Archive for November, 2020

First Student Award from Graham Martin Bursary Fund

Posted on: November 30th, 2020 by ArtsEd Admin

We are delighted to announce Tavio Wright as the first recipient of the Graham Martin Bursary at ArtsEd.

The bursary was set up to mark the passing of ArtsEd alumnus Graham Martin and to celebrate his achievements as an outstanding, and much loved, actor. Graham’s friends and family have already raised over £4,000 for the fund and have described the bursary as a particularly fitting way to remember Graham, who was always ready and quick to help others.

Tavio developed his love for musical theatre at The Brit School, joining ArtsEd in 2018. He is now in the final year of the Musical Theatre BA course, working towards performances of Ragtime and Cats in the new year. Alongside the financial support for young performers of exceptional talent, recipients of the Graham Martin Bursary will also receive valuable mentorship from established theatre professionals, building on the generous spirit with which Graham shared his own expertise and experience for so many years.

Tavio recently met up on zoom with Graham’s friends and agents; Justin and Sarah Savage, Tim Churchill, his long-term dressing room pal, David Simpson, who studied alongside Graham at ArtsEd and Bob Tomson, who worked closely with Graham whilst directing Blood Brothers. Discussing his hopes and ambitions for the future, Tavio received valuable advice about stepping into the professional world and encouragement about the industry post-Covid.

Tavio said: “Meeting Justin, Sarah, Tim, David and Bob was amazing. Hearing their words of encouragement and support, as well as their practical advice, gave me such a boost and a bit more confidence as I step closer to entering the industry next year. I feel very lucky to receive the first Graham Martin Bursary.”

Justin and Sarah Savage said: “This fund has been made possible by generous donations from so many of Graham’s friends, family and fans. We are delighted and honoured to be able to continue Graham’s legacy at ArtsEd, and we wish Tavio every success as the first student to benefit from Graham’s fund.”

If you would like to remember Graham and make a donation to the fund, you can click here.

Adrian Blake and Mark Ferrington discuss reimagined training in a Covid era with The Stage

Posted on: November 24th, 2020 by ArtsEd Admin

Earlier this month, Samantha Marsden from The Stage wrote a feature about how schools and colleges have managed to reimagine training for the Covid era. Heads of UK performing arts schools shared how they have combined online and in-person learning, as well as ensuring safety procedures are met in the building. Our Day School & Sixth Form Headteacher Adrian Blake and Director of ArtsEd Sixth Form Mark Ferrington both featured in the article, discussing the ways in which training has adapted at ArtsEd.

Adrian Blake discussed the practical ways in which the school has implemented safety measures:

“We remobilised for years 10 and 12 in July, having worked closely with health-and-safety specialists to open in the safest way possible.

“This important period enabled the team to ‘learn about learning’ in the Covid era, and informed how the full remobilisation would take shape: with enhanced deep-cleaning protocols, regular microbial fogging (an antibacterial mist that renders surfaces safe for weeks at a time), automated temperature checks on entry, high-vis signage and positive reinforcement to maintain social distancing.

“There are one-way systems, more than 40 hand-sanitation stations and a new school day model that means students travelling to and from ArtsEd avoid the rush-hour commuter crush on public transport. This also limits the contact between the student bubbles.

“In class, students wear visors for singing lessons, there are safety screens in one-to-one singing rooms and the hub where students go for learning support. Masks are worn in all communal areas and there have been daily reminders to students and weekly updates to parents that have meant that everyone has been singing from the same hymn sheet. A full curriculum has been in place since September 1, as well as a wide range of after-school classes and extra-curricular options for students from years 7 to 13.”

Meanwhile, Mark Ferrington discussed how Bubbles have worked during this time:

“In instances where individuals or groups are required to go home (if displaying symptoms or awaiting test results) we quickly switch to an extensive virtual curriculum, which includes all vocational lessons – singing, dance and drama. These lessons can successfully be run online alongside any academic A-level lessons students may be taking. The virtual curriculum is delivered via a combination of Google Classroom and Zoom.”

To read the article in full, please click here.

