ALRA students offered places at Rose Bruford following drama school closure

While 284 students will be able to continue their studies, yesterday’s closure of ALRA saw 44 members of staff made redundant with immediate effect

The Academy of Live & Performing Arts (ALRA) has closed, with the loss of 44 jobs at its Wandsworth and Wigan campuses.

Following yesterday’s (4 April) announcement, the drama college’s 284 students have been offered the opportunity to complete their studies at Rose Bruford College.

Several members of ALRA staff had already been made redundant last year.

“ALRA went through a restructure in spring 2021 that was designed to stabilise finances, but the losses made in the 2020/21 academic year and the lack of any significant new income streams in 2021/22 meant the organisation was not financially viable,” read a statement from the college.

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Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, said that ALRA had reported concerns over its viability to the independent regulator in November 2021.

“It became clear that poor legacy financial management had led to the worsening of ALRA’s financial position,” said Dandridge.

“The OfS has been working intensively with a range of organisations to ensure that ALRA’s students are protected as far as possible in what is inevitably a difficult situation. We are grateful to Rose Bruford College, which is offering a place to all ALRA’s students.”

Those based at ALRA North will be able to receive tuition in Wigan, while students at ALRA South will be taught in London.

“This will be a difficult time for ALRA students, who have invested significant time, effort and money into their studies,” added Dandridge.

“St Mary’s University Twickenham, which validated most of ALRA’s degrees, has pledged to offer support to students, including discussions about options to continue their studies elsewhere if they don’t wish to accept a place with Rose Bruford.”

It became clear that poor legacy financial management had led to the worsening of ALRA’s financial position – Nicola Dandridge

Students opting to withdraw from their studies will be able to access a record of their academic achievement to date.

ALRA was founded in 1979 by director and actor, Sorrel Carson, who remained at the helm as its principal until 2001. Notable alumni included Miranda Hart, Sarah Parish, Bridget Christie, and Vincent Regan.

2020 saw ALRA accused of systemic racism by former students, with a report commissioned by the institution finding a “humiliating, hostile and exclusive” environment for students of colour.

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