These took the form of „away
       days‟, usually at the beginning of a session, and proved beneficial in enabling staff to
       familiarize themselves with issues and policies of general interest.
11.8   In the last couple of years this need became a little less acute and the School initiated
       a more pro-active role in the development of individual members of staff. The recent
       induction into Blackboard is a case in point; activity related to the partnership with the
       Vakhtangov Institute is another.

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12.1   The distribution of learning resources within the School is dominated by the large part
       played by teaching costs within the overall budget. This is offset to some extent by
       the „lean‟ administrative support in place, as well as by the reliance on fee-paid
       visiting artists and technicians for some of the curriculum delivery. Nevertheless, the
       relatively high cost of drama provision has meant that – under terms agreed at the
       time of the merger – provision at the Drama Centre has necessitated a measure of
       cross-subsidy from both University and College.
12.2   The question of sustainability has therefore been foremost in the mind of the School‟s
       management for the past five years. A strategy was put in place, which seeks to
       ensure that the resources associated with conservatoire provision are maintained,
       while at the same time the need for cross-subsidy is minimised. As well as
       maintaining a close watch on costs, income has been diversified and increased
                The introduction of a full cost course
                The introduction of premium fees for the MA in Performance
                Increases in earned income
12.3   At the same time, staff and management are united in the view that the raison d’etre
       of the School - indeed its value to both profession and University – remains the
       quality of its conservatoire provision. The maintenance of the resource base for such
       provision is therefore a major strategic goal. As such, in parallel with the search for
       self-reliance, the School seeks to position itself appropriately for the major review of
       teaching funding due in 2008, included in which is expected to be a review of
       conservatoire funding. Early signals are that amongst the indicators likely to be used
       by HEFCE in determining access to premium funding are:
                An existing, high level of teaching resource expressed in contact hours
                High-level public facilities, such as theatres, etc.
                Graduate employment record (expected to be at 75%+)
                Peer esteem, including NCDT accreditation
       Wishing to bid from a strong base for premium funding in 2008-9, the School seeks to
       maintain the current resource base unchanged in the intervening period.
12.4   The School makes sustained efforts to generate income. Significant features are:
                Ticket prices and sales increased following the move of public performances
                 to the Cochrane Theatre
                Advertising secured for leaflets and programmes
                A donation secured from the Garrick Club
                Audition fees under review in line with the rest of the conservatoire sector
                An event held with Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow in support of College and
                 University development activities. Other, similar events are planned for 2006.
12.5   The move to Back Hill, achieved successfully in August 2004, has completely re-set
       the learning environment of the School. Almost all activities are now on one site
       (radio drama being the – hopefully temporary – exception); the teaching environment
       has improved considerably; the new Library and equipment are of a high standard.
       Established members of staff now have dedicated offices. The School Administrator
       and the Company Manager also have improved working conditions.
12.6   It is a testimony to the patience of staff and students and to the effectiveness of the
       open channels of communications present in the School that the strained „snagging‟
       period that followed the move did not cause major disruption to essential aspects of
       the work. Students, who were involved throughout the move and „snagging‟ periods,
       made – and continue to make – useful suggestions for improvement and have found
       ways, often idiosyncratic, of making the new spaces their own. Further work needs to
       be done to create a friendlier environment in the student common areas and in the
       staff room.
12.7   Performing in a Central London venue is an additional, major benefit of the move.
       However, the Cochrane‟s ability to accommodate the educational needs of the School
       is more limited than previous provision at Chalk Farm. Due to the Cochrane‟s
       commercial needs, a major reorganisation of the undergraduate Stage I programme

