Shakespeare in Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

An intensive training in classical acting requires an amplitude of body, voice, spirit and imagination: as such, it may be seen as the ultimate challenge for an actor.

For over 20 years, Tisch London has maintained an exclusive collaboration with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), offering actors a rigorous, full-time semester to channel the expressiveness and depth of Shakespeare’s work. 


Program Overview

Under the direction of RADA’s Course Director, Vivian Munn, develop the skills necessary for the performance of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. You spend three days a week throughout the semester within the prestigious RADA facilities, whose halls have housed such notable alumni as Cynthia Erivo, O.T. Fagbenle, Ralph Fiennes, David Harewood, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Glenda Jackson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophie Okonedo, Kenneth Branagh, Fiona Shaw, Michael Sheen, Imelda Staunton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

The Shakespeare in Performance course at RADA is a practical training where Elizabethan and Jacobean texts are explored through both historical and contemporary lenses.  In theory and practice we explore the historical context of the Shakespearean world and how these texts can find meaning today.

In addition to your RADA training, you will spend two days a week taking classes at NYU London. Housing is mere moments from campus, and London’s incredible culture is at your fingertips. 

Core Curriculum

Your semester abroad consists of your core program course and two additional companion courses, completing a full-time, 16-unit semester.

Please Note: Students studying abroad on a Tisch track are not eligible to pursue an internship (except for Theatre in Ghana and Television Writing in London). Tisch programs do not provide work visas.

Shakespeare in Performance: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Core)

ITHEA-UT 481 | 8 units | Instructors: RADA Staff

This intensive course aims to immerse the student in the world of Shakespeare, while developing skills necessary for the performance of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, under the guidance of RADA/NYU Course Director, Vivian Munn and members of the RADA faculty. 

Key performance elements in the semester are:

  • Shakespeare Prose & Clown Scenes
  • The Masque (an historical sixteenth-century entertainment )
  • Shakespeare Verse Scenes & Sonnets
  • Shakespeare Speeches
  • Shakespeare Our Contemporary (incorporating Shakespearean text and contemporary and/or original material)
  • Studio Production (an abridged Shakespearean play before an invited audience)

Core classes include Voice, The Acting Voice, Voice into Text, Expressive Movement, Armed Combat, and Cultural Context. Across the semester there are regular sharings of work to faculty including, verse scenes, sonnets, and speeches.  Students receive a number of one-on-one tutorials and feedback with key staff. This course, with its emphasis on performance, makes great demands on students’ time and concentration, requiring vivid and accurate processing of material within short periods of preparation. During the course, students are not required to audition, and participants have equal opportunity within the allocation of roles and assignments.

Throughout the semester you will occasionally be required to work in the evening. Rehearsed Readings will take place around the last week of the program; RADA students will be cast in the Screenwriting in London and/or Playwriting in London students' work for the Rehearsed Readings. All students must attend all classes.

The Arts in London: A Cultural History

ISPEC-UT 1301 | 4 units | Instructor: Richard Williams

This course offers a wide-ranging introduction to London’s history and contemporary developments and explores the capital through field trips to galleries, museums, and places of iconic interest. Lectures and visits by practicing artists, as well as discussions and debates, stimulate interest in a wide spectrum of the arts, including architecture, music, photography, painting, the applied arts, and aspects of performance. 

British Cinema: London on Film

IFMTV-UT 1020 | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This course examines the role that the capital has played in British film from the early, silent years to today. Many directors have used the iconic status of London as either the protagonist or backdrop in films of different genres, from the silent era to World War II documentaries, from the “swinging London” of the 1960s to the social satires of the 1980s, and from gangster films to romantic comedies. The course explores the significance of this world city and its representation of Britishness. It also provides the opportunity, where possible, of exploring the real locations and venues where films were shot.

Studies in Shakespeare

ITHEA-UT 700 | 4 units | Instructor: Kate Beales

The focus of this course is Shakespeare’s text as performance.  The study aims to uncover clues apparent to an Elizabethan actor and consider how this might inform current theatre practice.  Each sessions is a discrete unit, each with a separate focus blending academic and theatrical in areas such as adaptation and sources, style and interpretation, structure and genre, mythology and history.  The course encourages students to develop a working knowledge of the canon and read as widely as possible.  A chance to specialise comes in the final presentation which is in the form of a production proposal based on the experience of the course.  Work is enhanced by a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company, a visit to the Globe theatre and opportunities to view a wide range of recorded productions.

Theatre in London

ITHEA-UT 662 | 4 units | Instructor: Ellis Jones

A selection of theatrical productions is chosen to give students a feel for the breadth and depth of London theatre during theatre visits to the West End and fringe theatres. Each production is viewed and analyzed as a whole, but the many and varied elements that go into making London theatre supply a different focus each week. In addition there are occasional field trips to sites of theatrical interest with a guest speaker or two thrown into the mix each semester to discuss his/her work (from writing to directing to acting to designing), to share knowledge and expertise and to help demonstrate how high-quality parts are needed to make a high-quality whole.

“I gained the confidence to make bold acting choices and to commit to them. Looking back over my college career, I see my semester in London as the most significant and important time in my training.” —  Skyler Gallun


Program Dates

Fall 2024

Student Arrival: August 27, 2024
Student Departure: December 13, 2024

Spring 2025 

Student Arrival: January 16, 2025
Student Departure: May 10, 2025

Dates are tentative and subject to change. Visit the NYU London website for more information. 



Tisch Drama Majors: Four semesters of studio training or equivalent.
NYU and Visiting Students: Must be matriculated undergraduates at NYU or another college/university. Students must have one year of college acting or professional training outside of college while an undergraduate student.


  • Students from all professional studios in the Tisch Undergraduate Department of Drama are encouraged to apply, not just The Classical Studio.
  • Students do not need to have any prior training in Shakespeare to be eligible for the program.

The spring 2025 application is open.

Application Deadline: August 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. ET

For more information please view our Admissions Calendar.

Application: Acceptance to the program is by audition/interview as well as application review. Please read the following application requirements before starting your application.

Note: Students should wait to receive their admissions notification and confirmation that the program is running prior to purchasing airline tickets. Students accepted to the program should purchase refundable airline tickets and/or travel insurance in the event the program is canceled or program dates are changed due to world events. It is strongly recommended that students purchase insurance for trip cancellation, flight cancellation, luggage loss or damage, as well as medical and accident coverage.


Spring 2024*

  • Academic Year 2023-2024 Full-time Tuition, 12-18 unit flat rate per term: $33,194

Additional Fees Include:

*fall 2024 and spring 2025 rates TBA

Please review the Tisch Special Programs cancellation policy.

Visit the Office of Global Programs for additional study abroad costs.


Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are opportunities for financial assistance to study abroad.

Please review the Scholarships and Financial Aid for Study Abroad page for more information.


Visit the NYU London website for housing options and descriptions.