Author Archive

ArtsEd Students receive the Ian Fleming Award for Musical Theatre

Posted on: August 4th, 2022 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd School of Musical Theatre students, Marley Fenton, Olivia Hewitt-Jones and Caroline Featherstone have received funding to help them complete their training.

In 1980, the Ian Fleming Charitable Trust Music Education Awards were established in partnership with Help Musicians. Outstandingly talented individual young musicians have been supported through Ian’s trust every year since, with costs towards their higher education studies.

Students, about to start their final year, and studying Musical Theatre can apply for financial support of up to £5,000 towards study and living costs for the next academic year.  

We are thrilled to announce that students Marley Fenton, Olivia Hewitt-Jones and Caroline Featherstone have been successful in their applications, and after their auditions and interviews, they have been awarded this year’s Ian Fleming Award for Musical Theatre.

Well done all! We’re immensely proud and look forward to seeing you grow as performers in your third, and final, year of training with us.

ArtsEd appoints Brian Brodie as Chair of the Board of Trustees

Posted on: July 13th, 2022 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd is delighted to welcome Brian Brodie as their new Chair of Trustees. 

Brian joins ArtsEd at an exciting time for the organisation, with a new senior leadership team in place, strong 2022/23 cohorts recruited across the degree courses and the independent Day School & Sixth Form and a recently extended and refurbished building.  

Brian is currently Chief Executive Officer of Finance Freedom. He has had a wide and varied career in financial Services and a deep love of dance stemming from the passion his three daughters have for the art form. The many hours spent at dance school with them exposed Brian to ballet, tap, modern and contemporary dance and he saw first-hand, the positive impact of the performing arts, on both a personal and a social level. He has since supported his youngest daughter through her degree at London Studio Centre.  

With a strong desire to see the arts flourish, as well as a personal desire for schools to hear a parent’s voice, Brian joined the board of the Royal Academy of Dance. During his time on the board the RAD changed their syllabus and agreed a deal to move to a new purpose-built home in Battersea. After leaving RAD, Brian chaired the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, steering them through their exit from the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama and setting them on the path to becoming an HEI in their own right. 

His combination of business expertise and Board experience equip Brian perfectly to support ArtsEd as it continues to develop its provision of world-leading vocational training. 

On his appointment, Brian said: 

“I am delighted to be joining ArtsEd and look forward to working with the team to deliver an exceptional learning experience for all.” 

ArtsEd Principal, Dr Julie Spencer, said: 

I am thrilled that the Board have appointed Brian Brodie as the new Chair. Brian’s wealth of business experience and ambition, alongside his innovative ideas will ensure the continued development of ArtsEd as a provider of uniquely inclusive, contemporary, and world-leading vocational training.” 

ArtsEd Acting students receive Laurence Olivier Bursaries

Posted on: July 1st, 2022 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd School of Acting students, Daniel Apea and Eliza Parry Williams have been awarded financial bursaries to help them complete their training, having successfully auditioned for and been interviewed by a panel of theatre professionals.

A total of £77,500 in Laurence Olivier Bursaries for 2022 is to be received by talented students from 19 drama schools across the UK, awarded by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT).

We are thrilled that Daniel has been given the top award, The Sir Peter and Lady Saunders Laurence Olivier Bursary, which is donated by the Estate of Sir Peter and Lady Saunders.

Eliza is among the recipients of the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by SOLT.

Established by SOLT in 1987 to mark Laurence Olivier’s 80th birthday, the Laurence Olivier Bursaries provide financial support to exceptional students entering their final year of drama school, and facing financial difficulties which might jeopardise their studies.

Previous bursary winners have included Denise Gough, Bryony Hannah, Paterson Joseph, Ewan McGregor, Daniel Rigby, Vinette Robinson, Juma Sharkah, Michaela Coel and Michael Sheen.

Nominees, put forward by drama school principals across the UK, are auditioned on a West End stage and interviewed by a panel of theatre industry professionals, led by West End producer and Chair of the Laurence Olivier Bursaries Committee, Lee Menzies. This year’s auditions took place at St Martin’s Theatre earlier this month.