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        had to be undertaken which - coupled with the costly, though planned, organisation of
        elements of the MA in Performance to take account of Cochrane schedules - has
        stretched the ability of the School to accommodate Cochrane requirements. Further
        adjustments will be difficult to make and the situation will need to be monitored
        closely in collaboration with the Cochrane Advisory Board. The latter, for a long time
        dormant, is now meeting with greater regularity and has the potential to become a
        useful forum for the resolution of at least some of these difficulties. A service-level
        agreement between the Cochrane and the School – somewhat overdue - is also
        expected to clarify, if not actually improve, both access to and support from, the
        Cochrane Theatre. The resolution of these issues is a key priority of the forthcoming
12.8    Production budgets and technical support for public performances are very tight, do
        not compare favourably with our main competitors in the drama conservatoire sector
        and can be said to offer the students an experience somewhat short of the
        expectations of industry.
12.9    The advent of the MA in Performance entailed growth in the audio-visual technology
        available within the School, necessitating in turn higher expertise and management
        skills from the staff. As this has not always been forthcoming, palliative measures,
        such as the outsourcing of maintenance contracts, were taken within available
        resources. Tight budgetary constraints caused by under-recruitment at University
        level have, however, prevented fully addressing this issue. It is expected that an
        improved budgetary position next year, coupled with a re-alignment of AL staffing and
        improved effectiveness of the work of the Company Manager in this area will resolve
        the main outstanding issues.
12.10   Improved library and TV studio facilities are also present at Back Hill, where the new
        Library provides a core collection specialising in performance. We are expecting the
        completion of the planned refurbishment of the sound studio and of the entrance
        lobby to the building.
12.11   As part of a University-wide provision, Library and Learning Resources operates via
        its strategic plans and annual operating plans while also supporting a high level of
        academic liaison and involvement in the School‟s Course Committees and Board of
        Studies. This facilitates effective monitoring and directs the development of the LLR
        service. The staff support includes the services of a dedicated subject librarian, who
        provides a service of high quality. The site librarian liaises regularly with members of
        academic staff, who make suggestions for additions to stock. Library user
        expectations of the service continue to increase.
12.12   The Back Hill Library has increased its stock considerably. The library budget for the
        School‟s courses has increased significantly in the last five years and extra funds
        have been allocated to developing the stock. In addition to LLR-financed purchases,
        donations of books and other materials were received from alumni and staff. A high
        level of purchasing must be maintained for the Library to come to the level of leading
        provision amongst our competitors.
12.13   Library opening hours remain a source of constant frustration, signalled repeatedly in
        course monitoring and at the Board of Studies. Extensive discussions have been held
        with LLR at College and University levels and an extension, as well as reorganisation,
        of opening hours were effected in 2005. However, a further extension needs to occur
        if parity of provision is to be assured with other students in the University. Proposals
        for the extension of opening hours were included in an LLR-wide review which took
        place in 2005 and have now been forwarded to the Director of LLR, who is due to
        take a report, recommendations and costings to University management in 2006.
12.14   Administrative support has been under severe pressure in recent years in two main
        areas: admissions and timetabling/room allocation. This resulted at times in a
        reduction in the high levels of service in which our School support staff take pride. To
        remedy this situation, the School reorganised administrative support on the following
                 In 2005 the School began the move of its timetables and room allocation
                  systems to Syllabus Plus. This has proved a laborious and time-consuming
                  process, coming as it did at the same time as increases in provision. With
                  the help of University experts and of a dedicated administrative officer, the

