November 13th 2016

Dear Gavin,

I have canvassed for response among the petitioners and am happy to report the following to you:

If, as you indicated in your last, an intake of 10 students per cycle would be sufficient to get the course started, then we have almost 40 people expressing serious interest. Of course everyone wants to know more before they can make a commitment.

Here is a list of questions. They go into some detail I’m afraid, but they are so commonly raised that it would be very helpful if we could get some more information.

1. Timing.

Can you say when you will be able to post notice of the course on the website?
When do you think final approval will be given?
When will the first cycle begin?
Is there a limit to the number of available places per cycle, or indeed for the initial intake?

2. Eligability.

Will the course be open to former stage management students as well as acting ones?

Will the course be open to diplomates of other drama schools?
Several of us (myself included) no longer have our diplomas. Does Central have records of attendance?

Several who are keen to take the course are former Webber Douglas students. Ms. Hilary Douglas-Wood, former head of acting at Webber Douglas, currently head of acting at Trinity College, Dublin, has been a strong supporter of this idea. I know that she would spread the word amongst her former students if asked, I hope and assume this would be the case with other schools, and as there are no equivalent course being offered, perhaps the administration at RADA, LAMDA, Guildhall etc … would similarly contact their Alumni?

3. Possible credit.

Several of the petitioners (mostly, but not all, Americans) came to Central with a first degree. Would it be possible to award credit toward an MA to those people if they undertook the course?

4. Time commitment.

You say the course will be mostly distance learning. Aside from the 4k/6k essay requirements and the two weekends, will there be other study assigned. If so, can you indicate what sort of time commitment would be required.

5. Cost.

This is by far the greatest concern. Whilst, as I said to you in our last exchange, I personally understand that one year +5k/3 years + 27k or 48k to acquire an internationally respected BA does not compare, of course, not everybody sees it that way, and not everyone is placed to raise the money. Another 30 or more people have baulked because of price.

Some of us don’t understand how if the course is mostly distance and online and there are no classroom costs, why is the price fully 5/9 per year pro-rated. In support of this point, I am currently engaged in a distance learning Diploma in another discipline with a UK institution, one which is known internationally as the most rigorous in its field, (for which, as yet no degrees exist, although the academic content matches degree level), The learning is modular. Extensive reading and course work is required, I have a personal tutor, and the cost per year is below 2k.

Following on from this, can you indicate how much actual teaching will be involved. I mean will there be an interactive process with individual or class tutors, or will there simply be assessment of the essays. This is really an attempt to understand what will be given for the money!

A number of other specific questions on this arise:

a) Is there any possibility of revising the 5k figure downwards?

b) Also, I don’t quite understand why overseas students, presumably including ex-pat UK nationals, should be charged more than UK residents, particularly if the course is mainly online. Would a commitment to attend the two weekends mitigate this?

c) Will an installment payment plan be available?

d) Is there any kind of grant/scholarship available from Central for those in financial hardship?

e) Are you aware of any funding bodies that could assist?

6. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do at this point to assist in the process.

As you see it would be very useful for the petitioners if we could get some of the details filled in.

Knowing something of the administrative complexity you have had to work through I send general thanks from the petitioners, and add my own personal thanks for bringing this to a positive conclusion.

I remain convinced that this is extremely well worth Central’s time and effort, and could certainly be presented in the most positive PR light, I also believe that once the course is established and word spreads more people will see the value.

I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience. Or, and my preference if your schedule allows, would it be possible to discuss these points by phone? I can be available any weekday from noon UK time onwards if that would suit.

Kind regards,


Colin McPhillamy
USA 213 840 1187