Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
Image: Graham Burke
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.
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.
The Conservatoire schools are invaluable to our industry as demonstrated in no small part by the consistency with which we at the RSC audition and employ actors from BOVTS, RADA and LAMDA. Alumni from these drama schools can be seen in a huge variety of productions both on stage and screen all over the world. This is not luck but due to the fact the training equips them for a range of work in order for these actors to be able to work across all art forms at the very highest level. There is a reason why British actors dominate the world stage and international film and television industry and that is down to their training, apprenticeships and the quality of the work they do in their early careers.
Head of Casting, Royal Shakespeare Company
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!
3 year BA (Hons) Professional Acting
Jonathan Suffolk, Head of Sound & Video, NT (BOVTS)