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                 process is now nearly complete and has resulted in space savings as well as
                 rationalization of the timetable.
                In 2006 we began the process of devolving most of the admission processes
                 to the central College offices. This is a welcome development, yet leaves the
                 School with the challenge of maintaining the personalized level of contact
                 that is a hallmark of our main competitors. These measures have enabled us
                 to re-assign tasks within our own administrative support team, improving
                 areas such as committee support and company management.
                A re-appraisal of the role and functions of the Finance Officer post – following
                 its incorporation into the central Back Hill office - may offer further
                 improvements in timetabling, resource planning and equipment acquisition.
                 At present, deficiencies in this service are the object of continuing discussion
                 and monitoring by the School and College.
12.15   Space resources remain a major concern, in spite of increased efficiency of usage.
        At peak times, there is high competition for common spaces within the Back Hill
        building. Within the dedicated School floor, there is a chronic dearth of small practice
        rooms and students have to make impromptu use of corridor and other spaces in
        order to rehearse or practice individual or small group material. This is not an
        uncommon problem in drama schools – what is uncommon, however, is the space
        allocation per student, which at 9.8m2 is marginally worse than the CSM average
        (10.6m2), and compares unfavourably with the HEFCE-designated conservatoire
        allocation of 14m2 [Audit of Performance Provision – UMT 25.10.05]
12.16   The three dedicated studios at Back Hill were designed to serve as both
        movement/dance studios and rehearsal spaces. Through an unforeseen design fault,
        the floors provided, while well sprung, have proved to be too slippery and thus a
        potential Health and Safety hazard. Despite numerous enquiries, expert visits and
        advice from a number of quarters, we are yet to find a permanent solution. In the
        meantime, risk assessments have been carried out and where necessary tutors
        instructed to adjust their working practice to the risk involved.
12.17   Open access computers available to students were initially slow and technically poor,
        but have improved since 2004-5.
12.18   Following the move to Back Hill, the long working hours of the School have resulted
        in overtime expenditure necessary to deliver the appropriate opening hours. The use
        of the building for MA in Performance units delivered in August also causes additional

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        13.     STUDENT SUPPORT

13.1    Students are offered support and guidance from the School and specialist University
        teams from point of enquiry onwards. A recent revision of Programme Specifications
        has added specific criteria for selection to the text, reflecting course-based audition
        assessment forms. Once offered a place on a course, students are supported both
        through pre-arrival information packs and through direct contact by phone and email
        with the Admissions Officer, who sometimes refers enquiries to Course Directors or
        specialist tutors. All students are issued with comprehensive Course Handbooks and
        copies of Student Zone on enrolment [Course Handbooks; Student Zone; Audition
        Assessment Forms; Induction Packs].
13.2    All students are provided with an induction to their courses, the School and the
        University. Detailed activities such as introductions to College IT and LLR facilities
        (both direct and on line) are incorporated into the early periods of all courses.
        Following student feedback in 2004, we are undertaking a review of undergraduate
        induction – changes have been made, but ongoing clarification and improvements are
13.3    In general, academic support and guidance are valued highly by students. All
        courses comply with the existing College entitlement of a minimum of two academic
        tutorials per year and usually exceed it (see par. 8.9 above).
13.4    Referral to specialist support areas of the University, including Student Advisers and
        disability support coordinators works well, with students who make use of these
        services generally valuing them [Student Feedback].
13.5    In addition, the Student Adviser provides a specialist referral service for problems –
        such as physical injuries; additional dialect coaching, etc. – specific to drama
13.6    Following the move from Chalk Farm and the parallel increase in courses and
        students, BAA students felt that support provided by the 0.5 Student Adviser - who
        had hitherto been solely dedicated to working with BA students - was being diluted.
        The fact that she was situated in another part of the building added to this sense of
        loss. In fact, the provision of welfare support across the Back Hill building increased
        from 0.5 FTE to 1FTE, and students are encouraged to make use of the services of
        both Student Advisers, alongside colleagues from other courses on the Back Hill site.
13.7    The Friends of the Drama Centre London - the Drama Centre‟s alumni organization
        and an independent trust dedicated solely to supporting our students‟ welfare - often
        provides funds for specialist referrals as well as modest financial support for students
        in difficulty. The Friends’ Committee also administers the scholarships and bursaries
        given to the Drama Centre by specialist charities. Growing success in obtaining such
        bursaries has been one of the signal achievements of the past five years [list of
        bursaries and scholarships].
13.8    Individual alumni and other professionals are directly involved in a „mentoring‟
        scheme which pairs experienced actors and directors with BA and MA students who
        are about to graduate and helps to bridge the, often difficult, period between
        graduation and employment. Initially sporadic, this scheme is now embedded and
        comprehensive following the designation of an established member of staff to
        organize it. The range of mentors increasingly responds to individual student needs
        and requests [list of mentors].
13.9    A particular feature of student life at the Drama Centre is the existence of a Student
        Representative Council, elected annually by the student body. Members of the
        Council provide a number of services for their colleagues, while the Chief Executive
        Officer of the Council sits as of right on the Board of Studies and represents the
        students on School-wide matters. A second elected student official liaises with the
        University Student Union.
13.10   The Chief Executive Officer has been recently in dialogue with the President of the
        UAL Student Union as well as with the Rector, bringing the views of the Drama
        Centre student body to bear on current debates regarding the student experience. In
        particular, the CEO was able to represent the needs of his colleagues in relation to
        Library provision and the proposed „sports day‟.
13.11   The Student Representative Council provides a number of highly-valued services to

