From the moment you graduate you realise that BOVTS has prepared you to do a job. Maybe you will become a star, probably not! But the training at Bristol provides you with all the skills to do the most important thing - work. I am currently touring the country with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, playing four characters and the only part of my training I am not using is the tap dancing - I do that just for pleasure!

/ Emma Butcher, 3 year BA (Hons) Professional Acting /


BOVTS_building exterior


Opened in 1946 by Laurence Olivier, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (BOVTS) is located in three nineteenth century buildings overlooking Bristol’s famous Downs and in the former BBC Christchurch radio and television studios in Clifton village. The School provides entirely practical, industry-led vocational training for the rapidly expanding arts and entertainment industry.

After basic training, students across all courses work together in a producing-house atmosphere on the School’s public productions and recordings. The courses are staffed entirely by experienced working professionals training you for a major industry.

Students are trained for careers in professional acting, stage management, technical departments, (including the skills required in radio and television production), theatre design, scenic art, costume, directing, production management and theatre administration and management.

The School regularly performs in Bristol Theatres (including Bristol Old Vic’s Studio and Theatre Royal, the Redgrave Theatre, Circomedia) to some 60,000 people and to 20,000 young people a year in local schools together with touring productions to theatres and arts centres throughout the South West region. Bristol Old Vic Theatre School became a Conservatoire school in 2003.



Bristol Old Vic Theatre School consistently achieves 100% Graduate employment. Graduates include Helen Baxendale, Samantha Bond, Richard Coyle, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons, Tim Pigott-Smith, Pete Postlethwaite, Amanda Redman, Greta Scacchi, Patrick Stewart, Mark Strong and Olivia Williams.

Graduates from the Acting courses can be seen working in Theatres, Film, Television, radio and recording studios worldwide. Recent employers include: BBC, Cheek by Jowl Theatre Company, Royal National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

Graduates from the Production, Technical and Management Courses enjoy an even greater diversity of employment. Some of the many current and recent employers include Aardman Animations, Ambassador Theatre Group, BBC, Bristol Old Vic, Cirque du Soleil, Really Useful Group, Royal Opera House, RSC, and Teddington Studios.

Employment ranges from film special effects, stage management of high tech cruise ship theatres as well as in UK producing theatres, automated flying, sound on touring musicals, lighting contemporary dance, scenic art and construction on animations, production management of touring circus, designing Broadway shows, to costuming West End productions.

Access for disabled people

The School welcomes applications from disabled people and offers places solely on the basis of potential and suitability for a career in any of the areas taught. Regrettably, much of the School premises are not yet accessible for wheelchair users but plans are currently under development to make the building fully accessible.

If you would like to discuss your access needs before applying, please contact Rosemary Thomas, Admissions Secretary on 0117 973 3535, or you can write to or email her at the address opposite.

Guide to Courses

Download as a PDF


Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, 2 Downside Road, Bristol BS8 2XF

Tel +44 (0)117 973 3535

Twitter: @BOVTS

All applications are direct to the school. For more information on how to apply see our student info section

Conservatoire for Dance and Drama Tavistock House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JJ    Tel: 020 7387 5101    Email: