Women have been key to Central’s history, its training, its research and its practice. Elsie Fogerty founded The Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art in 1906 and served as its Principal until 1942. Women have occupied and continue to occupy key positions within its teaching and research infrastructure. 

Central has trained actresses (Peggy Ashcroft, Claire Bloom, Julie Christie, Judi Dench, Lindsay Duncan, Jennifer Ehle, Carrie Fisher, Cush Jumbo, Vanessa Redgrave), producers and directors (Sonia Freedman, Orla O’Laughlin), designers (Lizzie Clachan, Rosie Elnile, Lauren Tata), writers (Anne Jellicoe, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Katherine Sopor, Victoria Willing) and educators (Caryl Jenner, Cicely Berry, Patsy Rodenburg). 

Investigating the trajectories of actresses and women theatre workers has been a key part of its research culture. Central’s participation in Tonic’s Advance Project looking to identify and understand the root causes of gender imbalance within theatrical organisations and the Parents in Performing Arts Best Practice Action Research Project demonstrate our commitment to research that feeds directly into industry policy and practices.

About Research @ Central

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a world-leading conservatoire embedded within the University of London. We're committed to research that articulates and promotes an inclusive vision of theatre and performance and its place in society of the twenty-first century. 

Research @ Central concerns itself with the ways in which theatre is made, analysed and documented across a range of contexts and environments. Our research is realised with a range of partners within the university, conservatoire and industry sectors.

Research at Central