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                 In-house induction by students for students: advanced BA students offer a
                  „mentoring‟ service to new arrivals, which ranges from orientation in London
                  to academic matters (often issues relating to work load) and social aspects of
                  student life.
                 Social events, from the „formal‟ Initiation Party at the start of the year to
                  regular informal gatherings.
                 A football team which takes part (successfully) in both University-wide
                  competitions (1 place in 2005) and in a competition between drama school
                  teams sponsored by the Conference of Drama Schools.
13.12   Originally directed towards undergraduate students, these services have had to be
        re-evaluated following the recent advent of postgraduate students. Students have
        voiced the desire to extend the „community feeling‟ across courses and levels and
        have begun organising cross-School events to facilitate this.
13.13   Student feedback indicated that BAD students perceived a lack of parity of esteem
        with BAA, in particular in relation to attendance at internal shows. Rescheduling of
        BAD shows has both permitted and required other students in the School to see the
        work of BAD colleagues, with recent shows being well attended.
13.14   At Course level, each year is allocated a Year Tutor who provides the first port of call
        on both academic and pastoral matters. Year Tutors sit on Course Committees, as
        do student year representatives. Course Directors have traditionally played a key
        role in student support – growing administrative loads sometimes mean that the
        student experience suffers and Course Directors increasingly rely on Year Tutors to
        deliver first-call support.
13.15   The School benefits from the services of a dedicated Casting Adviser, a leading
        Casting Director, who guides final year students in all matters relating to job
        applications and presentation. She is also instrumental in organising an extensive
        programme of professional preparation including a range of professional contacts [list
        of visiting professionals].

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               14                 RECRUITMENT and ADMISSIONS

14.1           Recruitment for undergraduate courses is particularly strong, with the BAA recording
               the highest number of applications for a course in the University of the Arts. BAD,
               while a relatively new course in a highly specialized subject, has also recorded high
               application numbers for a course of this type.
14.2           It would be easy to assign these numbers simply to the popularity of the disciplines
               on offer. This would not explain, however, the exponential growth in application
               numbers over the past five years. The graphs below illustrate the way in which
               undergraduate applications have increased since 2000-1:

                           B A A ct ing A p p licat io ns                                           BA Directing Applications

                           1600                                                               140
                           1400                                                               120
       A ppl i cat i ons    800                                                               80
                            600                                                               60
                            400                                                               40
                            200                                                               20
                                  2001   2002   2003     2004    2005   2006                         2002    2003      2004       2005   2006
                                                E nt r y Y ear                                                       Entry Year

