Graduate Shows

The Diary of Anne Frank

Dramatised by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett

Directed by Chris Dunham

23rd November - 3rd December

Shows start at 7.30

No performances on Mondays or Tuesdays

Book now

The Cherry Orchard

By Anton Chekhov

Directed by Trudi Rees

14th - 23rd December

Shows start at 7.30

No performance on Mondays

Book now

Lady Windemere's Fan

By Oscar Wilde

Directed by Clare Davidson

18th - 28th January

Shows start at 7.30

No performances on Mondays or Tuesdays

Book now

Super User

Super User

Saturday, 24 May 2014 00:00

Trudi Rees

Acting, Movement, Jazz

Trudi trained originally in classical ballet and later as an actress at the Poor School. She has worked extensively in the West End, regional theatre and on television. For the Poor School she has directed AN EXPERIMENT WITH AN AIR PUMP by Shelagh Stevenson, STEEL MAGNOLIAS by Robert Harling, THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Jay Presson Allen and TOM AND VIV by Michael Hastings.

Saturday, 24 May 2014 00:00

Marcelle Davies

Movement, Dance, Animal study


Marcelle has taught movement and dance at the Poor School since 1989. In the early 1980s she worked as an actress with companies such as Raree Clown and Trickster Theatre and then spent some years in Cardiff with South Glamorgan TIE Company. Marcelle has worked for RADA, BADA, the London Centre for Theatre Studies and Syracuse. Marcelle also worked as movement coach for productions by the Ridiculusmus Theatre Company and Shady Dolls.

Saturday, 24 May 2014 00:00

Paul Caister


Paul Caister founded the Poor School in 1986. He trained at Bristol Old Vic, leaving in 1976. He then directed shows on the London fringe and spent five years acting, writing and directing in Australia. Since founding The Poor School Paul's final year shows have included DEATH OF A SALESMAN by Arthur Miller, THE MASTER BUILDER by Henrik Ibsen, OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder, THE DRESSER by Ronald Harwood and OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD by Timberlake Wertenbaker.

Paul regularly holds open evenings at the school for ex-, current and future students, as well as interested members of the public. Open evenings are free.

Paul Caister interviewed

Read more on Paul's Blog

Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00


There are three terms a year. From early October to mid or late December, from late January to early April, and from mid-April to early July.

Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00

Areas of Study

The following does not define an acting training, nor do we mean to suggest that aspects of the training are isolated from each other. At The Poor School voice involves movement and vice-versa; all work relates to the rest of the work.



An actor needs a relaxed, expressive and responsive body with an awareness of self, a feeling for space, a response to rhythm and music and a vivid physical imagination. Exercises attempt to reveal the extent of any inhibition and to demonstrate the means of freeing the body.



The aim is to make the voice as free, versatile and responsive as possible, provided always that it remains an honest expression of a desire to communicate. Exercises aim to show the relationship of breath to sound, to cultivate power and resonance, to eliminate tension and to increase range and colour.


Acting Study

A series of structured improvisations that aim to reveal the dramatic power of honesty and economy, the deadly influence of self-conscious acting or over-acting, and to demonstrate the dramatic force of the individual imagination.


Verse & Text

Character and situation are often absent from this less complicated but vital area of training. A reader rarely speaks from within an already created dramatic situation and thus different problems are encountered from those which arise when playing a role.



In the first four terms all work is internal, with showings seen by the staff and your colleagues only. This gives the opportunity for creative mis-casting, for exploring and discovering dramatic texts of many kinds in an environment where there is freedom to fail.

Students at the end of the fourth term will have worked on a modern, colloquial play, a tightly written comedy (by, for example, Wilde, Orton or Shaw), an Ibsen, a Chekhov, a play demanding the use of dialect (usually American) and a Shakespeare.

There will have also been the opportunity to work on various scenes, with some autonomy given to the students in terms of choice.

Dance and singing are introduced in the second term. It makes sense that these applications of physical and vocal training should be attempted with bodies and voices that are already partly trained.


Animal Study

Animal study is, in effect, third term acting study. Students observe and then recreate the physical and vocal behaviour of animals.


The Preview

The Preview precedes the Public Season. In January, students who are due to graduate in the summer perform short scenes in front of an invited audience from the profession.

Any interest from a casting director, agent or producer in a particular student can be followed up by seeing their work in the season and the Evening of Scenes.


Public Season

In the final two terms of the training students in a given year resemble a repertory company. There is no Easter break and demands are made on your weekday daytime; your actual commitments will depend on your casting. The profession (agents, casting directors etc.) are invited to these shows.

During the final two terms second year students must expect some stage management duties or similar. All students are rostered for bar and front of house duties.


An Evening Of Scenes

The final two nights of the training. Students perform scenes in front of an invited audience from the profession: agents, casting directors, producers ... anyone, in fact, who is or may be in a position to offer work or representation.


Directing Students

Up to one directing student will be accepted each year. Entrance is based on an acting audition and interview. The training, in the first four terms, is largely the same as for an acting student. After that time, or indeed before it, the directing student may be invited to work with current students on various projects. This, however, is not guaranteed and depends on progress.

Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00


The Poor School aims to make high quality acting training available to all at the lowest possible cost. 

Paul Caister interviewed

Read more on Paul's Blog

The Poor School was founded in 1986 by Paul Caister, who continues to run the school to this day. 26 years of graduates have gone on to enjoy successful careers in theatre, film, comedy and radio. Some ex-students have founded their own companies, others have become producers, directors, casting directors and agents.

The school offers a well-renowned two year training, scheduled in evenings and at weekends. It begins each autumn and entrance is by audition or via a short course.

As a school that has never relied on subsidy our fees are not subject to the large increases that most other vocational or academic courses are now charging.

In addition to the two year training, we also offer four day courses, which are daytime courses that run through the year. There is no audition for our short courses; entrance is by enrolment.

Dominic Cavendish, drama critic at The Daily Telegraph, attended a Four Day Course in June 2010. Here is his review. And there are more Poor School reviews on Hot Courses.

Director Paul Caister visits Peterborough, New Hampshire - the inspiration for Thornton Wilder's play Our Town.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00

Room Hire

We have five studio spaces, including a studio theatre with lighting deck. These are available for hire day and evening, seven days a week, whenever they are not in use by us.

There are various common areas throughout the school, including an outdoor smoking area, which can be used by all hirers to relax in during breaks.

There is wi-fi throughout the premises.


9m x 7m, natural light, one fully mirrored wall.


9m x 7m, natural light.


13m x 11m, natural light.


11m x 10m, natural light


Approx. 13m x 8m, full lighting deck on request.

Download technical specifications.


Full Day Hire: 1 - 5 days £110 per day
6+ days £100 per day
15+ days £90 per day.

Half Day or Evening Hire: £75

Contact Paul on 020 7837 6030 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find out more

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00

Two Year Training

Auditions for the training beginning in October 2017 are now being held.

The training lasts two years (six terms) and operates in the evenings and at weekends until the final two terms when daytime work is involved (please see hours for more details).

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00

Four Day Course

The Four Day Course began in 2007. Since then we have seen nearly 3000 people. Some wanted to be actors, others just wanted to spend a week in a different world.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00

Acting Training

We are now accepting applications for audition for the training beginning in October 2017


Acting Training

in London's Kings Cross


Two Year Training | Four Day Course

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