Well done both of you! We’re immensely proud and look forward to seeing you light up stage and screen in your third, and final, year of training with us.

5 Reasons to do a Part-Time Foundation course at ArtsEd

Posted on: June 22nd, 2022 by Neil Roig

Our Part-Time Foundation Courses in Acting and Musical Theatre are designed for people who can’t study full-time right now but who are looking to develop their skills and boost their confidence.

Here are five reasons why you should consider applying for ArtsEd’s Part-Time Foundation courses:-

1. ArtsEd is one of the UK’s leading drama schools
Our training is outstanding, demonstrated by the success of graduates from our BA courses in Acting and Musical Theatre.  100% of our 2021 graduates have signed with an agent and over 50% of our 2022 Musical Theatre graduates have already secured jobs, and they only finished their final year of study in June!  In  May 2021 ArtsEd was in the top 10 British Universities for best graduate prospects, alongside Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College – Office for Students report.

2. They are the perfect preparation for auditions or the industry
Our part-time foundation courses are the perfect kick-start to your Acting or Musical Theatre career! Designed to equip you with the core skills and the confidence to launch yourself onto a full-time course or straight into the industry.

3. They fit perfectly around work or study
Classes take place on weekday evenings, over two intensive terms, fitting seamlessly around your job or other study. Sessions are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7.00pm – 9.30pm.

4. Our facilities are excellent
Both courses are based in our recently expanded and upgraded Chiswick home, with new studios and rehearsal spaces, equipped to degree-level specifications, as well as airy welcoming communal spaces.

5. They are economical
At £3,060 or £3,570 are part-time courses are an economical way to hone your skills and explore the benefits and the challenges of vocational training.  What better way to confirm that this is the path you want to follow!

Did you know?
70% of our Part-Time Foundation students received recalls and offers from top drama schools.

ArtsEd Choir Perform Finale at Olivier Awards!

Posted on: May 12th, 2022 by Neil Roig

The ArtsEd Choir (made up of graduating third year students on our BA Musical Theatre degree course) did us proud at the 2022 Olivier Awards ceremony, taking to the stage alongside professional performers to sing Stephen Sondheim’s Our Time. A fitting tribute to Sondheim and an acknowledgement of the incredible efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep theatre alive.

Students studying our Musical Theatre joined the audience at Royal Albert Hall to support their third years, and rubbed shoulders with some celebs as they entered via the ‘Green Carpet’.

Enjoy the whole video below, or skip to 3 minutes when our Choir join the pros and take their place as the next cohort of graduates about to head out into the industry!


Interview with Matthew Bulmer: Chiswick Calendar

Posted on: March 16th, 2022 by Neil Roig

In February, Day School & Sixth Form Head, Matthew Bulmer was interviewed by Bridget Osbourne for The Chiswick Calendar.

Here’s the interview in full:

New head at ArtsEd day school wants better links with the community

ArtsEd day school and sixth form has a new head teacher, Matthew Bulmer, who took up the post in January. He spoke to The Chiswick Calendar about his ambitions for the school.

“People are here because they love what they’re doing”

ArtsEd is about as good as it gets if your child enjoys performing. It is one of the top schools in the country for the performing arts, rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in its last report, achieving 89% A*-B at A level.

Out of last year’s cohort of school leavers one student, Karen is now studying maths at Oxford University, another, Isabella Pappas, is in Hollywood filming the lead role in Meet the Mayhems for Disney Plus, to be released this summer.

“The metric that I am most proud of” says Matthew Bulmer, “is that it is in the top 1% for ‘value added’ (achievement on leaving the school above that expected by nationally standardised testing at a younger age) “that’s a more meaningful statistic. It means our children almost always reach their potential.”

ArtsEd benefits from small class sizes (maximum 24), teachers who are experts in their field and “outstanding” pastoral care.