ArtsEd Remembers Denys Rawson

Posted on: November 23rd, 2020 by ArtsEd Admin

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Denys Rawson, renowned Music Director and, since 1998, Repertoire Tutor for the School of Musical Theatre 

 A successful Music Director for many years, Denys worked in both West End and touring productions including Oliver! (when Cameron Mackintosh was Stage Manager), Gypsy, Evita and in 1990, Carouselstarring our very own Chris Hocking and Phil Sutton 

Denys began teaching at ArtsEd in 1998 and ever since he generously shared, with students and staff alike, his rich industry knowledge and expertise.     

ArtsEd Alumnus Gary Jerry talks about Denys’ natural flair as an accompanist:  

“For auditions, performance classes and singing assessments, Denys was always the person you wanted accompanying you. He was always so attentive to each individual performer’s needs and had the flexibility to work with the acting choices you made. Not many musical directors can create such great chemistry and connections with those they are working with the way Denys did.”  

Ann JamesSinging Tutor for The School of Musical Theatre, was friends with Denys for over 40 years. She remembers touring across the UK with him for the Arts Council: 

“We performed in really obscure places around the country, and when we were touring in some rural areas in Wales, we had to do a round trip back to Pembrokeshire because one of the tenors had left his wig in a drawer! Denys was such a laugh and a really instinctive musician. You knew you were in safe hands when he was MD.”  

Denys was also a brilliant raconteur and had countless unforgettable and hilarious tales, that ArtsEd staff and graduates still reminisce upon today 

Huw Geraint-GriffithHead of Music for The School of Musical Theatre, remembers Denys’ infectious personality: 

“He loved a get together. I have such fond memories of him in bright and colourful shirts at 3rd year’s leaving drinks in the Summer term. You could hardly see him as he’d be surrounded by students, but you could always hear his laugh! 

A few years ago, Denys and Ann James came over for Sunday lunch. Well, between the two of them, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life. From the moment they arrived, it was laugh-a-minute. By the end of the afternoon, I felt completely drunk, which wouldn’t have been surprising, but when I checked how many bottles we’d gone through, we’d hardly had any. He was enough of a tonic himself.  

I think that the main thing I will remember of Denys will be, that I always felt better after seeing him than I did before. I know that his students felt the same after having a lesson with him, which is what made him such a great teacher.” 


Paul Smith, former Repertoire and Music Director for both the School of Musical Theatre and the Day School talks about Denys’ influence on future generations: 

“When my stepson Jamie was eleven years old, we bumped into Denys in Richmond. Denys spent time chatting with Jamie about anything and everything, and he was so inspired at how knowledgeable and kind Denys was. All these years later, Jamie is now the Co-Director of SIX The Musical!” 

And lastly, ArtsEd Principal Chris Hocking remembers working with Denys on Carousel: 

I first worked with Denys in 1990 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (now The Leeds Playhouse) on a wonderful production of Carousel. He was such an inspiring Musical Director and the ensemble singing on that show was so tight because of him. When I arrived at ArtsEd in 1999 it was such a delight to be able to work with Denys again and to have the chance to re-visit Carousel with third year students. Denys’ showbiz stories were legendary and he was such a witty raconteur! I will ensure that Denys is never forgotten at ArtsEd. 

Denys will be enormously missed by all the staff and graduates who worked with him over the yearsHis teaching influenced and encouraged generations of ArtsEd students and all remember him with pride.  

ArtsEd Sixth Former, Isabella Pappas stars in new ITV drama, Finding Alice

Posted on: November 13th, 2020 by ArtsEd Admin

We are delighted to announce that ITV drama, Finding Alice is set for release early 2021. Featuring our very own Sixth Form alumna, Isabella Pappas, playing the role of Alice and Harry’s 16-year-old daughter Charlotte, the cast also stars; Keeley Hawes, Joanna Lumley, ArtsEd alumnus and Patron, Nigel Havers, Jason Merrells, Gemma Jones, Kenneth Cranham and Sharon Rooney.

Production began in January this year, with Keeley Hawes starring as Alice, a widow going through a blackly comic journey of grief after the death of her husband, Harry.

Nicola Shindler, RED Production Company CEO and executive producer said:

“To have such a strong calibre of actors join the cast alongside Keeley to breathe life into these complex characters is incredibly exciting, and I look forward to audiences meeting them.” 

