Best UK Boarding Schools For Drama (Updated 2024)

Outside of academics, UK Boarding Schools are well known for nurturing theatrical talents and cultivating passions in the field of drama. In this guide, we highlight some of the top boarding schools renowned for their dramatic arts departments.

best uk boarding schools for drama

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UK Boarding Schools offer a vibrant environment where students can immerse themselves in a rich tapestry of dramatic arts, from classic theatre to modern performance techniques.

With most of these institutions, you can expect state-of-the-art facilities like theatres and performance halls, well-trained drama school faculty, and a wealth of experience in fostering creativity and skill development in the dramatic arts.

It’s no surprise that many future actors, directors and playwrights, both on the national and international stages are born from these schools.

As such, we invite you to explore some of the popular schools known for their Dramatic Arts departments and track record of cultivating great talent in the field.

List Of Top Drama UK Boarding Schools

1) Uppingham School

Uppingham School is equipped with a professional-standard theatre and drama studio, offering a rich array of theatrical opportunities. Practical coursework at both GCSE and A level allows students to explore acting, technical roles, and design, complemented by regular theatre visits and professional workshops.

Notably, Uppingham School offers Drama scholarships, which prepare students for careers in the performing arts. The school’s vibrant extracurricular program includes high-quality productions, participation in the Drama Society, and opportunities for students to pursue further studies at esteemed institutions such as RADA, Guildhall, and the National Youth Theatre.

2) Clifton College

At Clifton College, the Drama department boasts its own 300-seat proscenium arched theatre, offering students a professional setting for their theatrical activities. The school collaborates closely with renowned institutions like Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Bath Theatre Royal, RADA, and Shakespeare’s Globe, enriching students’ experiences with industry insights and expertise.

The Annual Musical, a highlight event directed by Rhian Orzel and James Drinkwater, showcases students’ talents in lead roles, ensemble singing, band performances, and technical roles such as managing PA systems and sound desks.

Recent popular productions include Les Misérables, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, and Miss Saigon, while School Shakespeare productions feature classics like Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

3) Bedales School

Bedales School, a renowned co-educational boarding school for ages 13-18, is celebrated for its vibrant drama program. From the Prep School through to Sixth Form, drama is a cornerstone of student life, offering a variety of qualifications including the unique ‘Bedales Assessed Courses’ (BACs) which extend beyond traditional GCSE exams.

At A Levels, students delve deeper into theatre studies, supported by state-of-the-art facilities such as the Olivier Theatre, a 320-seater venue where the whole-school show unfolds over three nights. Additional resources include dedicated drama and dance studios. Bedales students benefit from training opportunities with esteemed institutions like LAMDA and RADA, paving the way for aspiring actors and theatre professionals.

The school’s drama department has produced many notable actors and actresses such as Daniel Day-Lewis and Cara Delevingne.

4) Tring School for Performing Arts

Tring School for performing arts, as the name suggests, exudes a welcoming atmosphere that resonates deeply with young theatrical talents from the moment they step inside.

This independent co-educational boarding school caters to students aged 8–19, offering specialised training in commercial music, musical theatre, dance, and drama. The school is structured into four levels: preparatory school (years 3–6), lower school (years 7–9), middle school (years 10–11), and upper school/sixth form (years 12–13), ensuring a seamless progression from foundational education to advanced vocational training.

Notable alumni such as Lily James, Jessica Brown Findlay, and Zach Wyatt highlight the school’s success in nurturing talent for successful careers in the performing arts. The school is also distinguished as one of the select institutions offering government-funded Dance and Drama Awards.

5) Eastbourne College

Aside from academic excellence, Drama holds a prominent place at Eastbourne College, with productions involving students from all year groups and boarding houses. The school features exceptional performance facilities, including three indoor drama spaces and an outdoor theatre seating 90 people.

Most notably, Eastbourne College has showcased student productions at prestigious venues like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is the world’s largest performance arts festival.

The college offers a holistic approach to drama education that combines theoretical study with practical experience. Students at Eastbourne College not only develop dramatic technique but also gain valuable skills in teamwork, collaboration, and creativity, essential for both stage performance and life beyond.

6) Oakham School

Oakham School is a vibrant hub for drama and theatre, deeply embedded in both its academic curriculum and extracurricular activities. The Queen Elizabeth Theatre (QET) serves as a focal point for performances, accommodating a diverse range of productions from experimental pieces to full-scale musicals in its 200-seat professional setting. Additionally, the historic Old School building adds an atmospheric venue for intimate studio productions and workshops, enriching the theatrical experience.

For those who want to take their development in drama talent to the next level, you’ll be glad to know that each year, Oakham’s dedicated staff mentor students in preparation for the National Youth Theatre, universities or specialist drama schools.

7) King's Ely

King’s Ely’s Drama and Theatre department is recognised for its outstanding achievements, including a nomination for the ‘Outstanding Drama Department’ award at the Music and Drama Education Awards in 2020.

Despite being one of the oldest institutions in the world, the school features modern facilities that include the Hayward Theatre, Dance Studio, and Black Box studio, providing a dynamic environment for learning and performance.

Students at King’s Ely are immersed in a diverse array of productions, from musical theatre and contemporary pieces to classical dramas and experimental works. The school’s dedication to arts education extends beyond the classroom with frequent theatre trips, masterclasses led by industry professionals, and participation in prestigious events like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Simply put, the UK has some of the best schools for nurturing drama talent and cultivating passion and interest in this captivating field. Students will be treated to a wide array of opportunities, from performing at performance art festivals, to state-of-the-art facilities that inspire learning and creativity. The UK, steeped in history and being one of the cultural centres of the world, offers an unparalleled experience to anyone looking to delve into the world of performing arts.

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