“People are here because they love what they’re doing” says Matthew “and that helps them with all their lessons across the board.”

ArtsEd Dance Show
ArtsEd Dance Show 2021 Photo: Steve Gregson

“Not well enough known in its own area”

The school also has tremendous resources, with access to the Andrew Lloyd Webber theatre to stage productions and teachers who are writers, directors and producers themselves, with contacts in the industry.

But, says Matthew, it is not well enough known in its own area.

“I want to start reaching out to the community, to engage more with the Bedford Park Festival, to open our doors to young people.”

The school is involved in a national outreach programme running workshops with teachers, students and ex-students and Matthew is looking to start new outreach initiatives this summer.

“ArtsEd is the best of its kind in the country anyway and I would like more people to know about it.”

The school also has a bursary and scholarship programme which he would like to expand and he wants to get more children and young people through the doors to take part in the ArtsEd Extra programme of short courses and classes available to the general public.

ArtsEd school teaching session
ArtsEd school teaching session Photo: Robin Savage

A time of change for ArtsEd

Matthew himself has extensive experience in both the independent education sector, and a background in theatre. He was most recently the Director of Performing Arts and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Brentwood independent day school, having previously been an English and Drama teacher and Head of Department at independent schools in London and on the south coast.

He studied at Cambridge University, and following a long tradition of successful thespians, cut his teeth as an actor, producer, technical manager and director with the Cambridge Footlights. When he left university he co-founded a theatre company, which is still going strong, though he himself is no longer directly involved.

Matthew joins ArtsEd at a period of expansion for the school, which recently took ownership of brand-new studios, classrooms, and communal spaces as part of a major refurbishment. But he also joins with the shadow of the resignation of principal Chris Hocking over the organisation, over the finding by an independent inquiry that there had been an “overly sexualised environment” in the degree school of musical theatre.

The report, by Rebecca Tuck QC on behalf of the Board of Trustees, described a “sexualised environment, staff-student ‘relationships’, socialising and drug taking” which stemmed from “a misguided culture” which was made worse by a failure in leadership.

ArtsEd Music Concert 2020
ArtsEd Music Concert 2020 Photo: Robin Savage

Day school and Higher Education schools separate

Addressing the elephant in the room, I asked Matthew what he would say to parents who were concerned about the report.

“It had nothing to do with the day school” he said.

ArtsEd is complicated because Cone Ripman House on Bath Rd is home to a Conservatoire Drama School offering degrees in musical theatre, and training in acting for stage, film, television and audio as well as the day school and sixth form. ArtsEd also offers short courses and part time tuition to the public, through ArtsEd Extra.

The allegations of an overly sexualised environment were only made about the three year musical theatre degree course. The Principal, currently Dr Julie Spencer for an interim period, who has been with the degree school since 2019 as Director of the School of Acting, overseas all the schools. She and her senior team are now working through the recommendations made in the report to change the culture.

The day school has its own separate part of the building and staff and students have lanyards with passes which only give them access to where they are meant to be.

ArtsEd school laboratory teaching session
ArtsEd school laboratory teaching session Photo: Robin Savage

Recent report by Independent Schools Inspectorate

As ArtsEd applied to take more students when the building refurbishment was completed, they went through an inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2021, while the allegations into the musical theatre degree course were uppermost in everyone’s minds.

The ISI report, published in October, (the same month as Rebecca Tuck’s report) found that:

‘The safeguarding policy is effectively implemented at all levels in each section of the school.

‘Suitable arrangements exist to ensure that the higher education establishment operating in the same building as the school is separate both physically and in terms of social or other contact between pupils at the school and HE staff and students.’

It concluded the leadership and management ‘actively promote the well-being of the pupils’ as well as preparing them for the world of the performing arts, further education or employment.

I met Matthew on a day when the school was holding auditions for the coming year. From the busy schedule of children bustling about, excitedly presenting their audition pieces and sitting English and maths tests, the school has no shortage of takers.

Matthew Bulmer would like people in Chiswick to be more involved.

