Archive for March, 2018

Happy Birthday to Our President!

Posted on: March 22nd, 2018 by artsAdmin

ArtsEd Birthday

Principal Chris Hocking leads staff and students at ArtsEd in a rousing Happy Birthday chorus:

“We all wish Andrew much love and many happy returns for his birthday celebrations. We are so lucky to have a President who is so passionate and dedicated to the students and their training.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber, 70 today, has been president of ArtsEd since 2007 and his ongoing help and support has been invaluable. Not least in his generous £3.5 million support of our fantastic theatre, which was renovated and relaunched in November 2013, rightly named The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre. And the first show to open the theatre? What else but an amazing performance of Evita, in which Andrew was overcome by the talented cast and declared:

“I was not prepared  for such powerful story-telling, and for hearing quite simply the best Eva Perón I’ve ever heard!”

The theatre’s launch performance of Evita, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice, was directed and choreographed by Joey McKneely. The roles of Eva, Perón and Che were performed by ArtsEd’s third year musical theatre students Mollie Melia-Redgrave, Daniel Donskoy and Olly Dobson.

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The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre has seen some equally amazing performances over the past five years, from students across all four ArtsEd schools, as well as from external performers. The Orpheus Centre recently used the theatre and were delighted with their experience:

“Words cannot express what a great week the Orpheus students and alumni had when they were rehearsing Orpheus the Mythical at ArtsEd. It is an inspiring place to be in, let alone rehearse in; we were all overwhelmed with the friendliness and politeness of all the students and staff we met on our travels around the building. Thank you so much for accommodating us and making our time there hugely enjoyable and rewarding.”  Caroline Pedley, PA to Sir Richard Stilgoe

Read more about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long and illustrious career here and spread the Happy Birthday wishes by sharing this story!

Also, don’t forget to share our video message on your Twitter or Facebook!

ArtsEd Alumni help celebrate 20 years of Orpheus Centre

Posted on: March 12th, 2018 by artsAdmin

ArtsEd alumni are delighted to be taking part in a musical extravaganza at The Other Palace to celebrate the Orpheus Centre's 20th birthday. Recent ArtsEd graduates Alex Wheeler, Ben Stacey, Simon Bolland, Lauren Oakley, Georgie Westall, Sarah Day, Hampus Engstrand, Poppy Andrews, Siobhan Diffin and Benjamin Mundy will present present Sir Richard Stilgoe's 'Orpheus – The Mythical' alongside alumni and current students from this pioneering disabilities charity in a bid to highlight their work with young disabled adults who have a passion for the performing arts.

Sir Richard Stilgoe said, 'We are performing with Arts Educational because we do inclusive stuff and not disabled stuff; the whole purpose of Orpheus is to mix young disabled people up with the real world and not separate them. These are terrific and confident performers who concentrate on what they can do rather than what they can't. Orpheus changes young disabled people's lives. It changes the lives of the staff and the 98 volunteers who work with them. It changes the lives of everyone who attends one of their shows. It has changed my life immeasurably.'


Sir Richard Stilgoe founded the Orpheus Trust in 1998 in his former family home in Surrey to inspire young disabled people to greater independence though performing arts experiences.

The Orpheus Centre offers a personalised study programme for students aged between 18 and 25 with learning or phyisical disbilities, with the focus on maximising lasting independece. Students can stay up to three years at the centre and learn

This witty musical comedy of a Greek tragedy follows Orpheus on an expedition hindered at every stage by bored, capricious gods and a dodgy satnav. Orpheus joins the heroic Argonauts in order to steal the legendary golden fleece. But on his return, his quest is not over. He has to descend to the Underworld to rescue his wife Eurydice from the depths of Hades. Guiding the narrative, the Greek Chorus will be played by Jane Asher, Rob Brydon, Bertie Carvel and more.

Fri 23 – Sat 31 Mar, 7:30pm (3pm Matinee on Sat 31 only)
Wed 28, Thu 29 and Fri 30 will be signed performances.

For more details and to book tickets go to

ArtsEd joins Diversity Schools

Posted on: March 6th, 2018 by artsAdmin

On Friday 2 March, ArtsEd became one of the five leading UK drama schools to partner with the Diversity School Initiative, delivering a three year commitment to address under representation and a lack of diversity in performing arts training.  

Diversity Schools, born in 2017 and led by co-founder, Steven Kavuma, aims to encourage and support drama schools in the improvement of diversity in every area of their work, including student and staff bodies and works studied.

Yusuf Khamisa, Equality, Inclusivity and Diversity Officer at ArtsEd, attended the Diversity School Initiative launch last Friday, along with current BA students, Georgina Onuorah and Michael Workeye. Here’s what he had to say about the event:

“The Diversity School Initiative represents everything we believe in when it comes to young people – a Grass roots movement that speaks the voice of those who demand change. Diversity is no longer a buzz word, it’s a reality. Real change is on the horizon and we at ArtsEd are proud to stand up with those demanding change!”

ArtsEd is committed to its role as a leading light in this arena. The proportion of ArtsEd students from BAME backgrounds has been steadily increasing over the last five years and currently stands at 23%, significantly higher than most other drama schools. Principal, Chris Hocking supports the initiative whole-heartedly:

“Equality and diversity is the very essence of ArtsEd, and joining the Diversity School Initiative underpins our commitment to inclusiveness and to welcoming talented young people from all walks of life.”


Alumni and current students are equally supportive of the commitment:

But ArtsEd’s mission does not stop there. Another major barrier for young people who wish to pursue a career in the arts is the cost of training.  We strive to recruit young people on the basis of talent and not ability to pay and nearly 50% of our student body require significant financial support, through means-tested government grants or our own scholarships and bursaries, in order to take up their places or complete their studies.

“I have two friends from back home that I still see. One of them got an apprenticeship and the other one sells windows. I’m not knocking what they do, but I know I’d be doing the same if I hadn’t got the scholarship to ArtsEd. I just feel so lucky.” – Kristian Wall, BA Acting Alumnus

ArtsEd has been passionate about driving this change in the performing arts for a long time, and we are delighted that our partnership with the Diversity School Initiative will help to accelerate the process. Changes needs to start at the base of the pyramid and we are proud to be at the forefront of this very necessary transformation.

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