14.3           The School uses these figures to assess the standing of its courses amongst
               candidates and their advisers as well as the effectiveness of its admission policies
               and of its marketing. In this context, more important than the raw number of
               applicants or the ratio of applicants to places is the ratio of offers to acceptances – a
               measure of the attractiveness of a course to the relatively circumscribed pool of
               promising applicants whom the leading acting courses wish to attract year on year.
               The picture for the School‟s undergraduate courses is increasingly positive, as the
               following statistics illustrate [CDS and NCDT data; please note NCDT does not
               accredit directing courses and statistics are not available in this discipline]:
                      With some 1540 applications in 2005-6, BA Acting is now third out of twenty
                       two accredited 3-year acting courses by raw application numbers, behind
                       only CSSD and RADA [CDS statistics].
                      Average applications across all accredited 3-year acting courses are 949.6 -
                       thus BAA at Drama Centre is 62% above average [NCDT figures]
                      Average offers across all accredited 3-year acting courses are 44, for an
                       average cohort of 32.6; in 2004-5, with 39 offers for a cohort of 32, Drama
                       Centre‟s offer-to-acceptance ratio was 12.8% better than average.
14.4           The picture for postgraduate courses is less defined. These very new courses are yet
               to establish themselves in the consciousness of applicants. By their very nature they
               also represent a higher degree of specialisation and a significant financial
               commitment - both entail a greater measure of self-selection. Early indications are
               generally positive:
                      MA in Performance applications grew from 56 in 2004 to 74 in 2005, an
                       increase of 32%. At March 31 2006 there were 55 applications, on target to
                       overtake the 2005 figure.
                      MA in European Classical Acting applications in 2004-5 were 29; this number
                       had been exceeded at March 31 2006, indicating potential healthy growth
                       here as well.
               These statistics should be seen in the context of the average application numbers for
               1 year NCDT accredited courses: at 204.9 applications and 33.3 offers, these
               averages indicate that the School needs to continue its marketing efforts to compete
               with longer established courses in this crowded field. However, it must be stated that
               the design and profile of our MA courses took into account the market position from
               the outset and sought to define Drama Centre provision in radical, innovative ways
               through film specialization and international partnerships.

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14.5    The reputation and profile of the School also mean that it attracts at both
        undergraduate and postgraduate levels students who are generally speaking more
        mature, motivated and committed to a certain perspective on the art of the actor and
        director. The average BAA age at entry is 20+; many undergraduate students
        already hold earlier HE qualifications, occasionally up to PhD.
14.6    The experience of the first two years of recruitment has shown that MA in
        Performance applications were surprisingly strong in the Home/EU market, but
        disappointing in the overseas market. Auditions have been undertaken in the USA,
        with mixed results in the first year. Discussions with the International Development
        Office point towards the need for more sustained post-interview contact.
14.7    The lack of applications for the MAP Screenwriting and Movement Direction
        Pathways - though signalled at validation as a potential risk - is a matter of concern
        and, if continuing despite increased marketing efforts, will necessitate a re-
        assessment of the structure and title of the MA in Performance course.
14.8    The School‟s marketing tends to be focused and fairly intensive in a University
        context, though on a par with other drama conservatoires. The dedicated web site is
        a very effective marketing tool, as is our inclusion in the CDS guide and web site. The
        CDS and NCDT portals account for some 33% of applications, while direct personal
        recommendations by parents and teachers provide almost 40% of initial contact with
        the School [Board of Studies 17.02.05].
14.9    In consequence, a particular feature of our marketing has been the creation of a
        national database of drama teachers or equivalent by means of which the School
        communicates periodically with those who are most influential in advising candidates.
        The database, originally paper-based, is now being renewed with a view to enabling
        electronic communication.
14.10   Administrative support for admissions has traditionally been a major feature of our
        provision, as it constituted the most direct interface of the School with its candidates.
        Standards of service are generally high and have attracted a number of unsolicited
        favourable comments [admissions file]. However, the increase in both courses and
        applications has meant that the single member of staff concerned - who has a
        number of other duties - experienced severe strains at peak times in the admissions
        calendar, with delays and other issues diluting the usually high levels of customer
        care in this area. In consequence, some admissions-related duties have now been
        devolved to the College‟s Information Office and/or to administrative staff in the
        College‟s Back Hill central office. This is a new arrangement and the School and
        College are monitoring the situation closely to ensure that customer care continues to
        be of a high standard.