ArtsEd Music Concert
ArtsEd Music Concert Photo: Robin Savage

ArtsEd Easter Courses – Book Now!

Posted on: March 10th, 2022 by Neil Roig

Easter is just around the corner and ArtsEd EXTRA has a host of exciting Easter courses to keep you occupied!

Our holiday short courses are ideal for anyone interested in the performing arts and are led by our amazing team of workshop leaders.

We have courses in: Musical Theatre | Acting | Filmmaking

All courses are created to suit every level of ability and experience, so if you’re a beginner you’re very welcome to start your journey with us, and for those with more skills and experience, you’ll be encouraged to challenge yourself to improve. Classes are fun-filled and operate in a safe, collaborative, and inclusive environment here at our Chiswick location, home to our brand new studios and facilities!

On offer this Easter…

To explore these courses, head to our Holiday and Weekend page here, where you can filter the courses on to ‘Easter’ and then click for more info and to book.

If you have any questions prior to booking, don’t hesitate to contact: 

Graduate Interview: Samuel Creasey

Posted on: February 23rd, 2022 by Neil Roig

We visited Samuel Creasey, 2020 graduate of our BA (Hons) degree in Acting,  at the Bridge Theatre, where he is appearing in The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage.

We chatted about his experience making his professional stage debut, and how his time at ArtsEd has supported his career so far.

Welcome! Matthew Bulmer, Head of ArtsEd’s Day School & Sixth Form

Posted on: February 8th, 2022 by Neil Roig

ArtsEd is delighted to welcome Matthew Bulmer, who took up the post of Head of Day School and Sixth Form in January. 

Matthew joins ArtsEd at an exciting time for the school, which recently took ownership of brand-new studios, classrooms, and communal spaces at their West London home. All part of the most recent phase of a major capital project that started in 2013 with the opening of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre. 

Matthew’s extensive experience in both the independent education sector, and a background in theatre, makes him a perfect fit for ArtsEd, one of the UK’s most academically successful performing arts schools. He was most recently the Director of Performing Arts and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Brentwood independent day school, having previously been an English and Drama teacher and Head of Department at independent schools in London and on the south coast. Under his leadership, Brentwood was twice shortlisted for the Independent School of the Year for Performing Arts award and experienced a period of rapid growth in Dance, Drama, Film, and Music.  

Matthew spent four years at Cambridge University at both Homerton and Jesus College, which was where his passion for the Performing Arts developed. In these formative years, Matthew worked as an actor, producer, technical manager, but mainly as a director. A highlight was his work with the Footlights, and it was these experiences that opened him up to Musical Theatre. After University, Matthew co-founded a theatre company, which is still going strong, albeit with little involvement from him now, because it has always been his ambition to teach. 

His passion for teaching and working with creative young people is what drove his success at Brentwood, and ArtsEd are thrilled that Matthew is bringing this energy and commitment to their London home. 

On his start at the school, Matthew said: 

I thought I would love this school and the Headship of it, and these last few weeks have certainly confirmed that prediction. The staff are extremely talented, in the classroom and the studio, and the children are amazing: they want to learn more, to be the best that they can be, and it is a delight to work with such polite, considerate, and passionate young individuals. I have great ambitions for the school and having met the common room and the student body, I have every faith that we will meet these aspirations and more.”

ArtsEd’s Interim Principal, Dr Julie Spencer, said: 

I am delighted about Matt’s appointment as Headteacher. His impressive depth of expertise in the education sector alongside his background in the performing arts means that Matt is exceptionally well qualified to lead the Day School and Sixth Form pupils and their inspirational tutors.”

PHOTO: Neil Roig


Musical Theatre audition tips – Master your ArtsEd audition!

Posted on: February 3rd, 2022 by Neil Roig

Congratulations, you’re applying for our Musical Theatre courses here at ArtsEd!

You’ve submitted your application, invitations to audition are beginning to land and you have taken the first step on your journey to becoming a professional performer, an ambition you’ve likely had for some time.

