Royal title for famous drama school

The Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, has been granted royal title by the Queen.

November 28, 2012

In one of the final gestures of her Diamond Jubilee year, the Queen recognised the London school's history and reputation for professional training in theatre and performance studies. From today it will be known as the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Central, as it is also known, was founded at the Royal Albert Hall in 1906, and boasts actors Sir Laurence Olivier and Dame Judi Dench, theatrical producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh and playwright Harold Pinter among its alumni.

In 1989, the school was incorporated as a higher education college and in 2004 the Privy Council granted it the power to award its own taught degrees.

The following year, the college was designated as the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre, and became a college of the University of London.

Princess Alexandra, the royal patron of the school, played an instrumental role in recommending the institution for a royal title.

"The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama holds a very special place in Britain's achievements in the dramatic arts... It is a School which embraces the widest range of skills needed in the diverse profession of theatrical, film and broadcast arts," she said.

Lord Hall of Birkenhead, chief executive of the Royal Opera House and newly-appointed director general of the BBC, said: "Central has earned an excellent reputation for its theatre training programmes and their contribution to the world of drama and theatre deserves to be recognised with the royal title."

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