Conservatoire vs University Training... What's the Difference?

Conservatoire vs University Training... What's the Difference?

When considering further education in performing arts, you've already got a whole host of life decisions to make. Stay close to home, or move further afield? Choose your location based on networking and opportunities, or on general preference of study? One of those most considerable questions is 'conservatoire or university training?'

Which Direction Should You Take with Your Performing Arts Studies?

You may have heard of the word 'conservatoire' mentioned quite a lot when you've been researching drama training. So what does it actually mean? And what is the difference between conservatoire training and university training? What are the pros and cons for both, and how can you figure out which one is best for you? What are the real differences that'll impact your day-to-day training? 

Let's break it down...

Reading time: 5 minutes

Conservatoire training

Similar to university training, most conservatoire training courses will give you a Bachelor of Honours (BA Hons) degree. However, conservatoire training is typically the practical study of straight acting, musical theatre or dance, meaning you specialise in one of these areas. This type of training is often considered to be more hands-on, usually full-time throughout the week and requires very little written work. There is a strong focus on preparation for working in the industry post-graduation through intensive vocal and physical training. Finally, conservatoire often has a much more rigorous audition process because the intake of students is usually much smaller than at universities, so the audition process can take up to 6 months, with multiple stages.

University training

The same as conservatoire training, university education will give you a Bachelor of Honours (BA Hons) in your chosen course - but this type of training is typically more academic than conservatoire training. This makes it perfect for those wanting a slightly more academic approach, focusing on the history of performance and analysis, as opposed to a practical approach. Further, university training is often broader in topic, allowing students to complete a combined degree in performance or theatre, as opposed to specialising on a singular area like music or dance. This type of training tends to be less full-on, with more written work. Further, university students will typically experience a more stereotypical student life, with connections to lots of different individuals and time to take on additional work or auditions. Finally, university applications often allow for more students to enrol, meaning it is a less rigorous audition process and can take a little less time to get started. 

Further thoughts

Deciding whether to attend conservatoire or university education is very personal and a difficult decision to make when pursuing a career in performing arts. However, we hope that the above outline has helped you to understand the differences between the two and how they might impact your enjoyment of the training and experience. 

Our best piece of advice is to figure out which one you would enjoy the most - drama school is hard work no matter which approach you take, and both types will give you a degree and a strong understanding of acting and theatre, setting you up for a full and exciting career! 

To ensure you're prepared for your application process, make sure you've got your hands on our Drama School Audition Life journals - designed by actors, for actors. Our journals will help guide your through the audition process and prepare you for every audition incoming. 


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