Excited to see all their hard work come together, Isabella said:

“Finding Alice was an incredible experience. Working with acting legends everyday felt like a dream, and I left set each day having learned something new. The support from ArtsEd during that time made everything possible. My A Level Drama group met outside of my filming hours for our final project, allowing me to complete the course. I am so excited for everyone to see what we have created.”

Find out more about ArtsEd’s Day School & Sixth Form here.

ArtsEd’s fantastic new building nearing completion!

Posted on: November 10th, 2020 by ArtsEd Admin

We are delighted to announce that the builders have left and that our wonderful new building is nearly ready.  It is an impressive feat to have taken possession just eighteen months since the Studio Theatre was knocked down and we are very grateful for the patience and support of all of our students, staff and neighbours.

There is still quite a lot of work to do before we can move in fully. Final touches include colourful vinyls across all three floors, built-in desks in the new Day School & Sixth Form classrooms, workstations in the new HE Hub, signage so we don’t get lost and lastly, furniture for the wonderful new communal spaces in the Atrium.

We expect the work to be complete for the start of the Spring term in January 2021. Our current  ‘soft opening’ has students and staff enjoying classes in the new dance studios and rehearsal rooms, making sure everywhere is ready for a full timetable in the new year.

Chris Hocking, ArtsEd Principal said:

“I have been so impressed and grateful for the grace with which everyone has dealt with the disruption of the building work. I am certain that everyone will agree it was worthwhile when they come and see this wonderful addition to our Chiswick home!”

We hope that it won’t be too long before we can celebrate the creation of this fantastic new facility in person, with everyone that made it possible.  In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for our full virtual launch in the new year.


ArtsEd New Build 2020: Dance Studio other angle

ArtsEd appoint David Ian to Board of Trustees

Posted on: November 5th, 2020 by ArtsEd Admin

ArtsEd are delighted to announce the appointment of David Ian to their board of trustees. 

Chief Executive of his eponymous production company, and the recipient of five Olivier awards and three Tony nominations, David is a world-renowned theatre producer with a highly successful career spanning over 30 years. Prior to his first forays in producing (collaborating with Paul Nicholas), David had a successful acting career, appearing in productions such as The Pirates of Penzance, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Rocky Horror Show. 

From 2005, David was Chairman and CEO of the global theatrical division of Live Nation having previously joined the group in 2000 when it was part of Clear Channel, the largest theatrical group in the world. At Live Nation, David was responsible for Broadway Across America, which produced, and toured first class Broadway shows in over 40 cities in the United States and Canada. He was simultaneously CEO of the UK division, which included over 25 theatres both in London’s West End and most regional markets in the UK. 

David Ian Productions is responsible for scores of West End, international and UK touring shows, with multiple forthcoming projects waiting in the wings, ready for when theatre emerges from Covid-19 forced closures.  

David has a long association with the school, both as a friend and valued industry connection and, more recently, as parent to ArtsEd Sixth Form and Musical Theatre degree graduate, Emily Lane. 

Of his appointment, David said: 

“I look forward to developing my long-standing connection with ArtsEd as a member of the Board of Trustees.  

 ArtsEd has long been at the forefront of exceptional performing arts training and I’m delighted to lend my support during such an exciting period in the organisation’s long history. The wonderful new extension to their Chiswick home is just one in a series of developments that include innovative changes to the curriculum and a step change in the diversity of the faculty, that will secure ArtsEd’s reputation as a centre of excellence for many years to come.”  

ArtsEd Principal, Chris Hocking said: 

“I’m thrilled at David Ian’s appointment to ArtsEd’s Board of Trustees. His position in the theatre industry as a renowned and respected producer of large-scale shows has long been cemented and we have enjoyed an association with him for many years. As well as providing a wealth of knowledge as a producer, David’s early career as a performer also means he knows what it’s like from the point of view of our students as they enter the industry. This empathetic view of all areas of the performing arts is incredibly valuable to us. His influence on our board will be instrumental as we continue to offer the very best in performing arts training the UK has to offer. I very much look forward to working with him.”