- Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. The best-known British drama school, founded in 1904 by Herbert Beerbohm Tree, manager of His Majesty's Theatre. Later that year he handed the Academy over to an independent governingbody and it moved to the present Gower Street site. Its main theater, the Vanbrugh, opened in 1954 and is named after Irene and Violet Vanbrugh, the actress sisters of Sir Kenneth Barnes (1878 - 1957), who ran RADA for many years. George Bernard Shaw was a noted supporter of the Academy, which has trained such renowned actors as John Gielgud, Margaret Lockwood, Richard Attenborough, Alan Bates, Glenda Jackson, and Kenneth Branagh. Apart from the Vanbrugh, the Academy has the George Bernard Shaw (GBS) Theatre and a smallstudio theater. A ten-year redevelopment programme costing some £22 million was instituted in 1997. As well as training students in acting and stage management, the Academy offers specialist courses in stage carpentry, scene painting and design, and property making.