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RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) 1924 Prospectus
I've added some photographs of a 1924 prospectus from RADA. As someone interested in Theatre history, seeing historical items like this is really cool for me, and hopefully to others.
RADA is internationally recognised as one of the finest drama schools in the world. Nowadays its graduates work throughout Theatre, Film, Television and Education. This prospectus is from 1924, 20 years after if was founded by Herbert Beerbohn Tree, and 4 years after gaining its Royal Charter.
I've pulled out some of the details that interest me in the text below the photos. I hope you enjoy reading the Prospectus.
Cover of the Prospectus
RADA has an ethos of professionals training / supporting the next generation.
The council is made up predominantly of theatre professionals:
Sir Squire Bancroft, LL.D. - An Actor-Manager
SIr James Barrie, Bart., O.M. - Playwright
Sir Arthur Pinero - An Actor and Playwright.
Sir J. Forbes-Robertson - An Actor and Theatre Manager
Mr Cyril Maude - An Actor-Manager
Mr G. Bernard Shaw - Playwright
Miss Irene Vanbrugh - An Actress
Sir Gerald Du Maurier - An Actor-Manager
Mr Henry Ainley - An Actor
Lady Tree, O.B.E. - An Actress
Mr Dion Boucicault - An Actor and Director
The Hon. Sir Chas. Russell, Bt., K.C.V.O. - A Lawyer
The Administrator, Kenneth R. Barnes, M.A. was the Principal of the Academy.
Page 2 Title Page
A repeat of the front cover.
A list of Honorary members and notable people.
Miss Jane Wells, the Superintendent, was what we would now call the Senior Administrator.
Page 4 - Associate Members
Associate Members were connected to RADA but did not have the full benefits that the students did of attending classes etc. Associate Members were mix of graduates and supporters, with some of them teaching or directing the students.
The first and last few on the list as examples:
Dr W. A. Aikin - Doctor who wrote "The voice: an introduction to practical phonology".
Mr Bronson Albery - Theatre director and Impresario.
M. André Antoine - French actor/director who founded the influential Théâtre Libre
Mr William Archer - Theatre critic and writer.
Mr Robert Atkins - An actor, producer and director. (Graduate of RADA)
Mr Oscar Asche - An actor-manager, director and writer.
Miss Lena Ashwell OBE - An actress-manager.
Mr Allan Aynesworth - Actor.
Mr A. B. Walkley - Public servant and theatre critic of The Times.
Mr Herbert Waring - Actor.
Miss Henrietta Watson - Actress.
Mr Ben Webster - Actor.
Mr J. Fisher White - Actor.
Mr Arthur Wontner - Actor.
Mrs E. S. Willard - Actress and childrens writer.
Miss Haidee Wright - Actress.
Lady Wyndham - Actress.
Introduction and brief history of RADA.
Page 7 - Constitution
Page 8 - General Regulations
The Regulations include the clause that if students do not improve after two terms, they can be asked to leave.
Page 9 - The Academic Year and Entrance Test
Easter Sunday in 1924 was April 20th.
Page 10 - Division of Students and Juvenile Division.
The entrance fee was One Guinea (about £55 today).
Nowadays, UCAS (the UK University application system) charges: £12 for a single choice or £23 for multiple choices. For auditions in New York, there is a fee of $150. Anyone auditioning via DVD; £15. The audition now consists of two pieces (no more then 3 minutes each), one from Shakespeare and one from a modern play.
The course lasted 4 - 6 terms, with students progressing on ability, and not length of time they've studied.
Page 11 - Course of Study, Students' Fees and Scholarships
- Voice Production and Speech.
- The Art of Expression by Gesture.
- Acting, the Rehearsal of Plays under the direct control of the Professors of Acting and Diction.
- Dancing and Deportment.
- Lectures on English Poetics, History of the Drama, History of Theatrical Representation, French Dramatic Literature.
- Acting in French, for those who already know something of the language.
- Rehearsals voluntarily undertaken by Members of the Council and Associate Members for the Final Division Students.
- Various Competitions.
Entrance fee One Guinea. Inclusive tuition fees Fifteen Guineas a term, payable at the commencement of each term. The fee for the French class, which is optional, is an extra 30s, a term, or £3 3s for those who are not regular students of the Academy.
A note about money.
Guineas - while the coin was no longer used, the term remained in use (even today in horse-racing / some livestock auctions) to mean 21 shillings or £1.05 in decimalised currency. The entrance fee was therefore £1.05. The term was £15.75 (£1.05 x 15).
Shillings - worth the equivalent of 5p. The extra French class was therefore £1.50 or £3.15 for non Academy students.
In todays money, these amounts are equivalent to:
1 Guinea (Entrance Test fee) = £55.70
15 Guineas (Term fee) = £835.51
There were three terms a year so the annual cost was: £2,506.53
30s (French class for students, per term) = £80.00
£3 3s (French class for non-students, per term) = £167.10
I used the Inflation calculator at the Bank of England website. It's a rough guide but gives an interesting insight. As students were expected to complete their study in 4 - 6 terms, their education would have cost a maximum of just over £5,000 (without French).
If you want to convert these amounts into other currencies, Xe.com is a popular conversion website.
What I find really nice about the Academy scholarships, is the equality. They hoped to give one to a man and one to a woman. Women had still not gained the Vote on equal terms as men at this point. Only certain women over the 30 could, whereas men could vote at 21.
Page 13 - University of London
Sir John Gielgud is mentioned here as he received an academy scholarship. He would later become President and the first Honorary Fellow of RADA.
Many smaller institutions such as RADA cannot issue their own university-level qualifications (only their own certificates/diplomas). Instead they have their courses validated by Universities who give students their qualification instead. Nowadays this allows students to access various student financing options that are only available to students studying for a Bachelors degree.
Today, a B.A. (Hons) in Acting from RADA is validated by Kings College London. Rose Bruford College Acting course is validated by the University of Manchester. The University of London awards degrees to Royal Central School of Speech and Drama students instead.
Page 15 - Prizes
£5.00 is now equivalent to about £265.
Six Guineas (£6.30): ~£334
Three Guineas (£3.15): ~£167
Two Guineas (£2.10): ~£111
One Guinea (£1.05): ~£55
Page 17 - Stage Management, Reports as to Progress, Special Matinees
Page 18 - The Critics' Circle Shield
The Critics' Circle still exists although the Shield is no longer awarded. Their website: http://www.criticscircle.org.uk/
Page 19 - Wardrobe, Library, Presentations
The Library can be accessed today by non-Students for a fee of £10 a day. Details - https://www.rada.ac.uk/about/library
Page 20 - Medical Attendance, Catering, Telephone, Lodging.
This is pre-NHS, so the offer of free consultations with doctors is quite a benefit.
Off Stage: 100 Portraits Celebrating the RADA Centenary
A who’s who of British acting of both stage and screen. RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), the United Kingdom’s world-famous drama school, celebrates its centenary. One hundred actors tell of their formative experience at the Academy, and each has a specially commissioned portrait. Includes Anthony Hopkins, Richard Attenborough, Joan Collins, Kenneth Branagh, and Tom Courtenay.