Two drama school students have spoken of their anger and devastation at finding out their acting course has been cancelled with no notice given.
The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) announced that 44 members of staff would be made redundant and that the teaching of students would be cancelled on Monday morning. The school has said that students will be helped to find “alternative courses”.
Two third year Hull acting students who have been affected by the school’s sudden closure are Katherine Gilroy, 20, and Liam Wheeler, 24. Katherine said: “The news that the school was closing was just so unexpected. We received a text on Monday morning saying that we were about to receive an urgent email and then 20 minutes later we found out that our teaching had stopped with immediate effect.
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“My roommate and I just stared at each other because we didn’t know what to say. Our biggest fear was that we wouldn’t get any recognition for graduating or even get our degrees.
“Lots of the staff found out they were made redundant through Twitter. We saw some of them later on and they were as shocked as we were. “We are all so devastated by what’s happened but we are so grateful for the industry’s support online.
It’s been less than 12 hours and the response has already been phenomenal. “Emotions were so high during the first hour this morning, but having the support from other professionals in the industry has made things easier. I’ve been quite humbled by it all, to be honest.”
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Speaking to Hull Live, Liam said: “My final year dissertation was due for Monday and I was planning on spending today finishing it, then I woke up to the text saying we were about to receive urgent news from the school. It caught us all off guard and it has come as a massive shock.
“That said, it many ways it felt like it had been a long time coming. I had been a student representative in my first and second years and our concerns and complaints were often disregarded.
“We were never communicated with and now the school has crumbled with a lack of budget and staff. We’ve paid over £30k for our training here and we’ve not even received the bare minimum. After having so much of our course taught online through the pandemic, we were all so happy to be back in the room and on stage and now this has happened.
“The industry support online has been insane, with such a great deal of compassion and sympathy being shown by other creatives. Hopefully a silver lining from this terrible situation is that some of us will get more exposure than we might have done otherwise.
“I am angry and upset, but I am managing to laugh today and stay positive. The lengths people are going to to support us has proven just how strong creatives are and it’s really helping us to cope.”
Founded in 1979, ALRA has campuses in both Wandsworth, South London and Wigan, Greater Manchester. ALRA students have been told that they can continue their training at either Rose Bruford College in Kent or St Mary’s University in Twickenham.