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15.1    Staff across the School are very aware of and increasingly try to ensure non-
        discriminatory behaviour in every aspect of their work, from for example, interview
        and selection of both students and colleagues, through to ways of communicating,
        learning styles and points of reference and role models cited in teaching materials.
15.2    Formally, the School Director chaired in 2005 the College-wide Working Party on
        Admissions, itself linked to the College‟s emerging Wider Access policy - and acted
        as a conduit for reporting progress at School Board of Studies and SMT.
15.3    The School has benefited from a variety of specialist staff development sessions,
        including „Fairness in Selection Training‟ and two drama-based workshops on
        equality of opportunity [Staff Development Activities list]. Following from these,
        students on the MA in Performance entered in a dialogue with the University‟s
        Diversity Advisor with a view to developing widening participation initiatives making
        use of video drama.
15.4    The School has a good relationship with Student Services, with dyslexia support
        having proved particularly effective. 7.2% of our students disclosed a registered
        disability on enrolment this year and support strategies, including accommodated
        assessment arrangements, are in place. The Back Hill site should be accessible for
        people with restricted mobility, but due to difficulties in operating the lift single-
        handed, it is considered that unassisted access to our floor is unlikely.
15.5    The School benefits from a very international staff, with tutors‟ background and
        outlook reflecting the internationalist traditions of the Drama Centre [Staff CVs].
        Students come from a wide variety of countries, with particular pockets of strength –
        largely based on alumni success and reputation - in Scandinavia, Latin America and
        Israel. The BA Directing in particular, now as much as in its original incarnation,
        attracts quality candidates from all over Europe. Over the past few years, students
        across the School have come from over thirty countries.
15.6    The BAA and BAD have established links with a number of schools and colleges
        aiming to interest non-traditional learners and students from socially disadvantaged
        backgrounds in acting and directing. Targeted post-show talks and educational
        packages are part and parcel of the curriculum of the BAD, which thus instills a high
        level of social awareness in its students.
15.7    Student gender balance across the School is 72 Female, 94 Male [course statistics].
15.8    The staff profile, particularly amongst established academic posts, is predominantly
        white, European. The School would like to see an increase in BME staff across all
        roles and responsibilities. Gender balance across the established staff is 67%
        female, 33% male; while staff as a whole, including ALs and key production staff,
        shows a balance of 23 female, 26 male.
15.9    Recruitment of BME students tends to vary. While the current BAA third year has a
        high proportion of BME students (30%), the proportion drops in later undergraduate
        years. The School looks to the efforts of its schools liaison to bear richer fruit in this
15.10   Specifically, the School took a number of initiatives designed to facilitate recruitment
        from under-represented segments of the population:
                 We audition everyone who applies
                 Auditions for the BA Acting have been reorganised to include a „recall‟ day to
                  allow direct observation of promising candidates in a variety of contexts, no
                  longer limited to verbal expression and intellectual debate
                 All our literature stresses the importance afforded the audition process in
                  relation to academic qualifications
                 We communicate with all drama teachers in the UK and we follow this up
                  through the work of an established member of staff, who assures schools
                 Our Open Days, introduced in 2002, are highly successful and attract –
                  alongside candidates and their parents – increasing numbers of teachers of
                  drama, many from London-area schools with high ethnic minority
                  populations. During Open Days a separate event is held for parents and

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      School pupils and their teachers attend public performances – attendance is
       strong, encouraged by the inclusion in the repertoire of some set texts.
       These events are followed by open discussions with cast and tutors,
       contributing to an atmosphere of openness and encouragement.
      Teachers are regularly invited to observe auditions and interviews, thus
       demystifying the audition process and improving access
      We intend to organise conferences for teachers
      We are considering student ambassador schemes, although recent
       restrictions in terms of CRB may prove an impediment.

31 March 2006


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