There’s a lot for you to get to grips with, including understanding all the different audition requirements, sorting out your travel so you get here in plenty of time, and of course being at your best for the audition panel!

We appreciate that the audition day can be daunting, but we also want you to have as much fun as possible.

There is a lot you can do to ensure you make the most of each opportunity. ArtsEd’s Director of the School of Musical Theatre, Jonathan O’Boyle, is here to help with some top tips for auditionees applying to our Musical Theatre Courses.

The audition day at a glance

The first thing I do is introduce myself and the team that will be auditioning you that day. We talk about the course and then walk you through the day ahead.

We then kick off the audition process with a group warm-up, after which you will be split into two groups. One group will head off to the dance section of the audition, whilst the other group will take part in the singing section, presenting their legit and/or contemporary songs to the panel. After that, the groups switch around.

Once everyone has sung their songs and completed their dance audition, we will let you all know who has been recalled to the afternoon 2nd round audition phase.

The second round of our Musical Theatre audition includes a further dance workshop, a further singing audition and your acting audition where you will work on your monologues. The final part of your day will be an interview with me and/or a senior member of the teaching staff from the School of Musical Theatre.

So that’s the overall shape of an ArtsEd Musical Theatre audition. Here’s what you need to know to best prepare you for your time with us.


For the singing round you will need to prepare and perform two songs. One should be a ‘legit’ ballad written no later than 1965 (e.g. ‘If I Loved You’ from Carousel, ‘Simple Little Things’ from 110 in the Shade or “On the Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady). The other song can be anything of your own choice, providing it’s a contrast to your legit song and it is something you enjoy singing. We always look forward to hearing people’s choices.

You must bring your own copy of the sheet music for the song. It makes sense to make it as easy as possible for the accompanist do the best job they can do for you during your audition. To that end, make sure the music is in the right key, clearly printed and firmly sellotaped at the seams.

For the first round you will be asked to sing a 1-minute cut of each song. Choose your favourite part of the song. This might be the first minute, it might be the last, choose the section that speaks to you the most and that best showcases your voice.

Remember to prepare both songs in full as you will need the full versions for the second round in the afternoon (if you are recalled).

It will help you if you understand the context of the song. Where does it sit within the musical? What happens before the song? What happens after? What is the environment, are you outside? Inside? Is it cold? Warm? What does the character want?

If your song is addressed to someone, imagine who you’re signing to, and place them in the room with you, to the left or right of the panel. If the character is singing to themselves, I recommend singing over the panel’s head. Try to avoid looking at the panel, as we will be taking notes and we don’t want to distract you.


On the morning of your audition, you will take part in a group jazz class. Don’t worry if you haven’t danced before, all movements will be explained and demonstrated on the day. We are looking for candidates who have potential, not just experience.

All 2nd round recalled candidates will participate in a second dance workshop in the afternoon. During this workshop you will be given more detailed and precise technical information that you will need to apply to a new piece of choreography. Again, don’t worry about lack of experience, if you have got through to the 2nd round, we think you have potential and will explain anything that needs explaining.

You should wear comfortable clothing that you can move freely in (not too tight or loose). You can wear jazz shoes or dance bare foot, but please don’t wear trainers.


You will need to have prepared two monologues in anticipation of getting through to the 2nd round of the auditions. Each monologue should be a maximum of three minutes long.

One should be from a modern play written after 1990, and the other from a classical play using heightened language. This could be Shakespeare, but we also welcome classical pieces from across the globe. Please choose material you relate to personally and which you find exciting.

As with your songs, you will benefit from having a clear understanding of what the character wants in that moment in time, and how that fits within the wider context of the play. We ask that you perform your monologues in your natural voice. We want to hear you!


The interview will be an opportunity for us to meet you and get to know you a little more. We are interested in getting to know you as a person, as well as getting to know your skills. I will be asking questions about your interests and aspirations. This will also be your chance to ask any questions that you might have for us about the course.

And remember…

What do we look for in a prospective student?